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act forms the basis of all successful methods for chest development. The most careful and persistent training will accomplish little if this essential be disregarded. We cannot hope to increase the chest capacity simply by developing the muscles upon the exterior walls. These, it is true, sustain the head and shoulders, and assist in elevating the ribs, but it is really the pressure outwards exerted by the dilating air-cells which does a greater part of the work. The muscles are merely adjuvants.
There are three ways by which air may be taken into the lungs : First, by pressing the latter outwards against the walls of the chest, — the method most commonly practiced ; second, by drawing the lungs upward by the action of the collar-bone and shoulder-blades ; and third, by contracting the diaphragm and abdominal muscles, and allowing the lungs to dilate from their bases upward. This latter is the only true method of breath-taking, and should be thoroughly mastered before proceeding further. It is perhaps unnecessary to state that in this, as in all other gymnastic exercises, the clothing should be loose and free about the waist.
Begin as follows: Stand erect and with head and shoulders drawn well backwards. Expel all the air from the lungs by contracting the chest and abdominal muscles. Next, holding the chest quite immovable, allow the air to enter the lungs by the action of the abdominal muscles alone. If properly performed, the first movement will be a protrusion of the abdomen and an increase in the transverse diameter of the lower portion of the chest. Inhale at first only a moderate amount of air, but gradually increase the depth of the inspiration as you become proficient in the exercise. Remember that the protrusion of the abdomen and the expansion of the chest occur almost simultaneously during each inspiration. Having filled the lower portions of the lungs in the manner described, the two first methods above noted may be employed to distend the apices. By the abdominal method, the expiratory act is much better regulated, more easily controlled, and is performed with the minimum degree of muscular effort. For these reasons, it forms a prominent part in all kinds of vocal culture. The accompanying diagram illustrates the antero-posterior enlargement of the chest produced by this
method alone. The heavy lines show the contour of the chest after a full inspiration.
One of the more simple exercises is what is known as forced voluntary breathing, practised, of course, after the method above described. Stand erect, and then take slowly a series of deep inspirations. Then take a long breath, and hold it as long as possible. By a little practice, this period may be easily increased from thirty seconds to a minute and a half. Repeat until the lungs feel a little tired. Again take a deep inspiration, and then count in a loud voice as long as you can. One should be able in a few days to reach as high as seventy-five. Exercises such as these will also test your proficiency in abdominal breathing.
Among the out-door resources, running and walking occupy a justly prominent place. Unlike some of the other exercises, they act upon the lungs indirectly by increasing the demand for oxygen on the part of the tissues. While at rest the amount of air used by the lungs per minute is about 430 cubic inches; while walking at the rate of four miles an hour, 2,200 cubic inches ; and while walking at the rate of six miles an hour, 3,200 cubic inches. Thus, by the increased depth and rapidity of the inspirations, there is a prompt renewal of the residual air and an expansion o the less used portions. As ordinarily practiced, these exercises sometimes fail to produce satisfactory results. Success here as well as elsewhere, depends in great part upon attention to details. Hence the blame, if any is attributable, lies to the exercises rather than to the method.
Particular attention should be given to the position of the shoulders and chest, and the one exercising should inhale large amounts of air slowly rather than small quantities at frequent intervals.
The novice who attempts to run any considerable distance, soon finds himself out of breath. The respiration becomes short and labored, the pulse rapid, and a sense of extreme exhaustion is promptly experienced. Thereupon the rate of speed naturally becomes lessened, during which time a reciprocal action becomes established between the heart and lungs. The more remote portions of the latter become distended, and thus the increased circulation of blood through the air-cells can be provided for, thereby lessening the strain upon the heart and blood vessels, and permitting thorough oxidation. Now, under rational methods of training, these phenomena should never occur. The lungs should be equal to all the ordinary demands made upon them, and it is the fault of the individual if they are not. While brisk walking is allowable, fast running is not. All competitive effort and all attempts to break a record are disastrous as regards the objects you are striving to attain. After acquiring as great a walking speed as is consistent with a graceful and easy carriage, begin the running exercise, gradually increasing the distance but not the rate of speed. A five-mile gait is quite sufficient, and a healthy person in good form ought to cover two or three miles easily and without experiencing at any time any marked shortness of breath or sense of exhaustion. This result can be easily secured by persistent practice and careful attention to the foregoing suggestions.
The success of any method of training depends not only upon its inherent worth, but upon the ease and readiness with which it can be put into practice. Gymnastic apparatus is not accessible to the masses, while of those having access to the ordinary gymnasium, but a very small proportion make good use of their opportunities. As regards children, there is absolutely nothing at their disposal. There is demanded, therefore, something which may be always at hand, which is applicable to all ages and thoroughly adapted to the end in view, which is in every particular harmless to the exerciser, which can be used several times daily, and which of itself possesses a sufficient element of interest to insure its long continued use. All these advantages appear to be possessed by the properly constructed chest-weight. Moreover, by means of various additional fittings, this apparatus offers superior facilities for the development of every portion of the body without any other aid whatever. While numerous chestweight exercises have been devised for the purpose, there are none which for promoting chest development compare in efficacy with those here described. They have been derived from various sources, and have the commendation of various teachers of physical culture. Others would be here presented were I not confident that far better results are attained by a few exercises practiced long and thoroughly, than by a large number employed hurriedly and indifferently.
So much depends upon the proper construction of the apparatus used, that a description of the kinds advocated will not be out of place. Some are designed for general work, while others are particularly adapted for chest development. The two machines here shown belong more particularly to the latter class, and for the purpose in view, have, in my opinion, no superiors.
No. 1. No. 1 is known as Dowd's “Home Exerciser." It is a very light piece of apparatus, having single pulleys with swivel and
graduated weights. There is also a floor pulley and other accessories. It presents a very attractive appearance, and besides being specially adapted for the chest exercises, is a good allround machine. It costs from $5 to $16.
COPYRIGHT, 1888, BY W. L. COOP
No. 2. No. 2 is one of the special weights manufactured by the Narragansett Machine Co., of Providence. It is of the same height