Whenever I watch a Bruce Lee film with friends or family, the fight scenes were always what stuck out as revolutionary to them. He attributed much of his strength and physical development to dynamic tension training. Watching Bruce Lee movies and reading about Charles Atlas made me think about something my martial arts mentor taught me: slow is smooth, and smooth is fast. Dynamic tension has been shown to improve muscle control and strength, but could it also be a secret key to speed development? The Shaolin monks have certainly developed all these qualities from their training.
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Charles Atlas born Angelo Siciliano ; October 30, — December 24,  was an Italian-American bodybuilder best remembered as the developer of a bodybuilding method and its associated exercise program which spawned a landmark advertising campaign featuring his name and likeness; it has been described as one of the longest-lasting and most memorable ad campaigns of all time.
Atlas trained himself to develop his body from that of a "scrawny weakling", eventually becoming the most popular bodybuilder of his day.
He took the name "Charles Atlas" after a friend told him that he resembled the statue of Atlas on top of a hotel in Coney Island  and legally changed his name in He marketed his first bodybuilding course with health and fitness writer Dr.
Frederick Tilney in November The duo ran the company out of Tilney's home for the first six months. In , Tilney sold his half of the business to advertising man Charles P. Roman and moved to Florida. Charles Atlas Ltd. The company is now owned by Jeffrey C. Angelo Siciliano was born in Acri , Cosenza, on October 30, He tried many forms of exercise initially, using weights , pulley -style resistance , and gymnastic -style calisthenics.
Atlas claimed that they did not build his body. He was inspired by other fitness and health advocates who preceded him, including world-renowned strongman Eugen Sandow and Bernarr MacFadden a major proponent of " Physical Culture ". He was too poor to join the local YMCA, so he watched how exercises were performed, then performed them at home. He attended the strongman shows at Coney Island, and would question the strongmen about their diets and exercise regimens after the show.
He would read Physical Culture magazine for further information on health, strength, and physical development, and finally developed his own system of exercises which was later called 'Dynamic Tension', a phrase coined by Charles Roman. A bully kicked sand into Siciliano's face at a beach when he was a youth, according to the story that he always told.
And it came over me. He's been pitting one muscle against another! Other exercise courses of the time contained exercises similar to Atlas's course, particularly those marketed by Bernarr McFadden and Earle E. Nowhere did Atlas win a title proclaiming him to be the world's most perfectly developed man. In , year-old Siciliano officially changed his name to Charles Atlas, as it sounded much more American. He met Dr. Frederick Tilney, a British homeopathic physician and course writer who was employed as publisher Bernarr MacFadden's "ideas man".
Atlas wrote a fitness course and then asked Tilney to edit it. Tilney agreed and Atlas went into business in Atlas' "Dynamic Tension" program consists of twelve lessons and one final perpetual lesson. Each lesson is supplemented with photos of Atlas demonstrating the exercises.
Atlas' lesson booklets added commentary that referred to the readers as his friends and gave them an open invitation to write him letters to update him on their progress and stories. Among the people who took Atlas' course were Max Baer , heavyweight boxing champion from to ;  Rocky Marciano , heavyweight boxing champion from to ; Joe Louis , heavyweight boxing champion from to ; British heavyweight weightlifting champion and Darth Vader actor David Prowse ; and Allan Wells , the Moscow Olympic Games meter champion.
Besides photographs, Atlas posed for many statues throughout his life. Treasury Building in Washington, D. Atlas began to experience chest pains after exercising during his final years, resulting in his hospitalization in December His wife, Margaret, had died seven years before. Nunziato Siciliano, Atlas' father, who had returned to Italy shortly after arriving in the US in , lived into his 90s.
Atlas' son, Charles Jr. The famous Charles Atlas print advertisements became iconic mostly because they were printed in cartoon form from the s on, and in many comic books from the s onwards — in fact continuing long after Atlas' death. The typical scenario, usually expressed in comic strip form, presented a skinny young man usually accompanied by a female companion being threatened by a bully.
The bully pushes down the "pound weakling"  and the girlfriend joins in the derision. The young man goes home, gets angry usually demonstrated by his kicking a chair , and sends away for the free Atlas book. Shortly thereafter, the newly muscled hero returns to the place of his original victimization, seeks out the bully, and beats him up.
He is rewarded by the swift return of his girlfriend and the admiration of onlookers. The ad was said to be based on an experience the real Atlas had as a boy. The ads usually conclude with the words "As is true of all the exercises in Atlas's course, you can do these exercises almost anywhere.
Slogans copyrighted the following year included "97 pound weakling In this, the full-length version, the protagonist, "Mac," is accosted on the beach by a sand-kicking bully while his date watches. Humiliated, the young man goes home and, after kicking a chair and gambling a three-cent stamp, subscribes to Atlas's "Dynamic-Tension" program.
Later, the now muscular protagonist goes back to the beach and beats up the bully, becoming the "hero of the beach. In this version, which debuted in ,  "Joe" is at a fair with his girl when the bully who has just shown his strength with the "Ring-the-Bell" game insults and pushes him.
Joe goes home, slams his fist on the table, and orders the free Atlas book. Joe then returns to the fair, rings the bell, and pushes down the bully while his girlfriend reappears to compliment him on his new, powerful physique. The condensed, four-panel version stars "Joe," though it is otherwise identical to Mac's story. Instead of "Hero of the beach," the words floating above Joe's head are "What a man!
Another version of the ad presents a scenario in which "Jack" is dancing with his girl, Helen. They are bumped into by a bully, who comments on how puny Jack is, not even worth beating up. Jack goes home, kicks a chair, and sends away for Atlas's "free book. This time, the words "Hit of the party" float over his head as he basks in the admiration of the other dancers. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Charles Atlas disambiguation.
Acri , Cosenza, Italy . Long Beach, New York , U. Main article: Dynamic tension. Charles Atlas. New York Times December 24, Hogan's Alley. Retrieved June 9, See Find-a-Grave.
Smithsonian magazine. Retrieved September 30, New York Daily News. Part 1. Pamphlets, Etc. New Series". November 28, — via Google Books. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. Tate December 18, Retrieved on Scratch Media. National Lampoon. November 17, Archived from the original on November 1, Retrieved August 7, Archived from the original on October 30, June 1, Physical culture. The Great Gama B. Ghosh K. Iyer Tiruka. Categories : births deaths Advertising campaigns American bodybuilders American exercise and fitness writers Burials at St.
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Dynamic Tension is a self-resistance exercise method which pits muscle against muscle. The practitioner tenses the muscles of a given body part and then moves the body part against the tension as if a heavy weight were being lifted. Dynamic Tension exercises are not merely isometrics , since they call for movement. Instead, the method comprises a combination of exercises in three disciplines: isotonic , isokinetic , and some exercises in the isometric discipline. He became obsessed with strength. He said that one day he watched a tiger stretching in the zoo and asked himself, "How does Mr.
How To Use Dynamic Tension for Speed Training