These three factors
influence body shape:
Excess body fat,
that is, the result of energy intake exceeding energy output.
Poor muscle tone
and/or development. This can be the result of physical activity or
genetic factors, or a combination of both.
can account for the different muscle development of two individuals
in response to the same activity programme.
body characteristics. The term Endomorph, Mesomorph and Ectomorph were
used by J H Sheldon, a British geriatrician, to describe three genetic
is characterised by a roundness and softness of the body. In lay terms,
Endomorphy is the "fatness" component of the body. This type shows a
predominance of abdomen size over thorax size, high square shoulders,
and a short neck. There is a general smoothness of body contour, with
little or no muscle relief.
is characterised by a square body with hard, rugged, prominent
musculature. Legs, trunks and arms are usually massive in bone and
heavily muscled throughout, while forearms are thick, and wrists, hands
and fingers heavy. The thorax is large and the waist relatively slender.
Shoulders are broad, the trunk usually upright, and the trapezius and
deltoid muscles large. The abdominal muscles are prominent and thick.
These characteristics are predominate in many athletes.
has as predominant characteristics linearity, fragility and delicacy of
body. This is the "leanness" component. Bones are small and the muscles
thin, not bulging. Limbs are relatively long and the trunk short; this
does not necessarily mean, however, that the individual is tall. The
abdomen and the lumbar curve are flat, while the thoracic curve is
relatively sharp and elevated. Shoulders are usually narrow, drooping
and lacking muscle relief. The shoulder girdle lacks muscular support
and padding, and the scapulas' tend to "wing out" behind the body.
Sheldon named these
three body types because they exhibit the characteristics of the extreme
variants found in the population. Four thousand males were photographed
and classified in accordance with the characteristics of the three body
types. On the basis of this analysis it was determined that the pure
type does not exist, but that each person exhibits all three components
in varying proportions. The potential for a person to change body shape
is limited by inherited characteristics to some extent. Inside these
limits, however, there is usually room for significant improvement. The
diet and exercise requirements are readily accessible, but many people
need behaviour modification as well. The approach to changing body shape
might therefore be threefold, requiring:
The purpose of the warm-up
is to increase body temperature and circulation, which facilitates metabolic
processes (improves energy production and waste removal) and enhances
tissue elasticity, thereby reducing the possibility of injury, as well
as preparing you psychologically for the training routine. One or more
of these activities can be used for a general warm-up:
Stationary cycling for 5-15 minutes at low intensity.
Using a stair stepping device for 5-15 minutes at low
Jogging 1-5 kilometers
Any other aerobic activity performed for 5-15 minutes
where the intensity can be easily controlled.
Flexibility exercises should
not be performed before the warm-up. The best time to do them is right
after the warm-up or after the workout, or any combination of the two.
The muscle and connective tissues are not ready for vigorous activity
until the muscle temperature and blood circulation are increased. (Almost
all advanced bodybuilders do a general warm-up before performing flexibility
For more information
and detailed stretches, see the next page - Stretching.
regimen of flexibility exercises should include every joint in the body.
Resist the temptation to rush through them - approach them with a relaxed
general warm-up, then perform flexibility
exercises. Moreover, specific flexibility programs are best performed at
the very end of the training session.
Know what you want to
do before you walk into a gym. That way, you're much more likely to stay on
course. Some socialising and banter isn't a bad thing, but don't get lost
in the chatter.
When you have a
blueprint to tell you what to do, you don't have to spend your mental
energy planning as you go. Instead, you can abandon yourself to the essence
of training: become an animal. Feel those muscles work, the pounding of
your heart, the exhilaration of being a physical being.
And while you're being
an animal, remember the other animals. Even if they're not as big as you,
they're still human. So be a courteous animal.
The Cool Down:
The cool-down will
assist in the recovery from a hard workout by bringing the body back to the
resting state in a gradual manner. The cool down is the last physical
activity of the workout. The intensity of the workout will dictate the form
and extent of the cool down.
This is the most
beneficial time to execute specific flexibility training because the
muscles are warm, circulation is strong and the inherent muscle and tendon
tension is reduced because the muscle spindles and the Golgi tendon organs
The cool down should
last 5 - 15 minutes and can include flexibility work, easy jogging,
stationary cycling or stair stepping.
Recovery: Application of cold and
heat are very useful methods to improve circulation, which facilitates
tissue repair and heals micro-traumas that occur from training. Cold and
heat invigorate and restore energy levels. Heat (in whirlpools, sports
creams, hot packs, steam rooms and saunas) is a common aid in the recovery
While most people
recognise the value of heat in recuperation, many don't realise the great value of
cold applications. Cold plunges have been used with great success by
Olympic and professional athletes to improve the recovery process. Many
cutting edge health clubs offer cold plunges.
Applying both hot and
cold applications (whirlpools and cold plunges, for instance) has been
shown to be productive in the recovery process. Moreover, you can alternate
hot showers with cold showers to produce a substantial recuperation effect
if whirlpools and cold plunges are not available. This hot/cold combination
increases circulation and strongly stimulates the hormonal and nervous
system, which helps expedite recuperation.
A good general
guide-line is 3-5 minutes in the hot environment, followed by 1-2 minutes
in the cold environment. You should follow this procedure for two or three
series, finishing off with 3-5 minutes in the hot environment.
Use these methods of
recuperation and you will be amazed at your new energy and enthusiasm for
your training program.
and nutrition combine to produce maximum results of bodybuilding and sports
Training The Right Way: There is more to weight
training than simply finding a barbell and "pumping iron". This
chapter outlines some do's and don'ts that will let you get the most of the
time and effort you devote to training and do it safely.
Performing Exercises Correctly: The
techniques of lifting involve focusing on four things: having a good grip;
having a stable position from which to lift; keeping the object being
lifted close to your body; and learning to use your legs, not your back to
Gripping The Bar: There are two factors
to consider when establishing a grip:
of Grips that may be
used to lift a bar off the floor are pronated or overhand grip; the
supinated or underhand grip; and the mixed or alternate grip. In the
overhand grip the knuckles face up and the thumbs are toward each other. In
the underhand grip, the palms face up and the thumbs face away from each
other. In the alternate grip, one hand is in the underhand grip, and the
other in the overhand grip; the thumbs point in the same direction. All of
these grips are termed closed grips, meaning that the fingers and thumbs
are wrapped (closed) around the bar. In an open grip, sometimes referred to
as a false grip, the thumbs do not wrap around the bar. The open grip can
be very dangerous, because the bar may roll off the palms of the hand and
onto the face or foot, causing severe injury. Always use the closed grip!
of Grip and there are several grip widths used in weight training. In some
exercises the hands are placed at about shoulder width, at an equal
distance from the weight plates. This is referred to as the common grip.
Some exercises require a narrower grip than this, others wider. Be sure you
note the type of grip and the proper width for each exercise as well as how
to establish a balanced grip on the bar. Become familiar with the smooth
and knurled areas of the bar and place your hands appropriately.
Incorrectly placed hands can create an imbalanced grip and result in