John Christy, one of the hardgainer authors died at a young age. Most of his articles are available from the Hardgainer magazine still sold.
I found he self published a book called "Real strength real muscle". It is now very very rare, and contains many articles that were never published in hardgainer magazine. I really like his style of writing- and one of my hobbies is to try to find and preserve rare, more importantly useful-drug free knowledge.
So I have a friend in the USA who owns the book, and he is kindly sending me photographs of the pages that never got published in hardgainer. It is my job to transcribe them to keep these from slipping away.
This site does not allow me to upload the articles as pdf or word files, so I will post them here. I hope you can enjoy these.
Please note that these have been transcribed in my spare time- which is limited- so there maybe some errors and spelling mistakes. But the bulk of the message should be able to get across. Personally, I hope to be able to compile the book digitally myself- I will not be able to release it as Stuart still sells Hardgainer, but for those who own hardgainer already, here are the missing articles from the book.
"Bad shoulders and benching, Warmups and aerobics"
Bad Shoulders & Benching, Warm-ups, and Aerobics
In this issue I want to hit a variety of topics that have been brought to my attention
Shoulders and the bench press
This morning I dealt with another trainee who’s having severe shoulder pain due to a specific bench pressing technique. This technique involves “pulling" the bar towards the face once it leaves the chest. The bar then travels “up and back" till it ends up over the eyes. This technique causes many shoulder problems particularly because of the bar being pushed back to a position where the arms are locked out above the eyes. I am vehemently against this practice. This exposes the shoulder, and upper back musculature, and other soft and hard tissues to “unhealthy" severe stress which can cause a multitude of chronic and acute injuries. The bar should not end up any further back than a position directly above the shoulder joint.
There are very few trainees that I am aware of who do bench press this way and experience no problems. These trainees belong in that rare group of people who can get away with using an otherwise dangerous training technique.
The bar pathway I recommend is a natural one. I have my trainees lower the bar to where the bottom of the pecs and top of the abs meet. This is a point about one inch below the nipple. From this point I just have the trainee simply push the bar back up. The body is very efficient-it will find the pathway that is the most productive and the safest-as long as it is allowed to do this. If a trainee is instructed to push the bar in a certain way (that is not natural) their bodies natural abilities will be thwarted and they will end up “teaching” their body an improper way to perform the exercise. I’m not saying that everyone starts out with the best bar path and doesn't need instruction. But in most cases, if a trainee is not “over-coached”. his body will naturally find the optimal path. This path will vary a little with every trainee but when viewed from the side the bar will start moving horizontally back towards the upper chest once it leaves the chest-but it is not abrupt. It will move back slowly during the entire length of the ascent (as the bar is moving vertically). It will do this on its own you don’t have to consciously make this happen as some unknowing (or think they know it-all) coaches advise. The bar will end up somewhere between the upper chest and straight up from the shoulder joint. This path greatly reduces the risk of injury to any of the shoulder and upper back tissues and will also give you the greatest leverage to lift the heaviest weights possible.
Selecting Warm-up weights
The selection of warm-up poundage's is not as important for “warming you up” as it is for the progressive recruitment of more and more muscle fibres leading up to the “live" sets. Performing aerobic work for 5-10 minutes before your workout Will warm you up in a general fashion. Follow this with some mild stretching and you will be ready to go. For a general recommendation I would suggest the following scheme for your warm-up sets.
60% for 5 reps
80% for 5 reps
90% for 1-2 reps
The percentages are of your “live” weight for the day. You should rest 2 minutes between the 60% and 80% sets (more if you need it-don’t get worn out), and 34 minutes between the 80% and 90% sets. Then rest 3-4 minutes and hit the live sets. These are general recommendations. Some trainees may need more warm-up sets and or a lighter starting set. Generally, advanced trainees will need more warm-up sets because the weights that they use on the live sets are much heavier relative to a beginner. Beginning trainees need a lighter set at the start performed for higher reps (50% for 10 to 15 reps) to allow for more motor skill work (practice) to help with technique development. As with everything else in the iron game, every trainee is different. Start with what I’ve recommended and let experience teach you what to do. A very important point is that you don’t wear yourself out on the warm-up sets.
My personal scheme is to perform only 5 reps with the first warm-up, then only 1 or 2 reps per warm-up set after that. I try not to waste any energy (glycogen and my creatine phosphate stores). My goal is to allow my nervous system to get adjusted to the heavier and heavier weights. Also, the last warm-up of 90% doesn’t always get me “close enough” to my live weight. On my bigger exercises, that 90% may be some 50 pounds or more from my live weight. My experience has taught me that 50 pounds is too big a jump going into the live set. So I’ve adjusted the above percentages to make them feel right to me. For instance, my Iast warm up for the squat and deadlift has to be Within 30 pounds of the live weight. For the bench press I need to be Within 20 pounds. For overhead work and arm work I need to be Within 10 pounds. I‘ve shared this With you just to show you how the general recommendations need to be fine tuned by experience. If you've been doing lots of reps on your warm-up sets. try cutting back. and watch how much more energy you have for the live sets. For more information please read the article Warm up Sets aren't Supposed to “Warm You Up".
High-intensity Aerobic work
There’s been a lot of talk lately about “high intensity” or “interval” aerobic training being superior to “traditional" (low to mid-level) aerobic training. To shed some light on this topic we need to define the various levels of intensity as applicable to aerobic training and what their energy requirements are.
There are primarily three types:
1. Low-level Aerobics are performed at 50-65% of the trainee’s maximum heart rate for long durations (one hour or more). The primary fuel used at this aerobic level is fat which supplies up to 90% of the energy used. The other 10% is from glycogen and protein. Unless the trainee is completely de-conditioned (out of shape), this level of training provides only a slight cardiorespiratory effect.
2. Mid-level aerobics are performed at 70-85% of the maximum heart rate for moderate durations of 20-40 minutes. About 50% of the fuel contribution is from glycogen; about 45% from fat and 5% is from protein. Mid-level aerobics provide a very thorough cardiorespiratory workout. This is the aerobic zone that most trainees equate with aerobic training.
3. High-intensity aerobics are performed at 90% and above of the maximum heart rate. They are usually performed as “intervals”. Interval training is where the trainee runs at a low-to mid-level pace and then bursts into 1~3 minutes at a high-intensity level, and then settles back to the previous level. About 90% of the energy contribution comes from glycogen, and 10% from fat and protein. This type of training is used to greatly increase one’s aerobic capacity, or what is known as their V02 max.
We prescribe this level of training for our competitive aerobic athletes such as distance runners, triathletes, and middle to long distance swimmers to name a few. These athletes are trying to increase their speed over long distances. We also use a form of this (sprints with short rest intervals) for our athletes who are involved in a sport that requires anaerobic conditioning such as football and hockey. The name “high intensity" aerobics Is actually a misnomer. ’l his level of training is more accurate termed “anaerobic conditioning". lf the trainee can only maintain this intensity level for about 30 seconds at the most before lactic acid “shuts them down." At this point the trainee must either slow the pace or stop.
A simple way to estimate your maximum heart rate is to subtract your age from the number 220 and then multiply by the desired percentage. For instance, to determine the 50% training heart rate for a 20-year-old you would take 220 minus 20 = 200 Then 200 multiplied by 50% = 100 beats per minute. This 16 known as the “straight line” method. For more Information on conditioning please read the articles Complete Conditioning Parts I and 11.
Now, let's get back to our original thought that high-intensity aerobics burn more fat than the other forms of aerobic training. When you look at it from a fuel (fat. glycogen, or protein) consumption standpoint, the answer is a resounding “no”, at least not while you are actually performing the exercise. High-intensity aerobics use glycogen as the primary fuel, and will only create a fat-loss state if the trainee doesn’t consume many carbohydrates after the workout. In this case the body would be forced to try to convert part of the fat molecule to glycogen. For fat loss while consuming a balanced or calorically dense diet, the best bet is low-level to mid-level aerobic training. To determine what is best you need to look at its-like anything else-from the standpoint of your overall goals.
Your goals should determine your type of training, duration, frequency and intensity. If you're trying to gain a lot of muscle tissue, while minimizing fat gain, low-level aerobics with limited bouts of mid-level aerobics should be your choice. High-intensity aerobics would be out (even if they do burn more fat after the session) because you would be depleting your glycogen stores performing the aerobic work when instead, you need to be using them for your weight training workouts.
If you absolutely want to perform this high level of aerobic work (or if your sport requires it), you may have to sacrifice one of your lower-body weight training sessions per week because again, this level of training will deplete the glycogen stores similar to a weight-training session. Over the long haul, most trainees’ legs (and bodies) wouldn’t recover if you weight trained your legs twice per week and performed high-intensity aerobics or anaerobic conditioning twice per week too. This is the general rule; there are exceptions if the trainee or coach knows how to regulate the frequency and volume of lower-body training. For instance if a trainee is performing two lower body weight workouts per week and wants needs to perform two high-intensity or anaerobic sessions per week he should regulate the volume of the weight training sessions to allow for maximum recovery. This is accomplished by performing one of the workouts at a regular volume (3 to 5 sets} and the other at a lower volume (1 to 2 sets), This second lower volume workout could be preceded by the second anaerobic session to allow for maximum recovery. In other words hr could perform sprints and then hit the weight room for a set or two of squats
Here’s a program for the trainee who’s interested in gaining muscle tissue while minimizing (or even losing bodyfat. Hit the weights twice per week in a brief, progressive program. Perform low-level aerobic training two to three times per week, building up to one hour in duration. One of these aerobic sessions could he a midlevel session (for cardiorespiratory conditioning) as long as it’s worked into slowly. This session would need to be inserted into the training week as far away from the weight training sessions as possible; for instance, if you weight train on Tuesday and Friday, hit the mid-level aerobics on Sunday. The low-level aerobics can be inserted almost anywhere because they don’t tax the body systemically, and they don’t drain your glycogen stores. If adding the mid-level session is too much, then instead you could perform some mid level aerobics as intervals along with one of the low level sessions. It all comes down to your overall goal as to which level of aerobic conditioning you choose. Don’t get caught up on the latest craze that hits the gym scene. There really hasn’t been anything new in strength training, muscle building, or aerobic conditioning in the last 50 years. Most trainees are always looking for a gimmick. Most of these gimmicks don’t work. Stick with the basics. Regardless of their goals, everyone needs to take care of their health first. To do this you need to get stronger, get your heart and lungs in good shape, develop a good level of mobility around all major joints, and eat a healthy diet. To all you aspiring athletes reading this, you can be highly successful in your sport and accomplish all of the above. You don’t have to sacrifice your health to do well at your sport.
Again and again
You may be getting tired of hearing it, but here it goes again, because one of the purposes of my writing is to keep you on track with your training. Are you stronger now than six months ago? If you’re not, your training isn’t working. Have you been wasting your time jumping from one program to another? Are you disciplined enough to get your meals in? Are you staying up too late at night? Has greed got you to add weight to the bar in such large increments that you’re “heaving and bouncing” the barbell instead of lifting and lowering it? Think about it. Make the decision to do things right. Start now! So when I ask "the question” again you can say, “Heck, John, l am stronger-my training is working!”