Thursday, March 13, 2014

Remembering Larry Scott

One would like to believe that simply exercising all one's life is enough to ward off the ravages of aging -- but something happens beginning around 35 for most, and even seeming to accelerate the aging process -- as we've witnessed many dying who we thought would live forever -- as well as the many others who shock us with their much too premature deaths.
Around the mid-80s, I drifted away from the bodybuilding world into the world of those dying horrible deaths from a mysterious disease called AIDS, as well as more traditional ways of dying because with the absence of world wars commencing with the latter half of the 20th century, many more were dying of age-related diseases -- because they were no longer being killed off in that manner anymore.

One of the striking things I noticed about those with dementias (Alzheimers) particularly, besides the lack of brain function and connectivity to the rest of the body, was that there was a noticeable lack of movement -- at their head, often evidenced by the atrophying of the neck muscles, and so rather than exercise for the purpose of the core muscles of the body, it seemed that the far better strategy -- was to ensure the movement, flow and development of the head, hands and feet -- at which the body's circulation is poorest.

That is the characteristic weakness of elderly bodybuilders that makes them look less than robust -- even if they continue to maintain a fairly strong core development. They are invariably atrophied at the neck, forearms and calves -- out of proportion to the much easier to maintain core muscles closer to the heart. That's seldom the problem -- as much as even the great champions of their youthful age -- begin to show this characteristic signs of aging at the head (neck), hands and feet -- that should be the highest priority in ensuring the highest functioning possible throughout life -- but which most people though they move everything else, do not move.

One of the most distinctive qualities of Larry Scott, was that his arms were particularly impressive -- mostly because he had one of the greatest ranges of movement at the wrist -- that effected the contraction of all the other muscles, that most people are not usually aware of. But he did not exhibit that range of motion at the head so much in his later years -- as he did in his peak years -- when the range of his head movements were also impressive, as well as his neck development. Arnold, Zane, and most of the former great champions, also have very limited head movement -- and thus have no means of developing the "old man's neck," as well as hands and feet, which in most people are merely as stubs -- rather than the proper focus and the design of the human body to move meaningfully and productively, and thus they age and deteriorate because of this lack oof effective movement and circulation -- despite how hard their hearts are pumping.

This is what I broached with Arthur Jones at the height of the acceptance and popularity of high-intensity training around only one axis of rotation while the rest of the body remained fixed -- and why I brought to his attention that when there was "muscle failure," it seemed to actually be "brain failure" -- caused by the lack of oxygen to the head forced to remain fixed, instead oof allowed to followed through naturally. And this is the form of movement practiced by most bodybuilders -- as well as exercisers of nearly all conventional movements -- of not moving the head, hands and feet as the primary objective, in achieving and maintaining the optimal functioning and health of the human body, which is the natural development of the human body, rather that the arbitrary form it has taken with more massive development (size) of the larger core muscles beginning with the retirement of Larry Scott as probably the culmination of the old time physique men -- who were usually relaxed and fairly normal looking until they pumped up, and transformed themselves in this ability to change -- that contemporary bodybuilders seem to lack, which is predictably very stressful for the body to maintain -- at all times.

Curiously, in reviewing some of the Iron Man videos, I notice that publisher Balik exhibits a range of head movement not usually seen in others, and for that reason, has a well-developed sternomastoid muscle, which keeps his mind sharp -- and I would think, is the solution for the notable age-old problem of lack of circulation and health at the extremities of the head, hands and feet that fail people as they age. That is the most important parts of the body to build and maintain -- as the key to longevity and health in the 21st century for aging Baby Boomer bodybuilders.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

It's the Range, Not the Average

Few people have ever pondered the question, "What am I conditioning myself for?"  Is it the range, or the average -- that one hopes to excel at?

Obviously, just doing the same thing over and over again without breaking new ground, is not the way anybody is going to become the world champion at what they do -- but is merely reinforcing their mediocrity of experience and achievement.  And so a vital part of any conditioning program -- is that one wants to program into their conditioning activities, increasing the range of their motion and activities -- so that ultimately, they can do what they previously thought was impossible to do.

That is conditioning to get better -- and not merely to stay the same, or at best, just slow down their deterioration rate for as long as possible -- which is merely prolonging the hopeless.  That's no way to live a life -- in thinking that one's best years are behind them, and not ahead -- which is also the difference between those who are aging, and those who are still growing, and finding out all they can do.

for most people, that can easily be accomplished by moving a little farther in the safe range of movement possible -- and not having to do anything reckless and foolhardy, as most people are conditioned to think.  Rather, the objective of every movement and repetition, is to extend the range of that movement -- far beyond just doing the same limited range, with more resistance.  And in fact, the more resistance one adds to a movement, the more that movement is actually constricted and constrained -- to prevent one's injury.

Every weightlifter knows that -- and that is why they are obsessed with developing economy of motion -- as the genius of what they do.  But movement does not require resistance to effect -- and is actually capable of being achieved best without resistance, or very minimal resistance at best -- because that allows safe movement beyond the range that supporting a heavy weight would make dangerous -- and danger should not be a requirement of any safe and proper training regime -- as many diehard advocates practice -- until they die hard, or injure themselves permanently -- as is inevitable using that training style and philosophy.

They are invariably the caveman types who believe that human civilization and progress is only possible through brute force -- and destroying as much around them as humanly possible, as evidence of their power -- always to destroy, and never to build anything, and particularly, their own bodies, lives and livelihoods.

So their contests are invariably about who vanquishes the other, who owns the other -- rather than a collaborative effort to create an outcome greater than all the individual contributions -- working in isolation and opposition to one another.  That is the valuable skill one hopes to produce in oneself -- and inspire in others, and not just the zero-sum game of who has vanquished all the others, and gets to be the king of the hill --pushing back all the others who want to be in their place.

That is the problem of conditioning strategies rooted in a more primitive time -- that the objective is not to kill or be killed -- or even for that matter, compete ruthlessly against one's self, thinking that is a more enlightened form of the game.  Still, many people still think that the objective of their muscles, is to oppose all the other muscles -- rather than work synergistically for optimal effect.  That requires a different world view, than the one of everything against everything else in the world -- because evolution and progress, favors those that are most compatible to the environment of their times.

Most people are unaware that up to 50 years ago, the prevailing though is that one used information to compete against everybody else -- until someone got the bright idea that information was even more powerful if it was shared among the greatest number possible -- rather than as a weapon of advantage to exploit all the others.  That is a very limited world -- dominated by the imperative to exploit, or be exploited by others -- that made world wars possible, and even inevitable.

As such, hundreds of millions of people lost their lives in such wars -- believing it was necessary to provide for their own well-being and security, never thinking that with cooperation and collaboration, they could produce vastly more for virtually everybody.  Now the world is awash in goods and services -- and many think that is the problem, and so they even try to create scarcity in a world of plenty -- in a competition for the winner to take all, thus creating the many losers of everyone else -- as though that was some kind of a virtue and honor.

That is the characteristic thinking of those who think that the purpose of anything -- is to make things harder, more difficult and complex than it has to be -- which discourages many from accessing the benefits in the universal impulse for greater simplicity and economy of effort in all one does -- and in the way of nature and its development.  That leads some to believe they should not avail themselves of the latest medical products or health information -- thinking they have to be beyond and oblivious to such considerations and advances, and return to the most primitive ways and manners, -- as the mystical height of human understanding and achievement, when life was brutal, short and nasty -- as the world they are preparing (conditioning) themselves to live in, and prosper.

Instead, such manner of conditioning, will take their greatest toll on such individuals themselves -- their shoulders, elbows, knees and backs -- thinking that is how humans are most productive, instead of at the head, hands and feet -- where the human body is best designed for movement.  They should move what is best designed for movement -- and honor those joints best designed for stability and support, rather than vice-versa -- despite all their complaints of the obvious.

The meaningful and productive range of movement -- occurs at the axes of the head (neck), wrists and ankles -- than is dependent on deadlifts, squats and bench presses to do any meaningful work.  Doing the most dangerous and damaging movements with increasing loads to predispose inevitable injury and disability, is not going to enable one to continue to perform them throughout life -- but one should recognize those movements that actually define one's daily functioning, and increase the range of those movements that reduce the occurrence and disability of the most common and frequent injuries at the wrist, ankles and neck -- that imply the proper functioning of all the movements and capabilities of the body -- but not vice-versa.

It is the range of movement at the neck (head), hands and feet -- that are the defining indicators of health and functioning in the human body -- over the usual and obvious yardsticks people are used to observing and think is important to articulate and maintain.  If it hurts only when one does that, one should stop -- and find out what movements don't, and are productive to continue and increase the range (possibilities) of lifelong mastery.