Good bodybuilders often talk about back development in terms of two qualities: thickness and width. Thickness is the depth in the back – it’s like having slabs upon slabs of muscle stacked on top of each other in your back muscles – traps, rhomboids, teres, lats and spinal erectors… it’s like if you were helping a bro oil up backstage, your hand would disappear into the depths of that mass… it’s like mounds of muscles that undulate like rolling hills across the countryside. And then you have width, which is more self-explanatory – those are your “wings” – the V-taper… the aspect of latissimus dorsi development that allows you to see your back when judges look at you.. from the front! Your back muscles literally flare out under your arm pits, and the wider they spread, the greater your V taper and the more impressive your physique. If you don’t have both – width and thickness – your physique is not complete.
My training partner had been busting my chops for months. “You’re not hardcore anymore!” This time it irked me. I blasted right back: “What the hell are you talking about?” Just like what Churchill said, (“I like a man who grins when he fights”), I proceeded to load the bar up to 405 and deadlift it 7 times for a new personal record (at age 44), defiant smirk on my face the whole time. Normally a pull like that wouldn’t bring any kind of bragging rights for a 188-pounder – barely in the 2X bodyweight club – a mere minimum standard… except for one thing. A neurosurgeon once told me after seeing my MRI that I should never lift more than 40 pounds. Squatting or deadlifting would be suicide, he said. I wish that doc had been there… oh man, I would have paid to see his face. But gloating to my training partner would have to do. “Take that! Who’s not Hardcore now?”
The New York Times recently ran a feature titled, “Bodybuilders See Kidney Damage With Steroids.” These stories surface in magazines and newspapers on a regular basis, and many people in the hardcore bodybuilding community are quick to dismiss them as “uninformed, anti-steroid propaganda.” This one however, raised some eyebrows because it not only described the personal plight of several top pro bodybuilders and strongmen whose careers were cut short by kidney disease, it also cited new research that was just published in a top nephrology journal. According to the author, this study was among the first to claim a direct link between long-term steroid use and kidney disease.
This weekend’s box office blockbuster, 2012, had me thinking about the workouts that Richie, my “psycho” trainer, has been putting me through lately. If you think all the stuff blowing up, flooding out, crashing down and burning to the ground in that movie was “total destruction,” you should see these workouts…
Those on the extreme side of the form versus function debate claim that bodybuilding is “a completely dysfunctional sport of pure vanity.” I was recently a guest on the Fitcast show for the 3rd time and hosts Kevin Larrabee and Leigh Peele brought me on to talk about natural bodybuilding, dispel bodybuilding myths and explain the virtues of the natural way to physique development. All bodybuilding, fitness, figure and physique athletes should check out this 5-minute audio clip from the show…
Bodybuilding Secrets Podcast Episode #2: Carlos DeJesus: What does it take to be a national and world bodybuilding champion without steroids? How do you overcome the pain barrier, break through perceived genetic limitations and push yourself into “the beyond” without drugs? You’ll find out in this second episode of the Bodybuilding Secrets Podcast featuring natural bodybuilding pioneer, Carlos DeJesus with your host, Tom Venuto.
Bodybuilding Secrets Podcast Episode #1: Turning Mind Power Into Extreme Muscle And Power! Amazing Podcast With Peter C. Siegel, R.H., the world’s #1 sports and peak performance hypnotherapist. Author of Think And Grow BIG and Steppin’ Up to Mega Muscle and Power