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  1. Bulk Training By Jack Delinger (1955) If you’re having difficulty gaining weight, don’t for one minute imagine you’re the only one with troubles. 80% of all bodybuilders go through the same trials and tribulations as you. Out of this vast number, a mere half-dozen will solve their problems through sheer luck. They’ll hit on the right combination of sets, reps, exercise and rest through the process of trial and error, and after many months of effort have gone by will eventually begin to put on the pounds. The rest will waste just as much time floundering around trying this or that routine without the remotest signs of success and will at last give up in despair and disgust. I’m going to show you a sure way to gain bulk and power and I’m also going to show you how the “hit-or-miss” trainer and the “bulk-gaining failure” could have succeeded. All they had to do was try and completely understand their individual gaining problems, for the simple reason that when every side of a problem is understood, a man almost automatically knows what to do to overcome it. Plenty of people will tell you that your physical type has an influence on the degree of bulk you can obtain, and this is mainly true. Obviously no man with the framework of a Tony Sansone can hope to build the bulk of a Doug Hepburn. But such an individual CAN get rid of his skinny appearance, and gain the right amount of muscular massiveness and proportionate appearance that his frame is able to carry. As for age preventing you from gaining bulk . . . I can’t go along with this theory either. Modern weight training has made it possible for anyone from 16 to 60 to gain weight. So long as a man enjoys good general health, no matter what his age or physical type, his body MUST and WILL respond. Failure to gain can be caused by many things, and it is always advisable for a lifter to examine his own case objectively. Is he getting proper food and enough of it? Has he any focal points of infection? Does he smoke heavily? Is he getting sufficient rest? Does he find himself constantly worrying over trifles that have yet to even occur? Any one of these factors can mean the difference between success and failure to gain. If you have bad teeth or tonsils, have them examined and treated. If you are a night owl, prone to missing sleep, start keeping regular hours. If you smoke heavily, cut down the number of cigarettes daily, or quit altogether. Perhaps the best thing a bodybuilder can do if he wants to gain bulk is to see that his meals are big and hearty. A nourishing diet is the only way to add weight to your frame. There is no escaping this fact, so determine now that you will fuel your efforts with the proper quantity of healthful food. You MUST eat three big meals daily and you MUST drink plenty of liquids . . . milk with your meals and milk or fruit and vegetable juices between meals. Your diet should be high in protein. All types of meat should be eaten, starch intake should be stepped up, a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables should be eaten in abundance. In addition to the above changes in your diet, you should make use of weight-gaining and protein drinks prepared in a blender. Close companion of the adequate diet is the exercise routine. It is useless for you to perform exercises which affect only local muscle groups. Increases in body weight come from OVERALL increases. Obviously you stand to gain more weight if EVERY muscle group in the body is worked than if you exercise say, only your back or your arms. Yet at the same time, such a weight gaining schedule must be planned with an eye to energy conservation. In other words the schedule must use as FEW exercises as possible yet affect as MANY muscle groups as possible. This is where cheating versions of compound exercises can be used. There’s one other factor to take into consideration that some may disagree with. Contrary to popular opinion that low reps build bulk, it is my personal experience that a system of working up to 15 repetitions is best for bulk building. This will create an appreciable appetite for food, and affect changes in metabolism that will lead directly to weight increases . . . through the more efficient utilization of the food eaten. Take my experience as an example. At the time I made my biggest bulk gains I did six sets of every movement using 15-20 reps. I gained 33 pounds in a 2½ month period. It seemed like each time I stepped on the scales I’d gained a couple of pounds! And let me again emphasize the high reps, which I used with all the weight I could handle in the various movements . . . AND I kept myself supplied with plenty of nutrient-rich foods. The very best time any man can begin a bulk training routine is right at the start of his lifting career. After he has gained all the bulk he wants he can then begin to specialize for proportion and muscularity. But bear in mind that a bulk program does not imply that you pile on mere flesh. Hard MUSCULAR BULK is what you MUST strive for. Don’t overdo the eating and think it will miraculously turn to muscle. Beyond a certain caloric level all you will gain is fat that will have to be lost at a later date. I have chosen some of the finest movements for building bulk and which form the basis of any bulk training program. In all five of these movements, start off with a poundage you can handle for 9 repetitions and work to 15, 3 sets each exercise. As soon as you can manage the 3 x 15 increase the weight and drop back to 3 sets of 9. 1/ Heavy Bench Press: Lie on an exercise bench with a barbell held at arms’ length above your chest, hand spacing about an inch from the collars. Lower the weight down with a slight bounce off the chest press it back to arms’ length. As the reps become increasingly tough, bridge up off the bench to press the bar to full lockout. FORCE out each and every repetition. Cheat all you have to and don’t be afraid to take several breaths between reps. Start off with the reps performed in fairly strict style and then bounce and bridge the barbell up to force out the repetitions. * Bench Press photo shows Pat Casey 2/ Heavy Cheat Barbell Curl: (What your best single curl performed in strict style? ) Well . . . take that weight to use as your EXERCISE poundage in cheat curls. Standing, use your normal curl grip, bend forward at the waist, then return swiftly to an upright position, starting your curl at the same time and bending back a little to complete the curl. The motion of the body should assist the curl to the shoulders. Lower the weight back to starting position as steadily as you can and repeat the exercise. This movement, especially the lowering, forces the biceps into growth. 3/ Cheat Bent-over Row: Grasp a barbell in your hands as you stand erect . . . your hand spacing should be a few inches wider than shoulder-width. Now bend forward at the waist until your body is level with the floor, forming right angles with your legs. Drop your body down a bit then pull swiftly up to just above parallel position, at the same time pulling the barbell up to the chest. The movement of the trunk and the pull up of the bar should be made together, so that body movement imparts motion to the barbell. Lower the weight steadily down from the chest and repeat the exercise. This is an all-round movement for the back. * Photo shows Doug Hepburn performing Cheat Bent Over Rows 4/ Squat: This movement has always been a mainstay of a weight gaining program since it works the largest muscle groups of the body. Take the weight off the squat racks, and spread your hands along the bar wide so the largest shoulder area supports the bar. Take three deep breaths, forcing the air in and forcing it out. On the third breath drop down into a deep squat and as soon as you hit rock bottom, bounce back up to the erect position, breathing out as you do so. Take another three deep breaths and repeat the exercise. Don’t forget to force that air into your lungs and force it out. * Doug Hepburn: 1950's at Ed Yaricks Gym in Oakland California 5/ Cheat Upright Row: Stand erect with a barbell held in your hands, fairly narrow grip, at full downward stretch of the arms. Lean the body forward a little at the waist and return it with a snap to upright position, at the same time pulling the bar up to the throat. The movement of your body and rowing motion should be made at the same time, so body motion helps with the pull up. Lower the bar down to commencing position steadily and repeat.
  2. 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!
  3. The Legendary Leroy Colbert Training Philosophy (1977) By Howard Alpert When the definitive history of bodybuilding is written, a significant section will be devoted to a man who 'rewrote' the rules of training and whose physical development still remains as a standard that other bodybuilders try to reach. In an era when a 16-inch arm was considered very good and an 18-inch one was something that trainees dreamed about, the fabulous Leroy Colbert smashed all barriers by developing a 21-inch muscular arm. Only a near-tragic accident (Motorcycle accident in 1955 ) prevented him from going on after winning the Mr. Eastern America title to become Mr. America and Mr. Universe. Leroy loved his motorcycles However, the unfortunate event had a silver lining. It gave Leroy some time to seriously think about his future. He knew that he wanted to find a career doing something that would help people live a healthier life. At first, Leroy thought about opening his own gym. Then he realized that he could reach many more people if he had a health food store. The idea of opening a traditional health food store was not in keeping with the Colbert desire to do things in a bigger and better way than they had been done before. Finally, Leroy decided to open a 'health department store'. Today, Leroy and his lovely wife Jacqueline own and operate the two World Health Centers in New York City. These are unique establishments that contain everything from protein supplements and vitamins to fresh organic vegetables, fish, eggs, and meats, all of which are delivered daily. In addition, each store contains a large selection of exercise equipment. Leroy Colbert and Wife Jacqueline When I discussed with Leroy the idea of doing an article about his training philosophy the concepts that helped him to develop one of the greatest physiques ever seen, he graciously said that he would be only too happy to provide this information for readers. If you could see the busy schedule Leroy maintains during a typical day, you would get a better understanding of how difficult it was for him to set aside time for an interview. You would also get a clearer realization that he is so dedicated to helping others that he did provide the time even though it meant extending his working day well into the night. Leroy Colbert at 15 Years Old Before Leroy stated his training ideas, he wanted to be sure that I set down his views on using steroids. You know me long enough to know that I rarely get angry. But when guys come in here and tell me that the only way they can build a good physique is by using steroids, I want to grab them by their necks and shake some sense into their heads. How can anyone be so foolish as to play Russian roulette with his health? Fortunately, I have been able to convince a considerable number of fellows that steroids aren't necessary by showing them photos of the guys that were my contemporaries when I was competing. How many bodybuilders today can equal the development of Jack Delinger, George Eiferman, Marvin Eder, Reg Park, and, if you want to talk about the defined and vascular physique that is in vogue today, which of the present day stars would like to compete against Roy Hilligenn or Bob Hinds when they were at their peak? Oh yes, there were also a couple of fellows named Bruce Randall (photo below ) and Enrico Thomas who would have given today's competitors a few nervous moments. All of these guys and many, many more built their bodies to exceptionally high levels of development, and they did it the way we did it at that time - through consistently hard training. And we didn't have the information that the guys today have. Nor did we have the different types of supplements - liquid, predigested, even without any carbohydrates. All we knew was that if you wanted to gain weight and size, you trained like the devil and ate everything in sight. When you wanted to cut down, you trained like the devil and ate less. If we had the facts on nutrition that are common knowledge today, we probably could have gotten results in half the time. No, I repeat that the most foolish thing a bodybuilder can do is to take a chemical substance into his body, a substance whose side-effects are potentially so dangerous and that was never intended to be used by healthy people. With that off my chest, let me say a few things about training. When I started to train, the 'rule' was that you never did more than three sets for a bodypart. I wanted a body so badly that after using the three-sets idea for a while, I just decided I had to try something else. As I recall, Marvin Eder (Photo below) decided one day that we would do 10 sets of each exercise we were using instead of the usual three. Then we swore that we would meet again early the next morning to see if we were both still alive. When we felt the difference from training that way and found out that we both lived through it, I threw the 'rule book' out the window and started to grow as I never had been able to do up until that time. From that workout on, I decided to use my head. I used many types of routines until I found the ones that worked best for me. What I found was that 10 sets was the minimum I could use for my 'easy-growing' parts. Usually I did 15 sets for most parts and sometimes went as high as 20 sets a workout for those parts that were really stubborn. I found that working with very heavy weights that forced you to do the exercises slowly was not as effective as working with a weight in a continuously moving manner until you completed the set. I don't mean working so fast that you use sloppy form, but I mean that you don't actually pause at the top or bottom of a repetition but just keep moving the weight in a controlled, steady way. Notice that I said "controlled." I believe that you can't fully control a weight that is so heavy that you can barely do your reps with it. I get much better results by using a weight that makes you work but not one that you have to 'kill' yourself with to get through the exercise. I mentioned before that I usually did a certain amount of sets for a particular area. Actually what I did was to go more by the feel of the muscle and the pump I was getting. If I found that I was beginning to lose the pump in an area I was working, I would stop exercising it even if I hadn't completed the number of sets I planned to do. I found that any sets that weren't increasing the pump were a waste and perhaps were even overtraining the muscle. On average, though, I usually did about 15 sets for most areas. I used to change my workout around every two or three months. I found that if I tried to stay on exactly the same program month after month, I would go stale. Sometimes I would change several of the exercises. Other times I would just rearrange the order of the exercises. For example, if I was doing chins, pulldowns and rowing for my back, I might change my routine by beginning with rowing and finishing with chins. Sometimes I might switch to dumbbell rowing, bent-arm pullovers, and close-grip chins. There is an endless variety of changes that can be made. I found that each new program was a new challenge. 70 lbs Dumbbell Curls with Tom Sansone When I did exercises like squats, bench presses, or deadlifts, exercises for which you would use sizable poundages, I would begin with about 2/3 of the weight I could handle on my heaviest set. I would work up to sets of 8 reps until I hit my top set of 8. This would take about four sets. Then I would drop back for two finishing sets of 8. For exercises that didn't require heavy poundages, I would generally stay with one weight for all my sets. I always kept the repetitions on my exercises between 8 and 10. I think that it is important to maintain a fast pace throughout the workout. I always began my next set as soon as my breathing returned near normal. I found that the more work I could do in a given period of time, the better I would respond. I think that if I had only one thought that I wanted readers to remember, it would be that consistency in training is the thing that separates the best from the ordinary. Train heavier on the days that you feel strong and lighter on those days that you really don't feel great, but don't miss a workout. Every champ I trained with rarely missed a workout. I don't mean that you should train if you are really sick, though we did because we wanted to build our bodies with such a deep intensity that we wouldn't even let illness stand in our way. Just don't let laziness cause you to miss a workout. Cut your poundages in half just to get into a workout on a real 'down' day. Very often by the time the workout is over, you will find it has been one of your better sessions. With these concluding comments, Leroy said that he had to get back to work. Time had passed so quickly that the bright sunshine had been replaced by darkness. Judging by the pile of papers on Leroy's desk, I knew that he would be having a very late supper that night. But as we shook hands, he smiled and thanked me for giving him the opportunity to convey his thoughts to readers. I might add, and the photographs that accompany this article will substantiate it, that although Leroy expressed many of his ideas in the past tense he is still training regularly and is in excellent condition. Leroy Colbert is one of the greatest champions the bodybuilding world has produced. His achievements and philosophy will remain as a permanent legacy to inspire the bodybuilders of today and of the future. MORE PHOTOS... RIP Leroy (1933 - 2015). A lot of personal content by Leroy on training etc is on Youtube. You can also check out Leroy's website! If anyone has information or stories on Leroy please share below in the comments section.
  4. Clancy Ross - Oakland Once had the Biggest Shoulders in America By Dave Newhouse | Bay Area News Group Originally published: April 21, 2008 / Source Edited by: Strength Oldschool Clarence Ross, also known as Clancy Ross was a bodybuilder from the United States. Ross was born in Oakland, California on October 26, 1923. He passed away on April 30, 2008. IF YOU HAVEN’T learned by now that Oakland is a city of big shoulders, then you aren’t aware Oaktown once had the biggest shoulders in America. It’s forgotten history, but Oakland was the bodybuilding capital of the country a half-century ago, with its very own “Muscle Beach,” if there’s any sand to be found around Lake Merritt. From 1945 to 1951, residents of Oakland and Alameda — who all trained in Oakland — claimed the amateur and/or professional Mr. America body-building title five times in seven years. The names of these Oakland musclemen are unfamiliar to today’s generation, except for possibly Hollywood film hero Steve “Hercules” Reeves (Pictured below with three other Mr America winners). Jack LaLanne (1914 - 2011) (Pictured below) pumped iron in Oakland during the same era, but this future fitness guru wasn’t ever crowned Mr. America. Norman Marks, who still owns an Oakland exercise gym, was a Mr. America runner-up in 1946 and 47. Other local recipients of this prestigious body-beautiful honor: Jack Delinger of Oakland, Jimmie Payne of Alameda, Roy Hilligenn, a South African immigrant who was living in Oakland, and Clancy Ross of Oakland. Ross, now 84, was the first Mr. America of this group in 1945 when he was an amateur. He then was named the professional Mr. America in 1946. “It was a beehive of physical activity,” Ross, now a Concord resident, said of Oakland’s long-ago image as a bodybuilding mecca. “I don’t know why. It just blossomed.” Two Oakland strong boys, Reeves and Delinger, rose to the summit of physical sculpturing as Mr. Universe. Ross was named Mr. USA in 1949 and Mr. World in 1953 in other competitions. (From left to right): Jack Delinger - Art Jones - Steve Reeves - Ed Yarick “I don’t think the public was very interested in it,” Ross said last Thursday of his individual honors. “Not too many people were knowledgeable about it.” This was prior to television’s interest in bodybuilding, which grew with the arrival of “The Austrian Oak,” Arnold Schwarzenegger. The future California governor later admitted using steroids in his quest to become Mr. Universe. Steroids weren’t available when Ross flexed, posed and preened, but he isn’t contemptuous of bodybuilders who were on the “juice.” “Anything they can do to increase their body performance or proportions is fine with me,” he said. “Steroids hasn’t killed off any of the top bodybuilders. I don’t look at it as anything terrible.” Ross noted that steroids were offered to him after he stopped competing, but he refused to use them. He pointed out that bodybuilding didn’t make him wealthy. Owning health clubs in Alameda and Walnut Creek brought him a comfortable living. Clarence “Clancy” Ross, his two brothers and one sister were given up as children in Alameda by their parents. Clancy spent his youth in foster homes and orphanages. His three siblings have died. Bodybuilding gave him something to be proud of, but making the ultimate commitment brought as much sacrifice as dedication. “It’s time, effort and work, lifting all these weights day in and day out,” he recalled. “And watching your diet, and living a healthy life for many years.” He became a champion, but he’s paying for it now. He’s had two knee replacements, three new hips including a second replacement, and a severely damaged back. He uses a cane to get around these days. So would he make that same sacrifice again 60 years later? “I sure would,” he said. “I would train a little differently. I wouldn’t lift so heavy.” (Photo below): Clarence Ross and Leo Stern. Photo taken around 1945? But he still works out spiritedly five days a week, one hour a day, on the sparse exercise equipment available at the Heritage, a Concord apartment complex where Ross lives that is open to residents 55 years and older. He also keeps a few weights in his apartment. He asks that if anybody has some equipment to donate — pulleys, rowing machine, barbells, dumbbells — to call The Heritage at 925-687-1200. Ross is the only Mr. America living there, by the way. “It was a great accomplishment on my part in the sense that it was a personal thing,” he said. “I had no desire to be a Mr. America, or whatever else came along in my life, but I had a lot of fun doing what I did. If you do it sensibly, and you do it right, it’s a good way to go. I plan on going for a lot more years.” NOTE: Clarence Ross unfortunately would pass away nine days later after the above article by Dave Newhouse was published. RIP Clancy Ross (1923 - 2008) If anyone wishes to share stories on bodybuilding legend, Clancy Ross, regarding his training or life, please comment below. Thank you.
  5. Small Hands can be Powerful (1957) By Jack Delinger (1926 - 1992) Some of the strongest men have small hands; many thin men have large hands. When you shake hands with a fellow you often become conscious of his grip or the size of his hand. Some will give you that “death-grip” which I, myself, have many times experienced; whereas others merely hand you their limp fingers which feel like a cold mackerel. And yet, there are a few fellows who are so self-conscious of their strength that they want to impress everyone with their tremendous grip whenever they greet you. The late Ernest Edwin Coffin (1898 - 1954), who was a powerful and deliberate hand-squeezer, caused many temporary disfigurations on the top of my own right hand so that it engendered reluctance to offer a handshake to him at greeting. He always delighted in giving me the pressure comparable to a vice. But this, this was a cultivated pseudo exuberance because he used not to be that way. It seems that it all came about during one of our conversations regarding the great Eugen Sandow (1867 - 1925). Ernest was always an ardent Sandow admirer who eventually proclaimed himself to the “the world’s foremost authority” on this oldtime strongman. Mind you, prior to our particular conversation, Ernst Coffin was a gentle soul whose handshake was also gentle. On this special occasion, however, I chanced to reveal the power that Sandow had with his hands, and so, from that day hence Coffin’s whole world changed and he began to feel as though he was a reincarnation of Eugen Sandow (pictured below). He then proceeded to take out his complex on me via that previously mentioned “death grip.” Coffin had very strong thick hands, yet they were not large in size. One time during World War II (1939 - 1945), I chanced to visit a home where I met a lad who was about to go overseas. I particularly noticed his extra large hands. This fellow was about my own height, five feet ten inches, and he appeared to weigh around 175 pounds. He was not what you would term “athletic in appearance,” but he did have a pair of hands that reminded me of the hind paws of a huge grizzly bear. The palms of his hands seemed to be at least five inches across and their thick square width extended from the fingers to the wrist. This, of course, was evidently hereditary. I mention this case as a contrast to another – Paul Anderson (1932 - 1994) (Photo below). When Paul Anderson was in Hollywood not so long ago, he and his brother-in-law Julius Johnson and myself dined together. I then particularly observed the smallness of Paul’s hands. They were thick, yes, but much smaller than one would expect when considering his huge size of body and mentally uniting with his colossal power. One would immediately imagine that the world’s champion heavyweight Olympic lifter would possess large and extremely bulky hands, yet he doesn’t. Paul’s hands are actually below average size for one his height, but they are mighty thick. Anyway, it adds much mystery concerning gripping power! I once had a strange experience with mighty Mac Batchelor (1910 - 1986) (Photo above). Mac, at his 325-lb. bodyweight, and his hands, supplied me with what I thought was a great idea. I planned to have his hands photographed, for Mac was then the world’s champion wrist wrestler besides being a lifter of tremendous poundages. Consequently, I induced big Mac to go with me to a studio. I schemed to have Mac’s hands photographed beside my own hands so that I could publish the comparison between their sizes. I surely thought that Mac’s hands would dwarf my own in the picture. The photos were taken and I awaited their processing with keen anticipation, but I met with a horrible disappointment. My own hands, which are of normal size as I would consider them, appeared in the picture to be a little larger than did Mac’s hands. Hence I have never released this photograph. In fact, I think I destroyed it, together with the idea I had at the time. And, when analyzing hands such as one might expect to be attached to mighty Mac Batchelor’s body, there would be visionary hugeness. Of course, Mac’s hands (Photo below) are very dense in the palms and his fingers are also of proportionate thickness, yet his hands are very deceptive to the eyes that look for initial power. On numerous occasions I have shaken the hand of Eugen Sandow (Photo above) during the bygone years when I associated with him in London, England. His hands were very thick but not large. When I grasped his right hand in greeting I felt conscious of holding bulk and density but without a feeling of size. Sandow, as you may remember, could chin with any finger of either hand, and he also used to amuse friends in restaurants by rolling spoons. He would start at the end of the handle and then roll it so that when it reached the concave section the rolled part fit right in the bowl of the spoon itself. Too, he lifted enormous weights, juggled with 56-lb. kettlebells, turned somersaults with a pair of 50-lb. dumbbells, as well as tore small sections from packs of playing cards with finger strength alone. I mention these few items as they link with his small thick hands. Sandow’s hands were about the same in size as the hands of George Jowett (1891 - 1969) (Photo below). Jowett really has unusually thick hands, yet not large ones. But when you grasp one in a handshake you really feel beef. You immediately notice the large contraction of muscle that lumps out between his little finger and wrist, as this thick muscular section causes you to wrap your fingers around it with unconscious admiration. And Jowett’s fingers are short, but what a grip he has, even today. Years ago he used to bend horseshoes and handle extra heavy weights of all shapes and sizes. One time I saw him lift a blacksmith’s anvil that weighed 137 lbs. He did this by tensely grasping the “neck” of the anvil and then swinging it to his shoulder, then pressed it (in a balance) to overhead position. That feat surely took hand power as well as strength of many other muscles. Around that time there was another professional strongman whose grip was outstanding and who could perform some incredible feats. This was Warren Lincoln Travis (1876 - 1941) (Pictured below). I used to associate a lot with Travis. In fact both of us once worked in the same show. He then had a dumbbell that weighed only 110-lbs. but which had a handle about eight or ten inches long and about four to five inches in diameter. Travis always had a $1,000 bill which he would take from a small pocket of his leotard and flaunt it to his audiences with the offer to give it to anyone who could lift his 110-lb. dumbbell with one hand to overhead position as he did. He would then bend forward, grasp the bell, sweep it to his shoulder and press it aloft. Now, I was quite strong in those days but I could never get the damn bell off the floor. Some mighty powerful fellows tried it at times, only to fail. It seemed that the circumference of this dumbbell was too much for any hand to obtain a grip on and, therefore, it simply slipped away from any other attempt save Travis’s own. Trick? I suppose so, for Travis was a master showman, but who am I to reveal a suspected secret? Anyway, Travis had very small hands that were smooth, yet very thick, with stubby fingers. It adds more mystery to the question: whence comes hand power? NOTE: Travis is credited with a one-finger lift of 667 pounds. My old friend Kenneth Terrell (1904 - 1966) (Photo above), who has been actively playing in motion pictures for the past twenty years or so, at one time possessed one of the finest physiques in America. He was quite a good lifter, too! He could clean & jerk 285 pounds, which was not so bad for his 185-pound bodyweight. He used to do a hand-to-hand balancing act in vaudeville with a fairly heavy partner. So much for highlights of his background. Terrell’s fingers are very long and somewhat bony, yet he used to have power-plus in them, but he does not own a muscular looking hand. Thus it proves that strength remains a hidden thing which cannot be discovered by appearances of one particular body section. The largest hand I ever shook belongs to Primo Carnera (1906 - 1967) (Pictured above), the former heavyweight boxing champ and now a wrestler. Carnera, as you know, stands 6 ft. 5 in. and tips the scales around 265 lbs. When I first shook hands with him I immediately felt as though I had hold of a ham, or else was lost somewhere amid a fearsome invisible power, although Primo gave me a courteous grasp and one without any pressure, as a gentleman would shake hands. But never in my life have I ever grasped such a huge mitt! It's thickness was most unusual and seemed to be at least three inches through the middle. His whole hand, including the fingers, encircled my own as would both hands of Joe Weider (1919 - 2013) put together, and the hands of Uncle Joe are a trifle large. Anyway, when considering Carnera’s extra large hands, they seem to correspond with his size and also his natural power, for he is strong even though not a weightlifter. His hands become unforgettable and smother the smaller sizes of our best lifters’ hands. Doug Hepburn (1926 - 2000) (Photo below) is another man who does not possess large hands. His are slightly bigger than Anderson’s, Jowett’s or Sandow’s, yet far smaller than one might expect before feeling his encircling digits in greeting. I must confess that I have not been as observant as I might have been during my handshakes with bodybuilders whom I greet at physique contests, but after writing this perhaps I shall give their hands more attention. The only drawback to this is that I am afraid that one or two of them might feel inwardly strong and proceed to give me that bone-crusher grip and supply further bruise marks atop my hand. Perhaps I shall hand them that dead fish handshake and play safe. Anyway, it must remain conclusive that hand size is not a criterion of power, unless one or two chance to be exceptions in a crowd and possess extra large hands through inheritance. It is anatomically impossible to enlarge the actual hand size. You can increase its thickness by continuously gripping heavy and/or awkward objects but you cannot lengthen the fingers nor enlarge the palm except in density. A small palm can possess as much strength in it as would a large palm, and long, thin fingers can also have as goodly power as short, stubby digits. It all depends upon the kind of work you give your hands. Strength will always remain unseen, uncalculated and unknown until it is displayed. NOTE: Check out the hand size of Arm Wrestler Jeff Dabe.
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