Develop Stubborn Muscles This Way – Bruce Page (1963)

Bruce Page was a frequent writer for Peary Rader’s Iron Man magazine. The article below originally appeared in the January-February 1963 issue. In offering a different technique for stimulating muscle growth, this article touches on several aspects of the iron game, first of all reminding bodybuilding trainees to focus on weight training despite the then-current trend of isometric exercise for weightlifters.  Page also emphasizes the importance of good nutrition. Here we see the beginnings of the long-standing dietary fat and cholesterol scare, which nutrition writers in more recent years have openly challenged. Finally, the article discusses the value of the occasional layoff/de-load from training.


A photo of Bruce Page that appeared with the article. Click to enlarge (appears in new widow/tab)

Magazine Excerpt:

With the new concepts in power building taking precedence today, that is to say, Isometric contractions, one is apt to forget the conventional method of building a physique, the method whereby our Mr. Americas and other great title holders forged their outstanding bodies.

Isometric contractions, about which considerable has been written recently in various publications, is more or less directed to the weight lifter rather than the bodybuilder, since the lifter is interested primarily in greater power and less interested in muscular development and size, although Isometric exercises can be of benefit to the bodybuilder. See my article, Volume 21, No. 3 Iron Man. Nevertheless, the muscle builder must still rely upon exercises, sets and repetitions to build his body; Isometric contractions alone will not accomplish this for him.

Periodically I run across something just a little different from run-of-the-mill exercise routine, and it’s happened from time to time, and when I do, I feel the system has merit, I like to pass it on to the readers of Iron Man. Such is a system I ran across not long ago and I have found it to be of great value in increasing arm size. The reason I emphasize arm size is because I began using the routine on the arms as a trial run, so to speak, and found it so beneficial that I later applied it to all areas with like results. It is something that has been closely approached in the past but not quite hit upon and I feel that if you are looking for something a little different that can increase the size and shape of your physique, here is a system well worth a good try.

For an example to illustrate the procedure of the system, let us take the triceps extension using the lat machine. This is an excellent triceps movement and, incidentally, the first one that I tried when I decided to give this system a go. Load the machine up to a poundage which you feel capable of pressing down eight times, and the last few reps really make you work. Perform the original eight reps but before you rest remove about fifteen pounds from the machine and immediately do another four reps. You will feel those triceps bulge like never before. Take a three to four minute rest and repeat. The number of sets performed in this manner is strictly up to the individual. I wouldn’t attempt to prescribe any set number of sets simply because we all have different requirements and what was ample for me may not be enough for you, or vice versa.

No, as I previously stated, this system can be applied to all muscle areas. Sometimes you will require assistance in performing the exercise. For instance, in the bench press you wouldn’t want to get up from the bench after the first eight reps, remove the required poundage and get down again to continue, so you ask a friend to remove the weights so that you can remain on the bench and complete the exercise as it should be done. This almost continuous action is most important. Another fine triceps exercise, where a dumbbell is held by one end in the flat of the palms and extended down the back of the head, is another such instance.

You will doubtless find some areas where you feel it more than others, but I assure you that you will get a great deal of satisfaction out of applying this system to all areas. I found next to the arms the shoulders and legs felt it most effectively.

I find in talking to bodybuilders here and there that the day of the three sets of ten sort of thing has all but vanished from the bodybuilding scene. It appears today that the muscle builder uses at least four sets of every exercise and usually no more than eight reps. This, of course, excludes rank beginners. Now if your protein intake has been governed by the above type of training and you decide to try this program, be certain to increase your protein intake. I think most of you are aware by this time of the best form of high protein foods. We realize that meat is a good source of protein; however it also contains cholesterol, the fatty material that is being so widely discussed today as a leading actor in heart and arterial diseases. So in choosing meats be certain to buy the leanest cuts and then trim away all visible fat before eating. Then again, meat is not the only good source of protein Fowl is excellent and does not contain the cholesterol that other meat does. Fish and sea products are very fine protein foods and are devoid of cholesterol. Brewers yeast is a fine protein food and also supplies adequate essential B vitamins so necessary to building strong muscles and a healthy body. Nuts, preferably raw and unprocessed, and sunflower seeds are also wonderful foods simply loaded with essential proteins and natural unsaturated fats, the kind so necessary in combatting cholesterol in the arteries. So, as you can see, there are many ways to get the bodybuilding elements you will require. Besides protein, you must obtain an adequate supply of vitamins and minerals and plenty of green and yellow vegetables plus fresh raw fruit will supply your needs. Remember, barbells and dumbbells are only the tools which you must employ in order to develop the physique you desire, but you must have an abundance of good nourishing food supplying these muscles if you are to reach your goal.

I find it also wise to take the occasional rest from training when working on such a program as this. It is very strenuous and there is always the possibility of going stale when one works vigorously for a long period on one schedule. So I would recommend a few days, possibly a week, off if you train hard and diligently on this routine for a month. If, however, you feel the need of a rest after three weeks, by all means take the rest. For some, three weeks may prove ample and a rest will be required. By the same token, others will not deem this necessary for a month. Remember the old adage, “One man’s meat is another man’s poison,” and this applies to all phases of bodybuilding and to other sports, for that matter.

At any rate, here it is; it worked well for me and I’m sure that if you give it a fair try the results will prove gratifying.


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