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Charles Atlas, pullups, and lat development
 
 
DOtrainee DOtrainee is offline
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02-24-2012, 09:58 AM
 
John, Greg, and forum members:

I thought I had read somewhere that Charles Atlas's "Dynamic Tension" course did not include pullups, but looking at him through the years he had well developed lats and back muscles. Additionally, I thought I had read somewhere that he had no problem doing exceptional numbers of pullups when he chose. I don't know if these facts are true, so I wanted to post here to clarify and get accurate information.

The reason I'm asking is that I'm trying to focus on lat development, but I don't always have access to a pullup bar, and the times that I do my schedule keeps me from going to the gym. Left at home without a bar or a place to set one up, I've mainly been using DVR pullups to make up for lost equipment. Anyone with any tips on helping me further my training would be much appreciated. Thank you in advance.

For wisdom and truth,

DOtrainee
 
 
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Greg Newton Greg Newton is offline
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02-24-2012, 01:49 PM
 
Hi DO,

This is something John and I have discussed a few times. Basically to get good at pullups, you have to do pullups. There is no way around it. And like you, we've noticed that Atlas did have full and developed lats.

According to one of the Atlas brochures, Atlas was able to do more than 30 pullups at a time. Also, John has a letter from Charles Roman where Roman stated that Atlas did 100 pullups a day.

So why did the Atlas course not have pullups, since obviously Atlas did them? It was a marketing ploy to get the course out to the most people and for the course to be accessible without any equipment.

The Atlas combination of pushups, situps, deep knee bends and self resistance exercises still build a fantastic and sculpted body. And, a lot depends on how you are put together. If you are tall and rangy, you'll fill out without pullups. However, if you are deep chested, eventually you'll need latisimus and teres developing pullups to balance your proportions. I know it has made a difference in my physique.

So what is the answer if you don't have a pullup bar? My friend Mike Joplin retooled a Frank Rudolph Young exercise we call side lateral rows, or the Joplin for short. Basically, you brace your right foot against a door jamb and place the left over the right ankle. Grasping the door jamb with your right hand, you row yourself toward the door.

The best way to do these is as a combination calisthenic/DVR with tension, rather than as a calisthenic alone. Also, to work the biceps strongly, make sure you keep the elbow parallel with the floor, or slightly higher. Do sets of ten repetitions.

You'll feel this in the lats, the intercostals, the obliques, the rear deltoid and the biceps and forearms.

Greg
 
 
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Lance Lance is offline
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02-25-2012, 09:21 PM
 
The old Charles Atlas course had a simplified pullup made by placing a broom over two chairs and youlying on the floor and pulling yourself up that way. Obviously not a "real" pullup, but a start for someone not able to do any. The new owner of Charles Atlas deleted that exercise for "safety" reasons, along with Charles Atlas' advice to drink plenty of RAW milk (not homogenized and pasteaurized).

Lance
 
 
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Greg Newton Greg Newton is offline
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02-26-2012, 08:00 AM
 
That is interesting Lance. I no longer have my original course from the 1970's to check. However, I have read that that exercise used to be in the course sometime in its history.

Here are pictures of the Side Lateral Row in action.


Side Lateral Row, a.k.a. The Joplin

Last edited by Greg Newton; 02-26-2012 at 08:03 AM.
 
 
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sbslider sbslider is offline
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02-26-2012, 10:37 AM
 
thank you for posting the pictures Greg. I could not figure this one out from the words, now it is so obvious. It is like they say . . . . .

Matt
 
 
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02-26-2012, 10:48 AM
 
It might be safer to just raise the outside foot/leg up slightly with a slight flex at the hip - my thought being that if one were to lose their grip on the door frame then there is more chance of being able to stick leg out laterally and catch yourself, rather than crashing to the ground which I suspect would happen if that foot is wrapped around the ankle of the other leg. Doing it this way would also provide a bit more stabilising work for the abs. Just a thought.

Mark.
 
 
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John Peterson John Peterson is offline
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02-26-2012, 11:43 AM
 
Hey Friends,

I wonder when that exercise was part of the Atlas Course? The reason I ask is because I have a copy of the 1922 edition as well as from the thirties and later and I have never seen that exercise included in the course even though it would certainly be a good fit.

Now, let me also state the Side Lateral Pull-Up (the Joplin)is one incredible exercises that works exceptionally well. Great for the shoulders, arms, lats and pecs.

---John Peterson
 
 
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Lance Lance is offline
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02-26-2012, 07:23 PM
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Peterson View Post
Hey Friends,

I wonder when that exercise was part of the Atlas Course? The reason I ask is because I have a copy of the 1922 edition as well as from the thirties and later and I have never seen that exercise included in the course even though it would certainly be a good fit.

---John Peterson
Hi John,

I'm not sure when it was either. I read it on the Charles Atlas forum under a Vintage Program post. The Charles Atlas admin answered about it being removed for safety reasons.

One poster said that the raw milk was in the course from the 1940's, but he isn't the same poster that mentioned the chinup being removed.



Lance

Last edited by John Peterson; 02-26-2012 at 09:59 PM.
 
 
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Greg Newton Greg Newton is offline
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02-26-2012, 08:03 PM
 
Hi Lance,

That must have been where I read it as well. What has happened is that John or others on this forum got to refering to that exercise as the Atlas Horizontal Row or Atlas Pullup and I guess it stuck. The thing is, there are many exercises that Atlas did that are not in the Dynamic Tension course. The Atlas section at the Golden Age of Ironmen site makes some interesting reading.

Greg
 
 
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Andy62 Andy62 is offline
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02-26-2012, 08:48 PM
 
This article confirms that Atlas did pullups. First page lower part of right hand column:

http://www.sandowplus.co.uk/Competit...%2079/at79.htm
 
 
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