466 IDEAL HOME LIFE
Chapter IIIóThe Way to Gain Strength
It would be well for us to consider at this point the various kinds of physical or muscular development it is possible to attain by systematic exercise.
All my readers have, possibly, at some time or another, seen one of those extraordinarily developed individuals, with bunches of so-called muscles that seem to be stretching their covering of skin almost to the bursting point.
I want to caution you against this type. Such muscular development is to be shunned just as one shuns a disease. It is the affliction of men who have overtrained, and who have strained their muscles to the limit of their endurance continu≠ally for a long period of time. They have succeeded in making them large, but they lack life, resiliency, and spring.
I may compare the healthy muscle to a steel spring. The latter has a point beyond which, if bent, it will not resume its original shape; and a muscle, tired beyond its normal point of resistance, will become hidebound or stiffened. It cannot bear the strain, or respond like the long, smooth, normal muscle.
Another form of development is likewise to be avoided. It is the bunchy type of muscular development. You have seen it in the arms of sailors, for instance, whose work has been mostly hauling halyards; in professional strong men, who give weight-lifting exhibitions, and have enormous arms and shoul≠ders, sometimes with very little lung power, and with poor, malformed legs.
The bunchy muscle is only partially developed. When contracted it stands out prominently, and looks enormous, because only a part of the muscle has been developed, and the lack of development of the remainder robs it of its symmetry.
In both of the forms of development mentioned above, the underlying veins and arteries are liable to be much enlarged, and therefore are sure breeding grounds for disease.
The ideal muscle is the one that combines the greatest strength with the greatest suppleness. It should contain the largest possible number of sound muscular fibers, without any