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The Life and Training of Maurice Jones - The Canadian Hercules

 By Strength Oldschool

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Maurice Jones from Keys To Progress

Maurice Jones (pictured above) is mentioned many times throughout the classic book by John McCallum entitled: "The Complete Keys To Progress". However, Maurice still remained a mysterious figure who possessed an incredible, naturally strong physique with very little information on him for readers to further explore.

The Complete Keys to Progress by John McCallum

This book contains original articles on weight training written by John McCallum, which first appeared in "Strength & Health" magazine, which ran from June 1965 through to November 1972. An absolute brilliant read and highly recommended.

Who was John McCallum (1912 - 1993?)?

John McCallum - Author of Keys To Progress articles

"John McCallum was a hardcore weight trainer that took methods from the Iron greats of his era and passed them along to us, his young readers. He took his training ques from Bill Pearl, Reg Park, John Grimek, Maurice Jones, Harold Cleghorn and a slew of elite Olympic weightlifters". ~ Marty Gallagher

John lived in New Westminster, B.C. and worked for the Fire Department.

Quote from the book "The Complete Keys To Progress"...

"The heaviest muscled man I ever met is Maurice Jones of Vancouver, B.C. You wouldn't believe anyone could have that much muscle and every ounce of it was built with weights. I asked Maury once how often he figured a man should work out. He said, "Three times a week." "How long for each workout?" "About an hour." ~ John McCallum

In an article written by Walt Baptiste, originally published way back in 1941, the author detailed information on the life and training of Maurice Jones, who was known as 'The Canadian Hercules'.

Maurice Jones was also interviewed in 1997 by Randall Strossen at the age of 85 so I'll include relevant information from both interviews.

Bodybuilder Maurice Jones - 1945 Photo

Maurice Jones (pictured above in 1945) began training at the age of 17 years old at a height of around 5ft 9" tall and weighed about 150 lbs. He was sick a lot as a child hence why he began weight training to build himself up. Within the next five years or so he developed to become one of the world's strongest physiques.

According to Randall Strossen's 1997 interview, Jones would state that the most he ever weighed was 225 lbs, although he generally weighed 200 lbs which was more comfortable for him. Yet, within the 1941 interview, it was stated...

"Maurice can vary his weight almost at will between 195 to 237 pounds." And that "his largest and most spectacular measurements at a bodyweight of 237 lbs (108 kg) were as follows..."

  • Height – 5’ 8 ½”.
  • Neck – 18"
  • Normal Chest – 52"
  • Waist – 34 ½ "
  • Thigh – 28"
  • Calf – 18"
  • Bicep – 18 ½ "
  • Forearm – 14 ½ "
  • Wrist – 7 ¾ "
  • Ankle – 9 ½ "

Given that Jones was interviewed at the age of 85 relying on memory, I'm sure the facts stated about his heaviest bodyweight during 1941 may have been more accurate. Either way, Jones did state that his "most shapely and best condition" was when he weighed 210 lbs (95.5 kg) with the following measurements:

  • Neck – 18"
  • Chest – 49 ½ "
  • Waist – 32"
  • Hips – 39 ½ "
  • Thigh – 26 ½ "
  • Calf – 17 ½ "
  • Bicep – 17 ¾ "
  • Forearm – 14 ½ "
  • Wrist – 7 ½ "
  • Ankle – 9 ½ "

During the late 1930's Maurice Jones toured England as a Professional Wrestler. Jones wasn't a fan of the sport...

"...it was as phony as anything could be...It was a means to an end for me. I wanted to continue with my schooling, and my father was very ill at the time. I had to keep the household going.”

Throughout his life he has worked as a Graphic Artist and as a Director of the YMCA.

William Bankier (1870 - 1949) known as 'Apollo, The Scottish Hercules', proclaimed Jones back in 1939, as being physically superior to both Eugen Sandow (1867 - 1925) and the mighty George Hackenschmidt (1877 - 1968), according to the 1941 interview.

Maurice Jones Training

Jones was a three times a week, "Full Body Workout" kinda guy with each training session lasting around two hours. The following information is from the 1997 Randall Strossen Interview... 

I’d do a bit of a warm-up at the beginning, before I’d start: calisthenics, bending, arm waving, that sort of thing. I’d always start with sit-ups on the steep board. Then I’d do my presses: Press, curl, press, curl. Rest a minute and then do another press and another curl. Three sets altogether. That was the military press. I didn’t do those leaning back presses. They called them military presses at that time. Then I’d do three sets of rowing motions; I’d do my bench presses in between (row, bench press, row, bench press, row, bench press). Three sets of bench presses...Now the squat. One set of heavy squats up around 400 pounds – about a dozen repetitions. At that time I was still doing hiking on weekends so I got plenty of legwork there, and I’d have 30 or 40 pounds on my back in my rucksack...In between sets, I’d rest a minute – I wouldn’t sit down."

Jones was a stickler for "strict reps"...

“I always tried to adhere to good form. I couldn’t stand these guys that would come in and be curling and it would be a back exercise as well. That didn’t go over well with me at all. I wanted to see a straight body, and the arms working as they should.”

Quote from book "The Complete Keys To Progress"...

"One of the best curlers I know is Maurice Jones of Vancouver, B.C. Maurice has arms around nineteen inches and curls enough weight to sink a small boat. We were watching him curling one day and I spoke to the guy beside me. "Amazing power," I said. "He must have a secret." "He has," he said. "His arms bend easier than most people's." ~ John McCallum

Maurice Jones Strength Feats

Walt Baptiste stated that he witnessed Jones lift a 45 kg (100 lb) dumbbell with his left hand and pressed it above his head with relative ease, ten times!

Jones was a big believer in Squatting heavy. His brother Ken Jones (who was well built himself) stated the following...

"Maurice uses 415 pounds (188 kg) in his routine, doing it 15 times. He does two or three of these sets in each workout. One day after a heavy three-hour workout he took 450 lbs (204 kg) and did it 10 times. This, after he had already performed three sets of 15 reps with 415 pounds (188 kg)!"

Jones stated that his best squat was around 525 lbs (238 kg) inspired to break Milo Steinborn's (1893 - 1989) record.

Current lifts on certain exercises for Jones back in 1941 were...

  • Stiff-Legged Dead Lift (standing on a bench lowering the bar to the tops of his feet) - 425 lbs (193 kg) - 15 reps
  • Two Arm Press - 215 lbs (98 kg) - 12 reps
  • Regular Curl - 135 lbs (61 kg) - 12 reps
  • Reverse Curl - 120 lbs (55 kg) - 12 reps

Some of his records were as follows...

  • Military Press: 260 lbs (118 kg).
  • Regular Curl: 175 lbs (80 kg).
  • Reverse Curl: 145 lbs (66 kg).

Without any training he Clean & Jerked 325 lbs (148 kg).

Maurice Jones on Cardio

Along with consistent weight training, Jones also ran a couple of times a week and included mountain hiking, known for placing up to 30 lbs of rocks in his rucksack before climbing a mountain.

Over the years Jones has trained hard but it's never came easy for him...

I’ve put up with a lot of pain over the years, years I suffered, but I never avoided my training."

That's dedication from an Iron Game Legend.

Maurice Jones on Diet

“...I’m afraid that I just qualify as a meat and potatoes man.”

No fancy food for Jones, just simple, good solid food.

Maurice Jones at 85 Years Old (1997)

Back in 1997, Jones was 85 years old and weighed 185 lbs body-weight. He was still active in training and outdoor activities" such as cycling and trail hiking.

He was still able to do presses and curls with 50 lb dumbbells. Throughout the years he had sustained injuries being an avid "Alpinist" which unfortunately led to surgeries on his back, neck and both knees. He didn't blame the weights on his injuries.

Thanks to John McCallum, Walt Baptiste and Randall Strossen for all the great work they did in seeking Interviews and making Iron Game fans aware of the great Maurice Jones. I'm not sure what ever happened to Jones, for all I know, he could still be alive and well? If anyone has information on Maurice Jones, please share. And if anyone has information on John McCallum and knows when exactly he passed away, that would be great if you could share.

One last thing...has anyone heard of Angelo Luspa? He was a collector of bodybuilding photos of Maurice Jones and I'm sure others in the Iron Game but I cannot find anything about the man online. So if anyone would like to submit comments and share information on this article please use our Facebook link below. Thank you.


If you long for the good ol' days of "Old School Bodybuilding" check out my Vintage Muscle Magazine videos on Youtube!

Thanks for reading and k
eep training hard folks!

All the best,

Strength Oldschool

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