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About Me

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  1. Gary Jones (Son of Arthur Jones) - Former Owner and Designer of Hammer Strength Exercise Equipment Company By Bill Pearl Gary Jones (pictured above), former owner / designer of Hammer Strength exercise equipment company, was born in 1952, in New Orleans, Louisiana. He spent his early childhood in Slidell, Louisiana, where his father, the eccentric visionary Arthur Jones (1926 - 2007 ), of Nautilus Sports / Medical Industries, Inc., at that time, operated a "Wild Animal Farm." Although Arthur was American, English was not Gary's primary language due to his mother's Hispanic heritage; consequently, he did not speak English until he entered grade school. Gary experienced a more than an unusual childhood as the son of an obsessed self-seeker. Arthur, a third-world mercenary, packed a loaded pistol in his waist band and owned and operated an import / export enterprise that specialized in snakes, a variety of reptiles, and other exotic animals. Gary recalled traveling to Latin America and Africa as a youngster, in a cargo airplane piloted by his father. On these trips, it was always, "Yes Sir...Mr.Jones," to anything Arthur demanded or required. During the 1950's and 1960's, Arthur was also a well-known television personality. His syndicated series included: Wild Cargo, Capture, Professional Hunter, and Call of the Wild. His final television production, "Operation Elephant" aired on CBS in 1970. As a youngster, Gary did not realize how extraordinary it was to have been involved in the care and feeding of crocodiles, lions, tigers, snakes, and other creatures warehoused at his dad's Slidell, Louisiana, wild animal park. He claims he developed his people skills by showing customers and visitors around the compound and regarded bites from snakes or jaguars as common occurrences. In 1965, the Jones family moved to Africa, where Arthur continued his extensive wildlife movie projects. Gary fortunately found the British school system to his liking as he pursued his interests in math, science and physics. In Rhodesia, Gary discovered a more moderate mentor than his father. The man was a retired engineer who was part of the South African chess team and who, at one time, had tied with world champion Bobby Fischer. Gary recalled being taught to practice the game of chess without the aide of the Queen or Bishops, forcing Rooks and Knights to accomplish a check-mate. "This strategy of doing something the hard way was a terrific lesson that I employed years later in my manufacturing business," he said. Recalling their final months in Rhodesia, where his family lived on the edge of a war zone and had to travel and socialize "armed to the teeth," Gary currently views rifle-toting children of war-torn third world countries with a feeling of unpleasant familiarity. In 1968, Gary's father had reached a point of "no-cooperation" with Rhodesian government officials and made arrangements for his $1.5 million worth of cameras, sound equipment, a helicopter, and two airplanes to be shipped state side. Unfortunately, the Rhodesian government confiscated the lot, which Arthur never recovered. Returning to Louisiana, approximetely $5 million in debt, Arthur borrowed $2,500 from his sister to begin the design of a prototype resistance exercise machine in the family's one-car garage. Working alongside Arthur, 16-year old Gary designed an off-centered cam, configured like a seashell, which they installed in the unit to cause the resistance of the exercise to vary as the users worked their muscles through their range of motion. Gary's father's strategy for marketing the revolutionary exercise piece became the adopted, "one-set to failure" principle, which Arthur coined as "High Intensity Training." Labeled the "Blue Monster," the prototype version of the multi-purpose Nautilus machine was previewed at the 1970 AAU Mr. America contest, held in Culver City, California. Arthur, accompanied by Gary, had transported the unit in a rented trailer, arriving with seven dollars in change and an expired credit card. * Arthur Jones - "The Blue Monster" - Nautilus Gym Equipment The following 14 years, Gary worked for Nautilus Sports / Medical Industries, Inc., in conjunction with two years at Stetson University and nine years with the Orlando Fire Department. By 1984, approximately 4,700 Nautilus Fitness Centers existed in the United States, with complete lines of Nautilus equipment in physical rehabilitation centers, professional sports team training rooms, colleges, high schools, and private training facilities. In 1986, Nautilus Sports / Medical Industries, Inc., was sold to Texas oil man, Travis Ward (1922 - 2015) (Photo below) for $23 million. Gary stayed on as Vice President and Director of Manufacturing for six months, but grew disgruntled with the new management and walked out without a goodbye. In 1988. Gary partnered with Peter Brown and Kim Wood to found the Hammer Strength Corporation, which went into direct competition against Nautilus. Aligning himself with Brown and Wood caused a severe rift to develop between Gary and his dad, due to the partners having sued Nautilus Sports / Medical Industries, Inc., for the violation of their distributor's franchise agreement, following the sale of the corporation. Furthermore, when Gary abruptly abandoned Nautilus, with Travis Ward still owing his father millions of dollars, Arthur became so bitter regarding the trio's alliance that he allegedly said, "Gary's not my son! He's given up that right." Gary responded, "It's true. I potentially cost Nautilus millions of dollars by walking away from the company. I was the son of the founder. I had a tremendous amount of information, and I was thought to be an enemy of the corporation." Similar to the success of Nautilus exercise machines, Hammer Strength grew to be the number-one brand for plate-loading exercise equipment almost overnight, with sales in the millions of dollars per year. Gary, responsible for the design and manufacturing of the Hammer Strength machines, used a highly sophisticated computer program he had written and later sold to Hewlett-Packard Company. He remarked, "I was one of those kids who studied multi-dimensional calculus. I was doing flight problems for my dad before I was old enough to go to school ". In 1997, Hammer Strength sold to Life Fitness Inc., a division of Brunswick Corporation for an estimated $32 million. Gary then worked for Life Fitness as he mentored the younger engineers. In 2019, Gary and his wife Brenda, divide their free time between homes in Florida and Colorado. Regarding his late father, Gary commented, "I got nothing...zilch, zip, zero, from the sale of Nautilus. I had no ownership which was the way my dad wanted it. The only financial opportunity I felt I had was to start a new business competing in the field I knew. Arthur taught me a lot. I still read all his books and articles. But he believed in throwing you to the sharks. If you survived, he added more sharks. I didn't mind competing against the outside, but I didn't need that kind of competition from the inside. Understand, I'm not saying my dad was evil. It's just the way it was." * Arthur Jones has a "Who Blinks First Loses" contest with his pet crocodile. More information on Arthur Jones can be obtained from ArthurJonesExercise.com. Books on Arthur Jones can be purchased from here. An amusing Arthur Jones and Gary Jones story can be read here.
  2. This is all the bodybuilding, weightlifting and autobiography books I've collected over the last 20+ years. I also have a billion bodybuilding magazines stored away in one of my rooms. My favourite magazines were the classic mags from the pre-1970s, for example, Reg Park, Casey Viator, Arnold and Sergio Oliva. My top book which I own is "The Complete Keys to Progress" by John McCallum - outstanding book, which I highly recommend and which you can still buy for cheap on Amazon. Which weight training books do you own?
  3. * Strength Oldschool was given permission to publish this article on the Author's behalf. * An Eyewitness Account of Mike Mentzer's Training Seminar by Magnus. Edited by: Strength Oldschool * If you haven’t read Part 1 yet click here. Hello everyone, and welcome to my account (finally!) of the day I attended Mike Mentzer’s seminar. This event took place the day after my unexpected chat with him that you read about in my first Mentzer topic. The seminar consisted of an explanation of Mike’s Heavy Duty training system, a workout that was intense (no demonstrating with light weights here!), and Mike performing his posing routine, followed by questions from the audience. Two things to bear in mind: First, this took place in the early 1980s and was possibly the last time that Mike was in good shape, and second, if you are expecting a lot of Ayn Rand - inspired philosophical chat from Mike it did not happen, as Mike had not yet got around to being entranced by Objectivism at this point in his life. Okay, back in time we go to pick up my thoughts as I finished work for the day and headed for Swindon and the gym where I had been lucky to have that one-on-one discussion with Mike the night before. My mind was buzzing with anticipation: Would Mike get angry or abusive if anyone questioned his training? Was the seminar going to be mostly talk with maybe demonstrations of exercises done with light weights? AND important to a young bodybuilder that had connected with Mike’s wavelength, would he treat me differently to everyone else who attended – my ego was expanded and wanting even more stroking! I walked in the gym and there was Mike by the reception desk already surrounded by lots of young bodybuilders asking questions. Clearly enjoying the attention, it was obvious Mike loved to talk and ‘correct’ any opinions on training which did not agree with his. Looking over he caught sight of me and gave a very slight nod to acknowledge my presence, then went back to the group of around fifteen guys around him – a mental image of Jackals around a Lion came to mind – but if the intention of any of these guys was to criticise Mike I felt sure they would find him to be unbeatable in a debate. The gym owner appeared behind the desk and I purchased a seminar ticket and slowly wandered around the gym, eagerly awaiting the official start of the seminar as staff wandered around the gym telling trainees who did not have tickets that the gym was closing. While this went on I overheard one of the young guys talking while waiting for the seminar to begin (young? I am forgetting I was in my early twenties then so I was part of the same crowd!). He was telling a small group about Mike’s training which he had witnessed a couple of days before. Mike had trained legs, chest and triceps and incredibly did only one set per exercise and no warm-ups! Leg work started with Nautilus leg extensions followed by conventional leg presses (the gym did not have the old Nautilus leg extension/leg press machine that was as big as an army tank, instead it had the much smaller leg extension unit and an ordinary vertical leg press). No mention was made of the amount of weight Mike used on the leg extension, but his style was described as very strict, holding at the top of each rep for a couple of seconds, and on the last three reps he had a gym member press down hard on his ankles as he lowered the weight back down, to make the negative movement much harder ( I read an interview with Tom Platz in which Tom said he saw Mike training this way at Gold’s gym and tried it out on himself and his training partner. Tom concluded that using this technique turned up the intensity to a whole new level.). Unlike his training booklet which recommended going immediately to the leg press to take advantage of the ‘pre-exhaustion’ principle (Mike called it ‘pre-fatigue’), Mike rested for a couple of minutes before pounding out eleven rapid leg presses with seven hundred pounds. Not very heavy compared to today’s bodybuilders? Remember this was on a vertical leg press – much heavier weights can be handled on the inclined leg presses all gyms have now (I have talked to an equipment manufacturer who told me that, depending on the angle of incline, seven hundred on a vertical leg press could equal as much as twelve hundred on an incline leg press machine). Mike took his time between sets and about five minutes later he did one set on the Nautilus leg curl machine for seven reps, then used the whole stack on the calf raise machine, also done as you might be expecting by now, for one set. I vaguely recall the stack was marked as nine hundred pounds. By now half the people in the gym were listening to the guy talking about Mike’s training, and he went on to tell us about Mike’s chest workout. Standing between the pulleys in the cable crossover machine Mike performed two hard sets in a style essentially the same as Arnold used in Pumping Iron. Why two sets instead of one? Mike’s weak point was chest – his pecs were almost flat and it seems even he thought that a bit more work might help with that problem. Following the crossovers Mike did a set of incline presses and a set of dips with his elbows out wide and leaning forward as he descended. Finally Mike hit his triceps with one set of pushdowns, using a v-handle with his thumbs touching each other and allowing the handle to rise as high as his nose on each rep before pressing it down. All along the young guy telling us this, did not mention the weights Mike used except for the leg press, but the final exercise performed must have made a big impression on him as he mentioned the weight three times. It was triceps dips, elbows held in to the sides, and even after the pushdowns Mike strapped on a 125 pound dumbbell and managed seven reps! As if the timing had been planned, as the description of Mike’s training came to an end the gym owner came over and introduced Mike as “Mister Heavy Duty,” further adding that Mike was “a bodybuilder that uses scientific fact to guide his training, and has changed the face of bodybuilding training. Listen to what he says then try it out, you won’t regret it! ” I looked around the gym and saw we were all together, about fifteen guys and a couple of girls listening intently as Mike started talking. Mike assumed the air of a genial teacher helping novice pupils to understand their lessons, and I was relieved that the scowling, cutting foul-mouthed cynic who had amazed me the day before was not on display. Mike’s true calling was writing and teaching, his enjoyment of the seminar plain to see as he was in a relaxed and happy mood – even the occasional dumb question from his audience was met with patience and a look of amusement. Mike pointed at barbells and dumbbells and a couple of Nautilus machines and said “can anyone tell me what the difference is between these things when it comes down to training? I’ll tell you: The barbells are the Stone Age and the Nautilus machines are the now and the future of training. Your joints initiate movement by rotating around an axis or fulcrum point, and Nautilus machines with their odd-shaped cams provide a strength curve that matches these movements, allowing you a fuller range of motion and resistance at the point of complete contraction. This peak contraction is the only point in any movement where all the muscle fibers can be contracted, providing you use enough resistance of course. Do one set to failure then walk away. Train this way and you should make gains after every workout. Those bodybuilders who say you have to train for months on end to gain anything have got it all wrong! If you provide the right training stress then you should get stronger every workout until you reach your genetic potential. Think of it this way: If you sunbathe, too short a time in the sun will be insufficient to tan you. Too long in the sun will overwhelm your system and burn you. But time it right and you will tan and this will happen every time. Training is the same, in other words you apply a specific stress to your muscles and you get a specific response, and this response happens every time if you get the stress right – like getting a tan, you would not need to hope you will tan, or hope you won’t burn. If you apply the right time you will tan….every time! And if you apply the right stress to your muscles you will grow stronger and bigger after every workout guaranteed! ” Mike answered several questions from the audience as some of the guys seemed to find this a bit confusing. I was a bit confused myself as to why they were unsure of Mike’s explanation as it seemed quite clear to me. Mike changed course now as he said “I am due for a workout today, so how would you like to see a Heavy Duty workout in action? The only difference compared to training back home is that my brother trains with me there and knows exactly how much help to give me for forced reps, without him I will only go to positive failure.” Mike repeated the fact that he trained much harder at home several times during the workout he performed – did he think some of the audience would be disappointed by what they saw him do that day? Mike moved over to the Nautilus pullover machine, sat down on the seat and began adjusting the height of it relative to the position of the arm pads, explaining that the point of rotation needed to be in line with the shoulders to allow a full-range movement. Mike continued talking the whole time as he selected a weight about two-thirds of the way down the stack, sat back in the machine and buckled the waist belt to hold himself in, then pressed the foot pedal far enough to get his elbows and forearms on the pads. The weight stretched Mike as far back as he could reach when he released the pedal, then he began to perform rapid repetitions. Now for the first surprise: Mike tried to continue talking as he trained but came to a sudden stop after three reps and declared the weight was too heavy! Having read about Mike using the whole stack on most of these machines it was completely unexpected when he stopped, extricated himself from the machine and reduced the weight to half the stack. He started again and this time stopped talking after the fourth rep, going on to finish with nine reps. The other thing that I found surprising and at odds with his training articles at the time was his rep speed. In most of Mike’s writings which appeared in Weider’s Muscle Builder magazine he strongly emphasised holding the peak contraction in exercises that allowed it (and the Nautilus pullover did ), and he recommended momentum be kept out of exercise by performing reps slowly, and even slower on the eccentric phase (lowering the weight) – yet here was Mike doing his reps very fast and not holding the peak contraction at all. Who knows, maybe Mike was having an off day for training and just wanted to get through it. Whatever the truth may have been, I thought to myself "that guy describing Mike’s workout before the seminar started: Did he exaggerate what Mike did, or could he even have read about it in a magazine and pretended he had watched Mike train when he told us about it? ” There did not seem to be any reason why he would have made it up, so I concluded that either Mike was distracted by talking to us and could not really get into his exercises, or maybe it was simply the fact that he was relatively stronger in his legs and triceps than his upper back (his triceps certainly were incredibly impressive-looking). As Mike caught his breath he explained the virtues of the pullover done Nautilus-style: "You could do pullovers with a barbell or a dumbbell if necessary but they don’t come close to the Nautilus version because the effective range of motion, thanks to the offset-cam, is more than doubled on the machine, and pushing the pads with your elbows, not your forearms or hands, removes the weak link between the weight and you, enabling much more direct effort on your lats. The inventor of Nautilus, Arthur Jones, called this pullover ‘the upper-body squat,’ and he believed it would lead to bigger lats than had ever been seen before. I think Jones had a point there, but personally I think parallel-bar dips for pecs, delts and triceps are more worthy of the name ‘upper –body squat.” Mike wiped the sweat from his face, put his glasses back on and said “have you ever tried working out with a bunch of people watching you? You should try it sometime! ” This confirmed in my mind my opinion that maybe Mike found training in front of everyone a bit off-putting, leading to a reduction in his performance. “The purpose of the pullover is to pre-fatigue the lats, then we move onto another exercise which uses our biceps as well. Because our biceps don’t get hit by the pullover they are still fresh and can help drive our lats to total exhaustion when we perform a compound exercise such as lat pull-downs after the pullovers. Of course, to get the maximum effect we should go from the pullover to the pull-down with no rest, but, as I am explaining all of this to you all, I am taking time out between sets to talk, and I cannot do that if I train as fast and intensely as usual.” As Mike explained the above he put on a pair of wrist straps then put the pin in three different spots in the weight stack of the pull-down unit and tested the resistance. The pull-down unit was not a Nautilus pull-down (it seemed odd that the gym had some of the Nautilus range but not all of them, but back when this seminar took place it was the only gym within sixty miles of my home that had any Nautilus machines, so we were thankful for what we did have). Satisfied with the weight selected, Mike strapped on to the bar using a curl-grip, his hands closer than shoulder-width, then asked two guys from the audience to help him pull it down. Mike locked his legs under the roller pad and carried on alone, once again using rapid reps, although he did briefly hold the bar at his chest on each rep. Mike squeezed out seven reps then straightened up and unstrapped himself from the pull-down bar. As he turned toward us a couple of guys indicated they wanted to ask a question. Mike nodded and the first guy said “why don’t you use a wide grip? Arnold says you have to do wide-grip chins for wide lats.” The second guy chimed in with “yeah, and he says you need to do enough sets to get at least fifty reps in per workout, or it wouldn’t be enough to build your lats! ” I found this a bit amusing, as Mike had huge lats despite not following Arnold’s approach. For a second I thought Mike was going to get angry with these guys, but instead he chuckled and looked at them for a few seconds with a look on his face that I could only describe as his ‘forgive them for they know not what they say’ expression, then he replied: “Let’s look at this logically – see where the origins and insertions of your lats are? They attach to your upper arm and around your hip area. Now put your grip out wide and the distance between these two points is less but with a narrow grip see how the distance is greater? And a longer range of motion trains the lats more completely, so using a wide grip to get wider is just nonsense! Oh, before I forget to mention it, you should use a palms-up grip the same as you would use for barbell curls, because this puts your biceps in their strongest position to help your lats in the pull-down. Chins and pull-downs with your palms facing away from you don’t make sense because your biceps are in a weaker position. You can prove this by trying reverse curls – you will find that with that grip you cannot curl as much as with your palms up.” Mike had moved to the pulley row as he was explaining the above and he strapped on to the V-bar after putting the pin in the hole on the stack that was marked as 300 pounds. He pulled back and sat down, did two reps then released the weight and asked for the pin to be put in the 260 pound hole, then got back in position and rapidly performed nine reps of close-grip rows, the bar hitting Mike’s abs with a loud thunk on each rep – it sounded like someone banging on a door! Mike got back on his feet and said “that’s a great exercise, I love doing it! Okay, that’s back finished, let’s do deltoids next! ” We followed Mike across the gym to the Nautilus lateral raise machine – this was not the original double-shoulder machine that also had an overhead press on it, instead this machine was for side raises only. Going off at a tangent for a minute, I had not mentioned it in my first Mentzer article but after seeing Mike for the first time the day before the seminar I had trained in the gym and tried Nautilus laterals for the first time. Wow! Dumbbell lateral raises don’t come close to the isolation you feel on the medial heads of your deltoids. As I reached failure I was surprised to see Mike appear and assist me with two forced reps, after which he said “that was a good strict set! Don’t forget one like that is enough. What else are you planning to do? ” I replied “I was going to do presses but I don’t think I could do much after this set – what would you suggest? ” Mike nodded and said “you don’t need presses at all. The front delts get plenty of work when you train chest so forget presses and just do side and rear laterals instead.” I took his advice and did not do any pressing, but Mike had obviously changed his opinion of presses at some point because I had seen photos of Mike in the magazines doing Universal machine presses and smith machine presses. Back to the seminar! Mike explained to the audience that presses were unnecessary and threw me a compliment, saying “this guy talked about that yesterday with me, and he understands Heavy Duty well because I watched him train and he did things correctly. When I have gone you could always ask him if you are not sure of anything.” I thanked Mike while feeling a bit embarrassed by such a resounding endorsement, but my ego was certainly nourished that day! Mike put the pin in the 100 pound hole on the stack then did a set consisting of ten reps, each lateral raise going up fast as Mike pushed up and out with his forearms, his hands staying relaxed, and holding at the top for a second on each rep. Then, for a change of pace, Mike asked for volunteers to try the machine and took two guys through a set each, then he turned to rear deltoid training for which he was forced to use dumbbells. Bent over parallel with the floor Mike performed lateral raises with a pair of thirty pounders, his arms slightly bent and his thumbs pointing down for nine fast reps. Mike dropped the dumbbells and said “that’s it for deltoids! I know it seems very brief to most of you, but remember that when you train chest, back or arms your deltoids are also working, so doing a lot of direct work would overtrain them. Okay, to finish today I am gonna do a set of biceps! ” Visions of Mike barbell curling 200 pounds and preacher curling 150 pounds in the magazines came to mind, and I was eager to see what he could curl that day so was a little disappointed when he sat on a bench and did dumbbell concentration curls instead. Starting with his left arm he put his elbow against his leg and held the sixty pound dumbbell with his little finger against the inside weight plate, the other end of the dumbbell slanting downwards. Mike explained this put his palm in the preferred supine position allowing fuller contraction of his biceps, and then he proceeded to grind out eight very hard reps. Switching to his right hand, Mike struggled even harder with his reps and spotted himself in a most unusual way. Instead of holding his wrist with his other hand to help the weight up Mike made a fist with his left hand and punched upwards against his right hand a couple of times on each rep, driving the weight up in a way that I had never seen before (or since) until he had completed seven reps. Mike got his breath back and explained that punching his hand up made each rep possible but ensured all the weight stayed on his working arm, whereas holding his wrist to spot himself could lead to the assisting hand doing too much of the work and reducing the intensity – a very definite no-no in Mike’s book! Now Mike invited questions, and it struck me that he had not done any direct trapezius or lower back exercises which he always advocated in the magazines. I must admit I did not make a note of all the questions asked, but here is a brief list of the answers I do remember: Mike was asked what it was like to work for Arthur Jones, to which he explained he no longer did work for him. He stated that Jones was a “true genius, and the only person I have ever met who really understands productive training, but he is impossible to work for. He is not only a genius; he is also a very unpleasant, arrogant know-it-all. Bodybuilding owes him a debt of gratitude for advancing training technology into the twentieth century, but even so there’s no way I could work for him again.” Read my first Mentzer article where I mention Ellington Darden’s book which has a chapter about Mike and Ray Mentzer’s time working for Jones. Darden explains what really happened and some of the unpleasant events later on when Mike cracked up. Mike was asked to demonstrate dips as he had said they were ‘the upper body squat’ in his opinion, and we followed him over to the dip station, which had two sets of bars for both narrow-grip and wide-grip dips. Mike turned to us and said “the wide bars are unnecessary, why are they here? ” The gym owner explained that Vince Gironda (pictured below) recommended narrow bar dips for triceps and wide grips for pecs, and they took his advice. Mike had an expression of contempt on his face as he said “Gironda is just a crazy old hippie who does not know what he’s talking about. Elbow position is the key on dips – elbows out and forward leaning hits your pecs, and elbows back and close to your sides with an upright torso hits your triceps, so you don’t need the wide bars.” This answer satisfied the audience but left me feeling uncomfortable because I had worked on dips done the Gironda way, and there was no doubt in my mind that Gironda was right. His wide grip dips carved a line under my pecs and made them look much wider in a way that no other exercise did, and the position of your head, feet and body shape came into it as well. The gym owner called for us to pay attention to him then said “Mike is going to get ready and pose for you now, and I want two volunteers to work the lights and music for him.” Mike went over to the cable crossovers and proceeded to perform five sets of fifteen reps with light weights, trying to pump up his pecs. Amazingly, he did not do any other body part pumping before he went in the back and changed. The lights were dimmed and a huge silhouette quietly padded over to the posing spot, then the music started and I recognised a part of ‘the ring’ by Wagner, a very dramatic classical piece. Dimly I could see Mike raise his arms up and out, and then the lights came on! Mike was not tanned and not contest-cut but what a sight! With his arms straight out at shoulder-level he looked incredibly wide, massive shoulders and lats tapering into a small waist held in a vacuum pose. Mike’s posing routine lasted three minutes and was not a fast fancy-moves type of routine but slow, each pose being held for several seconds. I recalled Bill Pearl describing Mike’s physique as “looking like he could walk through a brick wall- I’m not saying whether he really could or not, but he looked like he could! ” I agreed with Bill’s assessment as Mike looked like Hercules reincarnated in every pose, and I could easily understand why Arnold was frightened by Mike when they had words at the 1980 Mr. Olympia contest. The lights went out, Mike went back to change, and I listened to some of the comments made by the audience after the lights came back on. Most of the remarks revolved around the size of Mike’s arms, everybody seemed amazed by them, including me. Mike reappeared in a Heavy Duty sweatshirt and stood by the reception desk, taking more questions from the crowd who were now wired up after witnessing his posing routine. The subject came around to nutrition and Mike set about contradicting nearly every bodybuilding convention I knew at the time. During his talk he mentioned bagels as his favourite breakfast but none of us had heard of them at the time (food choices were much more limited thirty years ago compared to today in the UK). I would have loved another chat with Mike but my time was up, I had forty miles to drive to get home and needed to be fresh for work the next day. Mike nodded in my direction as I indicated it was time for me to go, then went back to his audience who were hanging on his every word. I hoped to see Mike again but when I visited the gym a week later he had gone. So there you have it – an eye-witness account of a seminar with the intellectual of the bodybuilding world – MIKE MENTZER. By Magnus * Please note: This article is copyrighted and may not be used on another website! Readers do have permission to share this article (greatly appreciated ) across social media by clicking the "share" button link. * * Listen to this great Interview by John Hansen where Author John Little remembers Mike Mentzer... * Radio Interviews with Mike Mentzer... For more great info on Mike Mentzer check out http://www.mikementzer.com/
  4. Classic photo of bodybuilding legend Bill Pearl (1930 - ). One of the best ever. His bodybuilding books can be purchased here. Bill turned 90 years old on 31 October 2020 and still looks healthy. His older brother Harold is also still alive and well.

    © Strength-Oldschool.com

  5. Arnold Schwarzenegger - Made In Britain Bodybuilding fans may not know that Arnold Schwarzenegger actually lived in the UK for a period of time, between 1966 to 1968. The 19 year old Austrian, spoke no English and slept on a sofa at the Muscle Mansion, a gym in Forest Gate, London, run by Wag Bennett (1930 - 2008). Many years earlier, Wag was known to be the first man in England to bench press 500 lbs. Wag's gym was originally situated in the house before he acquired the church hall next door and transformed the church into a world famous gym. The gym was located at 353 Romford Road, East 7, London, E7 8AA. Some impressive bodybuilders trained at Wags gym. Photo below: Note the spelling mistake for Reg Park's name. Photo below: A comparison of how Wag Bennet's Home / Gym used to look compared to a more recent photo. A young Arnold Schwarzenegger stands outside the home of Wag and Dianne Bennett. Photo by Derelict London. Photo Below: Arnold & Wag Bennett standing by the famous Lamp Post outside Wag's Home / Gym known as "Muscle Mansion". Photo below: Not sure what year the famous Silhouetted bodybuilders appeared on Wag Bennett's lamp post but it was a nice touch. I believe after Wag passed away in 2008 and the house and gym went up for sale, someone stole the top part of the lamp post! Photos of the famous Wag Bennett Church Gym (Source). Wag Bennett discovered Arnold back in 1966, during the NABBA Mr Universe contest where Arnold finished in second place with Chet Yorton winning (see photos below). Wag was a judge at that contest and felt that Arnold should have won, which pleased Arnold. As Wag and his wife Dianne were impressed with the young Schwarzenegger, they invited him to live with them and their six children in their flat above the Romford Road gym. Wag trained him while Dianne taught him English. Wag was also known to have trained other top bodybuilders now considered legends such as Reg Park, Robby Robinson and Lou Ferrigno. Photo below: Young Arnold in 1966 meeting his Idol Reg Park at Wags Gym. The 'W' on his vest stands for 'Wag'. Since the passing of Wag Bennett in 2008, Wags Home and Gym has slowly become derelict. Back in April, 2013, a fire broke out. These photos are from 2014... Not sure what Wag's home / gym looks like today but it's a shame it was left to rot like that. A number of years ago a British documentary called "Arnold Schwarzenegger - Made In Britain" was shown on tv which I thought was great. The only negative was that Jimmy Savile was Interviewed in the documentary. Savile was president of NABBA, and handed out awards to winners at the Mr Universe competition. I did upload an edited version and removed the parts which contained Jimmy Savile. So if you would rather watch that 'edited' version, watch the second video below. Documentary on Arnold Schwarzenegger called "Made In Britain" without Jimmy Savile If anyone wishes to share stories on Wag or Dianne Bennett, or maybe you trained at Wag's gym, then please consider posting below. ** Do NOT use this section to focus solely on Jimmy Savile!! This thread is not about him ** More info on Wag Bennett can be viewed here.
  6. My Favourite Routine for Building Massive Arms By Gene Mozee [Gene Mozee] In 1951, when I first began bodybuilding, I used to go to Muscle Beach in Santa Monica, California, every day during summer vacation and on weekends during the rest of the year. The superstars of that era – Steve Reeves, Armand Tanny, John Farbotnik, Marvin Eder, George Eiferman, Malcomb Brenner, Joe Sanceri, Clark Coffee, Ed Fury, Joe Gold and Zabo Koszewski, among others – were always there, and you could watch them train at the beach or at Vic Tanny’s famous gym, which was just a couple of blocks away. Today’s stars are practically unapproachable, but the atmosphere was totally different in those days. The champs and Muscle Beach regulars were accessible and easy to get to know. Once they understood that you were sincere and that you weren’t a flake who was wasting their time, they would freely give helpful training advice. My brother George and I got a lot of workout ideas and routines that way. There will never be another era like that in bodybuilding. From 1950 to 1980 I met almost every great bodybuilder in the world. I had the opportunity to interview them and discuss their training and nutrition secrets, and I even had the opportunity to train with several of those great superstars. It helped me to build 20 inch arms at a bodyweight of 220 pounds and bench press 455 lbs in strict form. In 1956, I bought the Pasadena Gym from John Farbotnik (photo above), who held the titles of Mr. America, Mr. World and Mr. Universe. That’s when I began to use all of the great training techniques and exercise routines that I learned from Reeves, Eiferman, Jack Delinger, Clancy Ross, Vince Gironda, Bill Pearl, Farbotnik, Sanceri and many others on my clients. We produced dozens of pro football players, track and field record holders, baseball and basketball stars and weightlifting, powerlifting and bodybuilding champions. One of the greatest physique athletes of the pre-steroid era was John McWilliams (Photo below). It’s believed that McWilliams and Bud Counts (Photo above) were the first bodybuilders to have arms that measured more than 20 inches cold. John was also one of the first men in the world to bench press 500 pounds. I met McWilliams at a powerlifting meet in San Diego. At that moment he was working as the training director of George and Beverly Crowie’s gym in the San Diego area. He had most of the top stars of the Chargers football team under his guidance, including All-Pros Jack Kemp, Keith Lincoln and Ron Mix. McWilliams (Photo above) was more than 40 years old at the time, and he trimmed down to a bodyweight of 186 pounds. Bill Pearl’s mentor, the immortal Leo Stern, measured John’s arm at 19 ¼ inches cold, his chest at 52 ½ inches and his waist at 31 inches. These are phenomenal numbers for someone who weighs 186 pounds, and he got them without steroids or the benefit of today’s nutritional supplements. John and I became friends, and he described one of his favorite routines for building more massive upper arms. Not only did I use this workout myself, but I put 37 members of my gym on it. The average gain was 1 ¼ inches in six weeks. The following program is designed for those who’ve been training steadily for at least six months. Beginners should stay with a much simpler routine consisting of basic exercises. Here’s how McWilliams described his arm training... Muscular arms are growing larger every year. They’re stretching the tape to dimensions thought impossible a few years ago, and the drive behind this extra size has been the development of more triceps specialization. The triceps forms the greatest bulk of the arm and gives that rich and massive look to the backs of the upper arms, especially when they’re relaxed. When they’re flexed, the triceps give them that dramatic horseshoe-shaped look of power. It’s no surprise that the best bench pressers all have huge triceps. I know that a few years ago the average bodybuilder concentrated too much on his biceps and assumed that if this muscle was big and bulging, that was all that mattered. Today’s outstanding bodybuilders have discovered, however, that you must work to build longer and larger triceps to give your upper arms that desired extra size and shape. I advise you to follow this procedure if you want to add extra inches of muscle to your arms. I’ve also found that if you want to get the ultimate arm development, you must learn to relax your arms. The special relaxing movement I use is to close my fists tightly, then suddenly let go completely. Practice this a few times before and while exercising, and don’t hesitate to stretch and yawn whenever you have the chance. These movements take only a few seconds, and they’ll help move stagnant blood and bring a fresh supply to tiring muscles, breathing new life to them. So relax those tense muscles. I’ve spent many years reading all the articles I could find on arm development, studying how champions exercise theirs. I’ve devised my own system that I’m passing on to you. A great many people have used it successfully, and I’ll be very happy if this system does as much for you as it has done for me. May your progress be speedy. John McWilliam's Arm Training Program McWilliam's arm routine uses a number of double-compound movements, which gives your muscles a unique blast. Use the following program three times a week with at least a day of rest between arm workouts. 1/ Pullovers and Presses: This is not only a good exercise for the chest and shoulders, but it’s terrific for the arms. I attribute 75% of my own arm development to this double-compound exercise. There are many variations of this that you can perform. In this routine it’s used as a warm-up and the first exercise, as follows. Lie on your back on a flat bench that’s at least 18 inches high. Grasp the barbell with your hands approximately 10 inches apart. Begin with the bar resting on your chest and then press the weight up about 12 inches. With your arms bent, continue by guiding the bar back, over your head and down as far as you can. When you reach the lowest point, pull hard and bring the weight back to the original position on your chest. Repeat for 12 reps, inhaling as you lower the weight and exhaling as you pull back to the starting position. Do this part of the movement slowly so you can feel the muscle pulling both ways. When you finish the 12 pullovers, without taking any rest, do 12 narrow-grip bench presses, exhaling as you press the weight to arm’s length and inhaling as you lower it back to your chest. Still taking no rest, perform six more pullovers and six more bench presses. This last round of the double-compound exercise really brings the blood to the target region, which gives you a massive pump that sticks around for the rest of the arm routine. Do two sets of this super movement, resting about 90 seconds between sets. The above training breaks down as follows... Giant set (All exercises performed one after the other = 1 set - Repeat 1 more time to complete 2 sets total) Barbell Pullovers - 2 sets of 12 reps Close-Grip Bench Presses - 2 sets of 12 reps Barbell pullovers - 2 sets of 6 reps Close-grip bench presses - 2 sets of 6 reps 2/ Two-Arm Curls and Triceps Presses: This double movement is one of the best exercises for the biceps. While standing erect, with your feet about 18 inches apart, hold a barbell with a medium, palms-up grip and slowly curl the weight from your thighs to your shoulders, tensing the biceps at the top. Lower the weight slowly to your thighs and repeat for 12 reps. Remember to stand stiff and let your biceps do all the work. When you finish the curls, go right into the triceps presses. Switch to an over-grip and press the barbell overhead, which positions your palms facing forward. Holding your elbows stationary throughout the movement, bend your arms, letting the weight travel down to the backs of your shoulders, and then push the weight back to arm’s length with triceps power alone. Inhale as you let the weight down, and exhale as you press it up. Perform 12 reps and then without taking any rest, grab two fairly light dumbbells and do 10 fast curls using good form, which means going all the way down without swinging the dumbbells. When you finish that, again without taking any rest, do 10 fast triceps presses with the dumbbells. Rest for 60 to 90 seconds and repeat this double-compound exercise for a total of three sets. The above training breaks down as follows... Giant set (All exercises performed one after the other = 1 set - Repeat 2 more times to complete 3 sets total) Barbell Curls - 3 sets of 12 reps Triceps Presses - 3 sets of 12 reps Dumbbell Curls - 3 sets of 10 reps Dumbbell Triceps Presses - 3 sets of 10 reps 3/ Lying Barbell Triceps Extensions: This is one of my favorite exercises for building triceps size. Lie on your back on a flat bench and start with the bar at arm’s length above your chest and keep your hands 10 inches apart. Keeping your elbows pointed toward the ceiling, lower the weight slowly behind your head. Inhale as you lower the barbell and exhale as you press back to the starting position. Repeat for three sets of 12 reps, resting for 45 to 60 seconds between sets. The above training breaks down as follows... Lying Barbell Triceps Extension - 3 sets of 12 reps 4/ Close-Grip Benches and Triceps Pumper (Kick-Backs): This is another superior size builder. Lie on a flat bench, and use a weight that you can sustain for three sets of at least 10 reps. Inhale on the way down and exhale on the way up, and rest about 60 seconds between sets. When you finish the third set, taking no rest, pick up a dumbbell with your right hand and bend forward at the waist, with your left hand holding onto a support. Do 20 kickbacks, then switch the weight to the other hand for 20 reps. Rest for 30 seconds and perform a second set for each arm. Well, there you have one of the best size-building programs for getting big arms fast. One modification that some of us at the Pasadena Gym used was to start with dumbbell concentration curls, performing four sets of 10, eight, six and 15 reps, while increasing the weight on the second and third sets and dropping it on the last: for example, using 40 pounds for 10 reps, 45 pounds for eight reps, 50 pounds for six reps and 30 pounds for 15 reps. We did this while taking no rest at all between sets. Only the more advanced guys who have been training for quite some time used this program, however. The above training breaks down as follows... Close-Grip Bench Press - 3 sets of 10 reps Dumbbell Tricep Kick-Backs - 2 sets of 20 reps John McWilliams put a strong emphasis on the big-three fundamentals of bodybuilding: Consistent hard training Proper nutrition, including supplements Sufficient rest, relaxation and growth promoting sleep The workout techniques that enabled McWilliams to become one of the pioneers of super-massive arm development are still valid today. His training secrets can help all those who use them build massive arms rapidly, enabling them to reach their goal of physical perfection much sooner. Why not try it – and watch your arms grow!
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