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Review by: Vince McConnell
When imagining the ultimate in physique leanness, I immediately think of the first time I saw a photo Clarence Bass.
It was an 1980 Muscle & Fitness. It was like looking at a road map in bold relief. What was different about Clarence's physique, as it is to this day, is that he would look normal in a business suit in spite of the coat of armor that existed underneath.
Instead of seeing this as undesirable to the ego, Clarence has thrived off of this image in his highly successful series of books, which include Ripped I, II, & III, The Lean Advantage, and Challenge Yourself.
What most people do not know about Clarence is that he has a life outside of staying "ripped". He is a successful attorney in addition to partnering with his wife Carol in running Ripped Enterprises. For almost 25 years, Clarence has inspired countless men and women with his writings and has now come out with his initial video project. Clarence was the one who first inspired my career in fitness and strength training two decades ago. I consider him my first mentor and he has not disappointed me in the least over all these years. My admiration and respect for him has only grown as he has continued to progress and challenge the test of time.
Ripped: The Video begins with Clarence's beginnings in weightlifting competition, showing him in vintage photos and video footage. It then moves quickly over a few highlights of Clarence's success in Over-40 bodybuilding career where he won titles such as "Best Legs" and "Best Abs."
The video follows Clarence into his kitchen where he demonstrates preparation of his special breakfast recipe, "The Old Reliable", which epitomizes Bass' nutritional philosophy that whole foods will fill you up without filling you out. He is very meticulous, though easygoing, in his preparation and full explanation of this initial meal. Bass points out that he takes few supplements and those he does, he takes in moderation.
From the kitchen the camera follows Clarence into his office where he reviews his training diary before each and every workout. He makes specific plans of what he will accomplish in the forthcoming workout based on his previous performances. Nothing is casual or left to chance though he never appears anal in his approach. It's just good common sense that ensures steady progress. As he says, "Success breeds success."
Cut to: Bass in Olympic lifting and nailing a 450-pound Squat in competition.
Cut to: Clarence in his personal training studio -- equipped to meet all of his training needs.
Bass explains the purpose of his using a mouthpiece during his lifting as well as the importance of proper footwear. He demonstrates his "General Warm-up" which he does prior to every workout. The warm-up incorporates both with weights and aerobics. He emphasizes very simple range of motion movements that do not promote fatigue or interfere with upcoming intense strength training. Clarence believes in the warm-up is to prime the mind and body for the actual workout.
After the warm-up, Bass demonstrates various Olympic-style Pulls. He explains the difference in a Snatch-grip and a Clean-grip. His form is excellent and a testament to his ability to continue such demanding lifts at 65 years of age. Each rep is performed with same precision as the one before. For sake of "being human" we are able to witness Clarence get slightly off balance on one lift only to correct himself.
It’s this kind of ""non-editing"" that makes this video so much more educational.
From here, he goes into the Barbell Squat demonstration where is uses simple Squat Stands instead of the popular Squat Rack or Power Rack. Clarence says he prefers to train alone but advises that a spotter be used if needed. Warm-up sets are explained where his philosophy is much as with the General Warm-up. The warm-up sets are to prepare for the work sets not to tax the muscles.
Next, Bass speaks about abdominal training and the need to address those muscles as any other muscle group. He performs what he calls ‘‘Hanging Hip Curls’’ which is commonly known as ‘‘Hanging Leg Raises’’. "Hip curl’’ is a better description of what is occurring during this exercise and Clarence explains why. Then he moves to The Saxon Side Bend for the obliques in a fashion that seems more effective than the conventional method. Again, he explains why it is more effective and why he prefers it.
Bass then goes into a brief posing routine that reminds us of why he trademarked the name "Ripped." Seeing the development in his serratus, intercostals, and obliques is worth the price of the video itself. He demonstrates excellent separation in his quads and the hamstring/quadriceps tie-in.
Muscle maturity at its finest is revealed as is the fact that you can get better with time. Any twenty-five year old would love to show this 65 year-old body on the beach!
The post-workout meal is explained as Clarence is shown in his kitchen. He clarifies why the body's needs differ from 'after a workout' to other times during the day. Clarence says to ""never leave the table hungry." At this point in the tape, Clarence introduces his wife Carol, who is an integral part of "Bass Enterprises" and obviously a key in his success.
In Bass' study he is shown preparing for his cardio workout. He reaffirms that he always "plans for success" no matter if it's strength training, cardio workouts, or nutrition. From there he explains why the rowing machine is his preferred piece of cardio equipment. He demonstrates a challenging workout that competes with his own personal record. Bass explains why he denounces "fat-burning zone" cardio training for fat loss and demonstrates the Tabata Method of high-intensity cardiovascular exercise on a Schwinn Airdyne. He takes us through an entire session that explains the purpose of warm-up and the work intervals. Stretching follows as he explains his views on the subject.
In his bathroom he demonstrates bodyfat percentage assessment. He takes us through a simple method of measuring progress in body composition. He clearly explains the way to do it without typical inconsistencies.
Then back to the kitchen for Clarence's bedtime snack. Yes, that's right. You can get ripped eating right before bed. Explained is the purpose of such a meal as well as a trick to troubleshoot overeating at any time during the day.
Finally, Clarence's shares treasured photos of past bodybuilding champions and other friends.
Ripped: The Video is an excellent excursion into the daily life of one of this generations unsung fitness heroes. Clarence's down-to-earth approach to training --and to life -- show that it is possible to realize your bodybuilding potential with both purpose and underlying passion for a lifetime.
Vince McConnell, ET Fitness Enterprises: www.etfitness.com
Dolfzine On-Line Fitness, Inc.® A Not-For-Profit Foundation: www.dolfzine.com
[When Vince called to order the video – he paid full price – he told Carol he intended to write a review for Dolfzine On-Line Fitness, where he is a regular contributor. She said "fine" but we expect you to say what you think and not pull any punches. That’s exactly what he did. The review shows that he took the job seriously. He soaked up every frame and didn’t miss a thing. Needless to say, we are pleased with his assessment. Hell, he even made us want to watch the video again.
We have a thick file on Vince. He wrote to us the first time early in 1986, when he was a budding fitness instructor. We were impressed with his maturity and dedication to all aspects of fitness, and have been following his career for almost 20 years.
Vince sent us this photo a year or so after his first contact almost 20 years ago.
He was 21-years-old and obviously dead serious about his training.
Visit his website (www.etfitness.com). You'll see that he has not only developed his body but also become a successful strength and conditioning coach to people in all walks of life. Be sure to take the virtual tour of his training and cardio/nutritional facility in Fairhope, Alabama. While you’re at it, check out his monthly column on Dolfzine, the free online fitness magazine (www.dolfzine.com). You’ll become a Vince McConnell fan, just as we are.]
The above review is reproduced with permission of Vince McConnell and Dolfzine On-Line Fitness, Inc.®
Video price is $34.95 + $5.00 shipping. To order, call or fax (numbers below). If you have ordered before and we have a current cc number and expiration date simply e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org your order (last name and zip is all we need)
Ripped Enterprises, 528 Chama, N.E., Albuquerque, New Mexico 87108, Phone (505) 266-5858, e-mail: email@example.com, FAX: (505) 266-9123. Office hours: Monday-Friday, 8-5, Mountain time. FAX for international orders: 00l 51 505 2669123
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