This is a serious program for strength gain, but the "info-mercial" format is intended as humor. I hope you find it funny rather than offensive.
This is really long so I suggest you print it out if you want to try this program. Describing the action was difficult, so I may not have been clear enough. Let me know (email@example.com) if you have questions. Anyone able to convert video tape into MPEGS? - Dore
I'll bet you are wondering, "What's the secret? How can I gain slightly better upper body strength?" Maybe you've tried thinking about working out or even purchased sports equipment, all to no avail. Well, we've discovered the true secret to slightly improved strength and we'll share that with you in just a moment but first, let's hear from one satisfied customer:
Celebrity endorsement: "I used this method and it worked for me. It did not take long and it made my sword much easier to handle." - Don Dore, WSA
Ok, wow, that was exciting, wasn't it? Now let's talk about how it works. As you may have guessed by now, it is a form a weight training. But sports medicine experts and trainers have developed amazing modern technology that goes beyond simply lifting weights. By carefully balancing the amount of weight, the number of repetitions and how those repetitions are arranged it is possible to get maximum gain with minimum risk in a very short time.
The first thing you will need is weights. The correct type weights are solid, one handed dumbbells. But how much weight is right for you? You should be able to handle the weight easily in one hand. It should feel heavy when held at arm's length, but it should not be difficult to manipulate when held closer in. When measuring the weight at arms length, be sure to keep the weight lower than your shoulder or the weight will seem heavier than it really is.
Don Dore started with 5 pounds. Over time, he increased the weight until he reached 12 lbs. No more was necessary. Others may need to start with more or less, according to their own upper body strength. Starting with 3, 2 or even 1 lb is not unusual. Working with too small a weight makes progress slower, but using too much weight can cause injuries so it is always better to use too little weight rather than too much.
These weights typically cost $1 a pound at a sports store, or about half that if you buy them at a place that sells used sports equipment. I do not recommend substituting canned goods, railroad spikes or other types of weights. Nor do I recommend adjustable weights. Solid dumbbells are cheap, they fit the hand, they are marked with their weight, and they don't shift while being moved about.
So, are you excited about getting started, or are you still wondering what the secret of this method really is? Well, if you want to know the secret you will have to wait a little longer. Let's look are the program itself.
The exercise is done by gripping the weight in a fist and holding your hand where you would hold a sword if you were engarde. Note that your hand must be thumb up, so if your normal hand position is palm up or down then you must turn your hand thumb up for this exercise. Don't forget to put the rest of your body in engarde as well, with the sword side foot forward.
Are you in position? Ok, now extend the weight out in front of you like you are making a thrust attack with a sword, but slowly. Be sure that you do not snap your elbow into place or over extend it. Instead, leave it very slightly bent at maximum extension. Then return FULLY to engarde. That is one action.
Next, move the weight to the inside as though doing an inside parry. As you make the parry, rotate your hand 45 degrees so it ends up half way between thumb up and palm down. Then finish with a slow thrust, ending thumb up. Return to engarde.
For the third action, move the weight to the outside as if you were doing an outside parry. As you parry, rotate the hand 45 degrees so it ends up half way between thumb up and palm up. Finish with a slow thrust ending thumb up and return to engarde.
The fourth action is a little different. Start from engarde, but bring your hand up in front of you while turning your hand. The weight should now be in front of your face at eye level with your fist pointed up and your palm toward your face (be careful not to hit yourself in the jaw like I did). Now slowly extend the weight outward and slightly down so it ends up at extension, palm up at shoulder height. Return to engarde. You have now completed four actions or one REPETITION.
[Note: because of differences in way male and female shoulders are constructed, this action is done slightly differently for men. For men, the action should be performed turning the palm down, bringing the elbow above shoulder level and the weight to eye level. The thrust is made palm down. Either gender can perform the action of the other, but less weight is recommended to prevent tendons being over stressed.]
When doing a repetition, be sure to go slow, don't over extend the elbow. Return to engarde between each motion. Keep the exercise clean, not sloppy.
Now that you know how to do a repetition we can build an entire program.
First we will build a SET. Your first set will be 3 repetitions or a total of 12 actions.
Now switch to your other hand -- remember it is important to build both sides equally -- and do one set. Now we can build a SUPERSET. Here is the description:
Right hand, 1 set of 3 repititions (12 actions!).
Left hand, 1 set of 3 repititions.
Right hand, 1 set of 4 repititions (16 actions!).
Left hand, 1 set of 4 repetitions.
Right hand, 1 set of 5 repetitions (20 actions!).
Left hand, 1 set of 5 repetitions.
This is one superset. It can be done in about 5 minutes without rushing, so you should be able to do it during lunch or on a break and still leave yourself time for other activities. Remember, it only takes one weight to do your exercises for the entire day.
Notice how the number of repititions increase as the sets progress and how the action switches from one arm to the other than back? Weight lifting experts have discovered the incredible effectiveness of this method which combines individual repititions into super effective supersets.
Perform one superset 3 times a day. For best results, do these exercises two days in a row, then take the third day off. That day off is important because it gives your muscles a chance to build. You will not gain strength faster by doing the exercises every day and, in fact, doing these exercises every day would actually slow down your strength gains.
I recommend that you start on a weekend so you can get use to the exercises before trying to do them during the hustle and bustle of a workday.
Now let's look at the amount weight again and how to increase it.
First, lean the warning signs. After two days of exercises your arms may be a bit stiff, but never sore. If you have muscle pain or sore joints you are using too much weight. Get a smaller weight. Don't start your program again until your arms are no longer sore. I expect many of you will be anxious for rapid gain and will start with too much weight. Be careful because stress to joints and tendons can turn serious, especially if you have a repetitive job like filing or typing. If you do use too much weight the muscle soreness should fade away within a week.
Ok, now you have picked out the right amount of weight and have been doing the exercises for a while. When is it safe to move up? When you have done 2 cycles (3 days per cycle) with no muscle stiffness at all you can increase the weight by a pound. After you have reached 8 lbs you can increase 2 lbs at a time. This is the fastest safe increase but building more slowly will not hurt.
For most people this will mean that you can move up after 4 or 5 cycles but this will vary greatly based on your diet, how consistently you do the exercises and your own unique physiology. It will also be affected by illnesses, monthly cycles and other physical changes. Be sure you go at a rate that is right for you.
So, now that you know how to increase your strength, how far should you go? Given the weight and handling characteristics of schlagers and Del Tins, 8 lbs is sufficient. Of course, you can build as far as you want with this easy progression but anything beyond 15 lbs really does not help any more with the sword handling.
To maintain your strength you should do your exercises at least 2 days each week and those days should have only one day in between. So you might do them Monday and Wednesday, or you might do them Friday and Sunday...you get the idea. My choice would be Tuesdays and Thursdays or Monday, Wednesday and Friday -- the extra day won't hurt.
As your weights get heavier you will collect a set of weights. What do you do with the weights you no longer need? You can sell them to a second hand sports store, OR you can start someone else on this same program. Of course, the weights will not cost you much anyway.
Are you still wondering what the secret is of succeeding with this program? It is consistency. Do your exercises carefully, slowly and consistently and never skip them. If you follow this program you will find your sword getting lighter in your hand. Imagine the puzzlement on Joe-Bob's face when he realizes he can no longer power through your parries. Imagine his shock when he discoveres that you CAN power through his parries. Imagine being able to hold that sword up for hours at a time without strain. Is it worth the effort? You bet it is!
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