TRAIN TO GAIN

Dead Weight

Jerry Brainum

Weight-training fatalities on the rise

Lifting weights doesn’t seem to involve any type of death risk, yet statistics show that some people do die during a workout—a result of accidents that occur while actually lifting. A group of sportsmedicine researchers presented some findings regarding weight-training fatalities at the 2002 meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine.

Weight training accounted for 60,039 reported injuries in 1998, 65,347 in 1999, 68,054 in 2000, and 74,656 in 2001. In 1998 there were nine deaths in 304 days, or an average of one death every 34 days. All were males. Most deaths occurred in home gyms (78 percent), and 67 percent involved the bench press.

What’s likely happening is that some people are using more weight than they can handle without a spotter, and the weight is crashing down on their neck, choking them. Clearly a gruesome way to die, since the weight on the victim’s neck prevents him or her from screaming for help.

The lesson here is simple: If you train alone, don’t attempt to lift weights that you cannot safely handle. Or train with a partner who can spot you and remove the weight if you should fail during an exercise such as the bench press.


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Strength Set-ups

Jerry Brainum

Strength Set-ups

If you want to increase muscular strength, is it better to do one set or three? Practical experience points to multiple sets as the superior choice for increasing strength, since that’s been demonstrated by an endless number of bodybuilders over time. On the other hand, the high-intensity advocates, such as the late brothers Mike and Ray Mentzer, say that if you train any muscle to total failure, one set is all you need. In fact, they say, doing more than one set will retard muscle gains due to overtraining.

Muscle-Training Program 47

Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson

Muscle-Training Program 47

We’re calling the latest version of our routine the every-possible-variation-of-every-exercise-for-every-bodypart program. Okay, it’s not that extreme, but we are trying to vary almost every set of every exercise so we trigger growth in as many fibers as possible. The idea is to max out hypertrophy by getting to as many fibers as we possibly can with enough stress to force them to grow, and that takes variation. Even subtle exercise tweaks can sculpt a bigger physique.

Fantasy Workout

the Editors

Fantasy Workout

Have you been dragging yourself to the gym lately? Does it feel as if you’re just going through the motions? Do you sometimes forget which bodypart you’re training? Then you need a heavy dose of fantasy photos to get your motivation back in gear—and your testosterone surging!

How do images of gorgeous, sparsely clothed women cavorting in the gym help inspire you to train harder? Easy. Just imagine each luscious lovely as your training partner. Talk about a fantasy workout! You’d no doubt pump out five extra reps with your current squat weight if Lena Johannesen were spotting you from behind and whispering in your ear, “Come on, you can get a few more…just for me.” Oh, and after you get those extra reps and rack your weight, you get to stand behind her. (Yes! Do you feel your motivation rising now?)

Renaissance Man

Lonnie Teper

Renaissance Man

To say that Michael O’Hearn has a full plate would be akin to saying that Halle Berry is decent looking. A quick glance at his résumé calls for two Motrins, due to eyestrain. Bodybuilding champion. Powerlifting champion. Martial arts champion. Personal trainer. Cover model supreme, with his worldwide total reaching 463 at last count, including 12 IRONMAN covers. Writer. Professional wrestler. Actor. And he hopes to soon be adding the job title Hollywood star to the list.

Old School

Bradley J. Steiner

Old School

Better late than never, as the saying goes, and that really applies to older folks just starting to train with weights. It’s not at all harmful to begin a sensible weight-training program at 60 or older—as long as you get a thorough medical checkup first. Doctors today—finally!—acknowledge that weight training is the best physical training that anyone can do at any age and that following a sensible progressive-resistance course will improve any senior inside and out—and do that far better than any other activity can.