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The Training of John Grimek

Strength Oldschool

John Grimek

The Training of John Grimek

Information provided by Magnus…

Grimek’s original goal was simply to become stronger and more agile, in fact he never deliberately planned to compete in bodybuilding instead he enjoyed Olympic weightlifting, odd lifts and strength feats such as bar bending and one-arm dumbbell swings with more than 200lbs!

John Grimek Strength

John Grimek - One Arm Barbell Press

It is amazing how he became so powerful when you realise he grew up during the great depression in the 1930s and often lived on coffee and bread having no money for protein foods.

Young John Grimek

I will stop myself there as no doubt Brooks Kubik’s course will have a biography on John in there and Steadfast wants training routines, so here we go: Early on John learned about squats from Mark Berry and also followed the Milo course which came with his elder brother’s weight set.

John Grimek Squats

The Milo course suggested one set of 20 reps per exercise increasing 2 reps every third workout until 40 rep sets were reached, then add 10lbs and start again at 20 reps – this was known as double progression. John soon got bored and invented his own routine which was a favourite throughout his life. Now on his squats he would start around 200lb and do 30 reps or more, add weight and hit 20 reps, more weight again for 12 to 15 reps, again for 8 to 10 reps, again for 5 or 6 reps and finally max weight for 1 to 3 reps. When the heaviest set began to feel easier he would increase all sets by 5 or 10lbs; due to the extra form of progression (pyramiding up the weight) he called it the Triple-Progressive routine and also used it for upper body work but with fewer reps per set. I should mention he used very light pullovers between sets to stretch his ribcage and get his breath back quicker.

John also corresponded with George F Jowett who suggested heavy supports for strength. So for example John suspended a barbell from the joists in his attic by chains at a height where he could grab it with straight arms and hold it overhead by pushing it up with his legs until he was locked out – the weight was too heavy to move with his arms as he went over 1,000 lbs with this! John also performed straddle lifts lifting the bar an inch off the floor using heavy leather belts to hold the bar but gave up eventually as the belts left heavy bruises on his body and finally the belts snapped when trying to lift nearly 6,000lbs YES Six thousand pounds I kid you not!

John Grimek - Harness Lift

John also loved dumbbell training after meeting Sig Klein but I will stop now, better leave it to Brooks I don’t want to spoil his course by spilling all the beans before it comes out BUT I might add a bit more to this if anyone requests it“. ~ Magnus

John Grimek Training Biceps

Bodybuilding Legend John C Grimek



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