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Did Atlas Lift Weights?
John Peterson John Peterson is offline
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07-12-2019, 12:20 PM
Hey Everyone,

For years and years, critics of Charles Atlas tried to convince the world that Atlas had actually developed his Physique by means of weight lifting rather than the Dynamic Tension Exercise System that Atlas espoused and taught. The people that attacked Mr. Atlas were ALL weightlifters that wanted to convince the world that the only effective means of physique development was through weight lifting. It was a ridiculous argument they could never win.

Well anyway, What I am about to place here comes from Alan Calvert, the man that was responsible for establishing weight lifting in the USA.. Calvert was the ultimate insider and in his book "Confidential information on Lifting and Lifters " that he published in 1926, he revealed the lies, tricks, gross exaggerations and distortions that were commonplace among the lifting showmen during the 1920s. He pointed out that those that truly were prodigiously strong were strong because of heredity and not because of training. Calvert was very clear that every man has a natural level of hereditary strength that can be enhanced by correct training to a point but not created solely by training. In other words, if you train naturally and remain chemical free you will only get to a certain point of development and no further. To go beyond your natural limit would require chemical manipulation that is so common these days.

Calvert was also surprised to discover that the weight lifters in Europe DID NOT lift heavy weights in training and actually wrote the following,

Here is something that may astonish you. Back around 1906, I used to subscribe to several European papers dealing with lifting. About that time a Frenchman, named Jean Francois, made a one-arm swing of 199 ¾ lbs. (which is only about 4 pounds less than the present world’s record). In commenting on the new record, Stolz, the German authority, said, “The extraordinary thing is that this new heavy-weight lifting record was created by a man who never practices anything but light exercises.” I thought to myself, “Oh! That can’t be true. It takes a habitual user of big dumbbells to make strength records.” Recently I asked Arco about it. (He used to pal around with all the European liters.) I said, “Otto, did you know Jean Francois Le Breton.” He said, “Oh, yes, intimately.” I asked, “Is it true that he got his strength by practicing only light exercise?” He answered, “Oh, yes, positively. Why, Mr. Calvert, over there none of the lifters train all the time with weights the way they do over here. They build themselves up and keep in trim with light work and then, being full of energy, they go every once in a while to some gymnasium or club where they have weights and try themselves out. If you keep pumping away at weights all the time you burn yourself out.”
In his monumental work on bodily exercise, Fernand LaGrange speaks of acquired skill in the performance of gymnastics as follows: “The trapeze, the horizontal bar, and the rings, are things on which feats of skill are done, rather than work, in the mechanical sense of the word. Many pupils spend months in learning a breast or a balance, and when they discover the method, the muscular trick, they do all at once with the greatest ease the muscular action which the day before seemed to be beyond their strength.” Well, weight-lifting is exactly like that. Get the knack of doing a bent-press and all at once you do 25, 50 or 75 lbs. more than you did the day previous. Learn the art of “timing” a weight, and master the knee-bend, and you can add pounds and pounds to your records in lifts like the swing, the snatch, and the jerk. You haven’t added any to your strength; simply learned a style which let you improve your record. Any experienced man can teach you the tricks; it doesn’t take a genius.

So what does the above have to do with Charles Atlas? Nothing directly.

BUT it validates what Mr. Atlas stated about lifting weights wearing you down and setting you up for injury. Far better to build up magnificent health, through the systematic exercise of the type Charles Atlas taught, that can and should be performed daily to infuse the muscles with highly oxygenated blood and growth factors (while removing dead, worn out cellular tissue) than to try and lift heavier and heavier weights unless that happens to be your sport of choice. As I read Calvert's book that I have re-typeset with my own new introduction and am sending to everyone that orders the "Living Strength Isometric Power Belt Course" I was amazed to see once again how "spot on" we have always been with what we have taught from day one.

---John Peterson
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