Super Strength - Chapter 25 (Part 2) - Statuesque Development
By Alan Calvert
Posted on NaturalStrength.com on 12 July 2002
In all the pictures you will see how the body tapers from the line of the armpits to the waist. Without looking up their measurements, I would say offhand that every one of these men has a normal chest measurement 10 inches larger than his waist measurement. In some of the pictures the difference appears even greater. That is because the athlete has spread his shoulders by the method described in the chapter "Muscle Control." In the picture of Matysek, Fig. 134, the tapering effect is caused partly by the twist of the body. Any well-developed man can approximate this effect by standing as Matysek does. (The secret of the pose is to twist the body until the shoulders are practically at right angles with the hips. If you allow your hips to twist, the tapering effect is lost.) This picture is very interesting, because it shows the enormous size of the latissimus muscle on the right side of Matysek's back. The name "latissimus dorsi" means the broad-of-the-back, and in this picture it certainly justifies its name. Unless those muscles are fully developed, the back will not taper, no matter how broad your shoulders are. This can be proved by observing any tall man with broad shoulders. If he is undeveloped, the breadth of his shoulders come entirely from the size of his bony framework, and his sides will be straight up and down. If, however, he has a proper back development, his back will be considerably wider at the line of his arm-pits than at the line of his waist.
In studying the pictures of any well-developed man, you should always try to get an idea of the depth of his chest, and in order to do that you have to see both the front and back lines of the body. It is possible for almost any fairly developed man to make himself look as though he had a deep chest when a picture is being taken. This is done by hollowing the back, and pushing the chest out, and then holding the arms close to the side so that the hollow back is concealed. A man with a really deep chest doesn't have to resort to that trick. In the picture of Karasick, Fig. 135, he is holding the elbows away from his sides so that the line of his back can be seen. His chest is almost as deep as Hackenschmidt's. The picture of Carr shows a chest of wonderful depth, and so does the picture of Mr. Donald (Fig. 63) - the one in which he is finishing a one-arm "swing." You do not always have to see a chest from the side in order to know that it is deep.
One of the most notable things about this set of pictures is the comparative size of the forearms and upper arms. In many cases the upper arm is big and round, but the forearm seems even bigger. A great deal depends on the position from which the arm is viewed. If the palms of the hands are towards the camera, the forearms will look wide and the upper arm comparatively thin. If, on the contrary, the back of the hand is toward the camera, the forearm will look thinner than the upper arm, if the arm is hanging straight. There are two bones in the forearm which makes it thicker one way than another. The more you develop them the rounder they become. The forearms of a bar-bell user look impressive from almost any angle. In Fig. 137 Neubauer manages to make both of his forearms look impressive. If he had placed the palm of his right hand on his hip the forearm would have looked thinner, but by placing the back of the hand on the hip and bending the wrist, he has flexed the forearm muscles in a way that makes them stand out.
The reason these men have such good forearms is because when handling bar-bells the forearm muscles are employed in almost every exercise. About the only exception is when you lay the bar-bell across the shoulders and "squat" to develop the legs. In all the arm exercises, all the shoulder exercises, the back exercises, and in some of the leg exercises the bell is held in the hands and, consequently, the muscles of the forearms and the hands have to contract vigorously. In all the exercises, when the arm is bent (as when developing the biceps), the forearm muscles are subjected to considerable work in helping to bend the arm. (This was discussed in Chapter XIII.)
The size of your upper arm is more or less influenced by the size of your forearm, and both parts of the arm should be developed at the same time. You can get a fair development of the forearms by clinching the fingers; that is, doing gripping exercises, and by twisting the wrist, but those exercises don't produce nearly as big muscles, or nearly as strong muscles, as when you have to grip a heavy object in the hands and then bend the arms at the elbows. Furthermore, merely gripping with the fingers will not produce as strong a grip as lifting heavy objects with the hands. When you do the "Jefferson" lift, Fig. 18, you will develop a far stronger grip than you can get by opening and closing the fingers against no resistance. When you do the two variations of the two-arm "curl" for developing the biceps you will develop the upper part of your forearms in a way that you never will by simply twisting the wrists. The arm should be developed as a unit, and not as separate parts. The reason the arms of these men looks so well-knit is because man of their exercises have required them to use their muscles in the hand, arm, and shoulder at the same time.
The general rule is that the flexed biceps should be twenty per cent larger than the forearm, and most of these men show that proportion. The only great exception is Anton Matysek, who could never get his forearms above 12 1/2 inches, although his upper arms measured 16 1/2 inches. Yet Matysek's forearms and wrists were extraordinarily strong, as was proven when he beat Joe Nordquest in a back-hand "curl" with a thick handled bar-bell. Usually, when a man has small forearms, the calves of his legs are likewise small. This was not so in Matysek's case, because his calves measured 16 inches. The peculiar thing was that they were very deep from front to back, and only moderately wide.
No one can handle bar-bells without developing wonderful deltoid muscles. As you were previously told, the deltoid lifts the arm. The reason a bar-bell user's deltoids are so big and shapely, is because he develops his triceps by pushing the hands downward, as when "dipping" on the parallel bars, and the ordinary physical culturist develops his triceps by pushing the hands forward, as when doing the "floor dip." (This dipping develops the muscles on the front of the chest far more than it does the deltoids on the points of the shoulders.)
Without fine deltoids you will never look impressive, either when you have your pictures taken of when you appear on the floor of the "gym" or on the bathing beach. Properly developed deltoid muscles in some way give a peculiar appearance of manliness by adding to the squareness of the shoulders, and by enhancing the arm development. With poor deltoids you will never look strong, even if your arms are big and your chest muscles big; but fine deltoids are the finishing touch which gives the effect of great strength and athletic ability.
The hips and thighs are just as worthy of study as are the arms and shoulders, and, in fact, are a better indication of bodily strength. Just as the upper-arm muscles should merge into the muscles of the shoulder, so should the muscles of the thighs merge into the hips. In a properly developed leg the thigh should taper from the crotch to the knee. Many gymnasts and physical culturists show some development of the lower part of the thigh, but little development near the hips. In outdoor men just the reverse is the case. There are some men who show no muscle at all on the back of the thigh; others who have so little muscles on the inside of the thighs that when they stand with their knees touching, the thighs fail to touch by an inch; still others have no development on the outside of the thigh.
Notice that in a good many of these pictures it is hard to tell where the thighs stop and the hips begin. In a picture of Owen Carr, Fig. 136, the front line of his right thigh seems to run right to his waist. You see such development only in a man who has an equally fine development of the muscles on the front of the abdomen; therefore you never see a fat man with a leg like Carr's. In pictures like those of Nordquest, Matysek and some of the others you see a very pronounced curve on the outside of the thigh. This is partly due to the fact that they turned their toes slightly outward when having their pictures taken, but even when they stand with the toes pointed straight forward, their thighs show almost as great a development in the vastus externus; that is, the outer muscle of the thigh. In every such case you will find above the thighs powerfully developed muscles at the sides of the waist. Most of the men who show this pronounced development got it from practicing the side exercise, Fig. 33, and later on the one-arm "bent press."
A man with a big biceps muscle on the back of the thighs always has big and powerful muscles on the small of the back.
In the three foregoing paragraphs you will find the real explanation of the extraordinary bodily strength of these men. Great thigh strength and great strength in the waist always go together. Of all of these men, hardly one of them shows a thigh measurement of less than 23 inches, and some of them have thighs measuring 26 inches around. None of them has a waist less than 30 inches or more than 34 inches. It is that uniformity of measurements in so many different men which enables me to say so confidently that any man of average size and weight, with average-sized bones, can get the kind of development which these pictures show.
*NOTE. This pamphlet is called, "How Much Should I Measure and How Much Should I Weigh?" and you can obtain a copy by applying to the publishers of this book.