In order to form some idea of the general strength of the individual, the results of the several tests were summed up. The amount represented the total strength so far as determined. I should add that, before summing up the result of the arm or chest tests, the number of times that a person had lifted himself either way was multiplied into a tenth of his weight, the object being to credit each person with the number of foot-pounds lifted, rather than to reckon the number of times the body was raised, without regard to its weight. A tenth of the weight was decided upon in order to reduce the number of figures that would result from the multiplication.
To add interest to the work, the girths of the head, chest (natural and inflated), waist, thighs, upper and forearms - these being the parts tested - were summed up. The difference between this amount, which was taken to represent the potential strength, and the amount found to represent the actual strength, was termed the condition.
In tabulating the first thousand measurements, the sum of the figures representing the potential strength and the sum of the figures representing the actual strength were found to correspond very closely in healthy persons who had received no preparatory training. This fact, though really an accidental discovery, was made by construction a relative standard to work by. If the actual strength exceeded the potential strength, the condition was marked plus the amount of the excess. If the actual strength fell short of the potential strength, the condition was marked minus the amount of the deficiency.
In order to ascertain the influence of the various conditions of life upon the growth and development of the individual, answers to the following questions were solicited:
Name or number.
Class and department, or occupation.
Age, yrs. ms. Birthplace.
Nationality of father, mother.
" " his father, her father.
" " his mother, her mother.
Occupation of father.
If father is dead, of what did he die?
If mother is dead, of what did she die?
Which of your parents do you most resemble?
What hereditary disease, if any, is there in your family?
Is your general health good?
Have you always had good health?
Check such of the following diseases as you may have had: -
Asthma, Dizziness, Gout, Pleurisy, Palpitation of the Heart, Pneumonia, Habitual Constipation, Bronchitis, Dyspepsia, Rheumatism, Shortness of Breath, Headache, Varicose Veins, Spitting of Blood, Chronic Diarrhoea, Dysentery, Neuralgia, Jaundice, Piles, Liver Complaint, Paralysis.
What injuries have you received?
What surgical operation have you undergone?
It frequently happened that answers to these questions would account for some peculiarity of development or some deficiency in the size of body or limbs, or for extreme muscular weakness, that could not otherwise be explained. Immediately before and after the strength-tests the heart and lungs were examined by auscultation and percussions, and any peculiarities noted. The information obtained from the physical examination just described, in connection with the history of the individual and the many facts brought out by personal observation, served as a basis for advice.
At the time the system I am now discussing was inaugurated, the gymnasium was wholly inadequate to meet the demands of at least two-thirds of the pupils who came under my observation. Most of them had discovered this fact for themselves, and had let the gymnasium and its apparatus severely alone. The tendency to specialism already alluded to had served to make the gymnasium distasteful to many who wished to use it, but who had neither the ability nor inclination to perform the feats usually practised on the old-style apparatus. In order to make the gymnasium serviceable to a larger portion of the community, and especially to those most needing its advantages, it seemed necessary that a new system of apparatus should be introduced, and a new spirit infused into the institution. With this aim in view, I devised a system of appliances designed to develop the different parts of the body, and to be adjusted to the strength of the strong or the weakness of the weak.
In introducing these mechanical devices into the gymnasium, I made a radical departure from one of the traditions that had governed physical education in the past. The idea had become thoroughly established in the community, that in order to be beneficial, physical exercise must be interesting. Physiologists and writers on education have given the weight of their testimony to this opinion, and it is quite difficult to convince many persons at the present day that the value of exercise is not solely dependent upon its being made pleasing and attractive in itself.
If a walk, run, game of ball, or system of gymnastic training, does not accord with our inclinations, we are likely to enter into it with less spirit, and consequently to reap less benefit. But let it be understood that exercise itself is beneficial, however disagreeable or distasteful. If the effort is made, the physiological effects of exercise are realized. Old tissue is broken down and new tissue demanded to take its place, and in answer to this demand the vital functions are increased. All physical exercises, however pleasant at first, tend to become irksome and distasteful when pursued systematically day after day; but the very energy that one is obliged to put forth in overcoming this distaste is a wholesome discipline. Having recognized the fact that physical exercise is necessary, and that the exercise is best which best meets one's individual needs, a man should pursue it with all the energy that he is capable of throwing into any other duty. By so doing, the training of the will is added to the training of the body, and the lesson learned in abnegation and self-mastery contributes the most important elements to the formation of character. Add to these attainments a correct method of working and a healthy habit of living, and the young man will have had the best kind of preparatory training for the business of life.