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About Me

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  1. * The following training system and information is from the book "Strongman: The Doug Hepburn Story" by Tom Thurston. Edited by: Strength Oldschool This chapter contains all the information that you will need to make yourself as strong as you wish to become. The product of over sixty years of study, experimentation and training, it is easy to understand and employ, works equally well for either sex and produces regular and continuous gains that are precise enough to last months, possibly years, into the future. Since there are no tricks or drugs involved, the strength that results is real and will last well into later life. The first step is to decide how many times a week you will be able to train. For best results, the minimum is two times and the maximum is six times per week. Less than twice will not allow the body enough exertion to realize its potential in either size or power; more than six will not give the body enough time fully to recuperate between workouts - especially if the workouts are rigorous. The second step is to choose the exercises that you feel will most efficiently work the muscle groups that you wish to strengthen, and to organize these routines into a weekly schedule that never exceeds more than three exercises per workout, never work the same muscle group more than three times per week, and if you are working out more than three times a week, never include upper and lower body exercises in the same workout. Failure to follow these rules can over-tax the body within a few months, or even weeks, into your training. If you desire a total body workout but can train only two or three times a week, you should choose the three exercises that will most effectively work the three largest muscle groups. My experience has shown these exercises to be the full squat for the legs, the bench press for the chest and the deadlift for the back. For example: TRAINING 2 TIMES A WEEK (Tuesday + Thursday) Bench Press Squat Deadlift TRAINING 3 TIMES A WEEK (Monday + Friday) Bench Press Squat Deadlift (Wednesday) Olympic Press Squat High Pulls If you desire a total body workout and can train four to six times a week, you should choose six exercises. Three are those mentioned above. The other three should target muscle groups that complement the first three. For best results, I would suggest arm biceps curls (pictured below) for the front of the arm, since the bench press thoroughly strengthens the back of the arm; leg biceps curls for the back of the leg; high pulls for the upper back, since deadlifts thoroughly strengthen the lower back. TRAINING 4 TIMES A WEEK (Monday) Bench Press Deadlift Arm Biceps Curls (Tuesday) Squat Leg Biceps Curls Calf Raises (Thursday) Bench Press High Pulls Arm Biceps Curls (Friday) Squat Leg Biceps Curls Calf Raises TRAINING 6 TIMES A WEEK (Monday) Bench Press Deadlift Arm Biceps Curls (Tuesday) Squat Leg Biceps Curls Calf Raises (Wednesday) Olympic Press High Pulls Arm Biceps Curls (Thursday) Squat Leg Biceps Curls Calf Raises (Friday) Bench Press Deadlift Arm Biceps Curls (Saturday) Squat Leg Biceps Curls Calf Raises With the 3, 4 and 6 times a week schedules, you will notice that on some training days the bench press and the deadlift have been replaced with the Olympic press and high pulls (pictured below). This is because they work more or less the same muscles as the bench press and the deadlift, but are not quite as taxing. If you prefer to employ the more strenuous bench press and the deadlift in place of the Olympic press and high pulls (respectively) this will be fine. Just be aware that in doing so, because you are working each muscle group three times a week, you increase your chances of encountering muscle stagnation. Conversely, if you adhere strictly to the aforementioned training rule of never exerting your maximum lifting ability during training, muscle stagnation should not become a problem. If you want to strengthen a specific muscle or muscle group rather than the body as a whole, feel free to employ any exercises that fulfill the requirement. Take care, however, that you give equal attention to opposing muscle groups. Failure to do so can throw the body out of muscular balance and, as a consequence, make it more susceptible to injury. Two common failures are doing bench presses without doing opposing rowing or high pulls; doing arm biceps curls without opposing arm triceps extensions. Once you have organised your exercises into a workable schedule, your final step is to choose an appropriate training program for each exercise. While scheduling establishes what you want to do, programming outlines how you will do it, by giving precise starting poundages, poundage increases and repetition increases for each exercise. For the purpose of developing maximum size and power in the shortest time possible, my "A" and "B" programs have yet to be beaten. DOUG HEPBURN'S "A" TRAINING PROGRAM FOR SIZE & POWER The "A" program, although the less rigorous of the two, has been designed to increase the lifting capacity of any large muscle group (pectoral or thigh, for example) 120 pounds per year and any small muscle group (biceps or triceps, for example) 60 pounds per year. It is composed of two routines: a POWER routine for developing maximum strength in the muscles, tendons and ligaments, and a PUMP routine for developing maximum muscle size and endurance. The power routine is always completed first. To begin the "A" power routine, pick a poundage/weight that you can lift eight times in a row without resting (eight continuous repetitions) but not nine. For your first workout, perform eight sets of two repetitions with this weight, which is written in weightlifting shorthand as: 8 x 2. A set is one group of continuous repetitions (in this case, one group of two) and you always take a two to three minute rest after each set. For your second workout, add one repetition to what you did in your first workout to get seven sets of two repetitions plus one set of three repetitions, or 7 x 2 and 1 x 3. For your third workout do 6 x 2 and 2 x 3 and keep increasing repetitions in this manner until you can do eight sets of three repetitions, or 8 x 3. At this point, increase your training poundage no more than ten pounds for large muscle groups and five pounds for small muscle groups and return to the 8 x 2 formula. So your workouts should look like this... First Workout: 8 sets of 2 reps Second Workout: 7 sets of 2 reps and 1 set of 3 reps Third Workout: 6 sets of 2 reps and 2 sets of 3 reps Fourth Workout: 5 sets of 2 reps and 3 sets of 3 reps Fifth Workout: 4 sets of 2 reps and 4 sets of 3 reps Sixth Workout: 3 sets of 2 reps and 5 sets of 3 reps Seventh Workout: 2 sets of 2 reps and 6 sets of 3 reps Eighth Workout: 1 set of 2 reps and 7 sets of 3 reps Ninth Workout: 8 sets of 3 reps Once the above-noted power routine has been completed, take a five minute rest and begin your "A" Pump routine. Reduce your training poundages by about twenty percent and, for your first workout, do three sets of six repetitions, or 3 x 6. For your second workout, do 2 x 6 and 1 x 7 and keep adding repetitions in this manner until you can do 3 x 8. At this point, increase your exercising poundage five to ten pounds (less if you feel the need) and return to the 3 x 6 format. So your workouts should look like this... First Workout: 3 sets of 6 reps Second Workout: 2 sets of 6 reps and 1 set of 7 reps Third Workout: 1 set of 6 reps and 2 sets of 7 reps Fourth Workout: 3 sets of 7 reps Fifth Workout: 2 sets of 7 reps and 1 set of 8 reps Sixth Workout: 1 set of 7 reps and 2 sets of 8 reps Seventh Workout: 3 sets of 8 reps DOUG HEPBURN'S "B" TRAINING PROGRAM FOR ULTIMATE SIZE & POWER Once you have employed the above-noted "A" program for at least one full year and wish to embark on a more rigorous training schedule, the "B" program is the ultimate for developing both power and size. Like the "A" program, it is composed of both a power routine and a pump routine - with the power always performed first. It differs from the "A" program in that it incorporates "heavy singles," where the athlete lifts a weight only once before resting. The advantage of this procedure is that it allows you to employ the heaviest poundages possible during your workout, thereby allowing you the fastest strength gains. Be aware, however, that because the poundages used are considerably heavier than those in the "A" routine, there is more danger of injury or overtaxing. To begin the "B" Power routine, choose a warm-up poundage that you can easily lift once. Take a three to five minute rest and increase the poundage to a weight that you can comfortably lift once. After a three to five minute rest, increase your poundage to a weight that you can do for three continuous repetitions but not four, and this will be your training poundage. For your first workout, do five sets of one repetition, or 5 x 1, making sure to take a three to five minute rest after each heavy single. For your second workout, do 6 x 1 and keep adding one repetition per workout until you can do 8 x 1. At this point, increase your training poundage by five to ten pounds (less if you feel the need) and return to the 5 x 1 format. So your 'Power' routine should look like this... First Workout: 5 sets of 1 rep Second Workout: 6 sets of 1 rep Third Workout: 7 sets of 1 rep Fourth Workout: 8 sets of 1 rep After completing the power routine, take a ten to fifteen minute rest and do the "B" Pump routine. Decreasing your training poundage to a weight that you can comfortably lift for eight but not nine consecutive repetitions, perform six sets of three repetitions, or 6 x 3. For your second workout, do 5 x 3 and 1 x 4 and keep adding repetitions in this manner until you can do 6 x 5. At this point, increase your training poundage by five to ten pounds (less if you feel the need) and go back to 6 x 3. So your 'Pump' routine should look like this... First Workout: 6 sets of 3 reps Second Workout: 5 sets of 3 reps and 1 set of 4 reps Third Workout: 4 sets of 3 reps and 2 sets of 4 reps Fourth Workout: 3 sets of 3 reps and 3 sets of 4 reps Fifth Workout: 2 sets of 3 reps and 4 sets of 4 reps Sixth Workout: 1 set of 3 reps and 5 sets of 4 reps Seventh Workout: 6 sets of 4 reps Eighth Workout: 5 sets of 4 reps and 1 set of 5 reps Ninth Workout: 4 sets of 4 reps and 2 sets of 5 reps Tenth Workout: 3 sets of 4 reps and 3 sets of 5 reps Eleventh Workout: 2 sets of 4 reps and 4 sets of 5 reps Twelfth Workout: 1 set of 4 reps and 5 sets of 5 reps Thirteenth Workout: 6 sets of 5 reps Since the number of workout days in the 'Power' routines are different from the number of days in the 'Pump' routines ( 9 workout days in the "A" power routine compared to 7 workout days in the "A" pump routine; 4 workout days in the "B" power routine compared with 13 workout days in the "B" pump routine. It is extremely important that, when you reach the end of either a power or pump routine in either program and are directed by that routine to return to its beginning sets and repetitions, you do not automatically return to the beginning of its corresponding routine at the same time. Each routine must be completed as written, or you will overtax your body by increasing your repetitions and training poundages too quickly. Follow the directions of each routine separately and the programs will take care of themselves. To obtain maximum benefit from these two programs, adhere to the following rules: always keep as relaxed and at peace with yourself as you can; always follow a power routine with its indicated pump routine; never miss a workout, repetition increase or poundage increase; never attempt to accelerate your progress by taking drugs or altering the program. Above all, never "over-train". In other words, never push your body faster than it can physically withstand. This is probably the main reason why lifters fail (notice that I said lifters and not programs) and most lifters are guilty of it at least once in their lives. Sadly, many lifters over-train on a regular basis, but remain unaware that they are doing it. Look at it this way: when a lifter arbitrarily decides to increase his or her training weight ten pounds a week, he or she is really saying 520 pounds a year or 1,040 pounds in two years - a completely unrealistic and unattainable goal. Unable to keep up with such a rigorous schedule, the body will quickly "stagnate" - a weightlifting term that means become unable to lift past a certain poundage due to muscle fatigue. Although all programs will probably result in stagnation if followed long enough, it has been my experience that faithfully following the two rules about repetition and poundage given above will produce constant and predictable gains for at least one year - quite probably two to three. What's more, you will never feel that you're struggling. As friend, protege and twice Canadian weightlifting champion Paul Bjarnason explains it: Should muscle stagnation occur, there is a simple cure. Eliminate the "Power Routine" for two to three weeks and continue the "Pump Routine". If the problem persists, drop the power routine for another two weeks. If the problem is still present and you are adhering to the "no more than one repetition increase per workout " rule, then your training poundage needs to be reduced. You have either started with too heavy a weight or are adding weight too quickly. For best results, a good rule is "never expend your full lifting capability while working out." Occasionally, you can load up your barbell or dumbbell for a maximum lift to gauge your progress. But do this no more than twice a month - and only after your regular workout, followed by a fifteen to twenty minute rest. If a five to ten pound resistance increase becomes too much for your body to handle during any of the aforementioned programs or routines, feel free to reduce the amount of your increases to whatever you feel comfortable with. Since every person gains strength at a slightly different rate - depending on a variety of hereditary factors - it is just a matter of finding what works best for you. Also, be aware that when a person begins a strength program, he or she will usually gain fairly quickly because the muscles will be relatively fresh and quick to respond to the stimulation. As the program continues, however, progress will usually slow as the body begins to feel the effects of the extra work you are putting on it, and you might need to reduce slightly your rate of increase to compensate. Listen to your body as you exercise and you will know exactly when and how much. As long as you regularly increase your training poundages to some degree, your strength will increase in direct proportion. In this case, "slowly but surely" is the only rule to follow. Another common reason why athletes fail in their strength aspirations is because they embark on a program that they do not have the time to maintain. Outside obligations and distractions invariably get in the way until the athlete either skips workouts (thereby destroying the program's long term effectiveness) or quits altogether. It is imperative, therefore, that you examine thoroughly your social obligations before you schedule your training. Better a moderately rigorous schedule that you can stick to, than a super-rigorous schedule that you can't. This is particularly relevant if you plan to compete, because every pound that you are unable to lift due to irregular training is one more opportunity that you give your opponents to beat you. Once you have a specific goal firmly fixed in your mind, whether it is a future meet that you wish to win or a certain amount of weight that you wish to lift by a certain date, spend time meditating on it while you perform your workouts. The more you can visualize yourself succeeding at your goals, the more likely you will be to succeed for real when the opportunity arises. Seven-time World Weightlifting Champion John Davis of the United States (pictured above) once confided to me that he never attempted a lift - either in training or in competition - that he wasn't absolutely certain that he could complete. Former World and Olympic Champions, Paul Anderson, of the United States, Yuri Vlasov of the Soviet Union and Vasili Alexeyev of the Soviet Union also adhered to this philosophy. Visualizing yourself succeeding during your non-training hours also enhances your lifting ability. Many times, while I was preparing either to enter a contest or to attempt a maximum lift, I would spend the entire day before the event not just "watching" myself complete the lift but actually "experiencing" myself completing it - over and over until it felt as though I had performed it hundreds of times. When the time to perform came, I was so "hyped up" I literally exploded with power and confidence. Another mandatory and too often overlooked requirement for maximum size and strength gains is the maintenance of a proper diet. If you wish to gain a lot, you must eat a lot. In preceding chapters, I have referred to the massive amount of food that I consumed during my training (over 10,000 calories a day). If your goal is to compete on a world-class level, you must do the same. If your goal is to get strong for the sake of getting strong, then listen to your body and feed it well every time it asks for food. Just as some athletes find it impossible to realize that the body needs time to recuperate after a heavy workout, so others seem unable to comprehend that it also needs to be adequately fueled after hard exertion. On numerous occasions I have watched enthusiastic athletes undergo a lengthy training session only to sit down to a meal that wouldn't sustain a field mouse. They then wonder why they failed to gain more strength or size. When forcing your body to handle ever-increasing poundages, your food intake must be ever-increasing as well. Your diet must never be random. For maximum strength gains, it must be balanced and high in vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates and complete amino acid-based protein. Dietary information has increased dramatically since the '50s, so do some research. Read books and talk to professionals for a program that is compatible with your goals. Once you begin training, weigh yourself daily (in the nude for accuracy) and keep a lifting journal. If you don't experience substantial increases in both strength and body weight, re-evaluate your lifting program and food intake. Also emphasize liquid calories and nutrients. Shakes made from milk, juices, eggs, protein powder and honey are digested more easily than solid foods. Liquids also let the body assimilate more foods in less time, accelerating progress. I also recommend milk, juices, shakes and other liquids during the actual training session. I have, on many occasions, consumed as many as three quarts of milk during a single session, with no ill effects. As a result, I have actually gained weight during my workouts. The only solid foods that can be consumed during a workout are easily digestible high-energy foods such as dates, figs, raisins and honey. But they should be taken in small doses only. This rule also applies to all cold liquids, including water. One of the best ways to obtain quick energy during a lifting session is to drink a mixture of coffee and honey. Since coffee contains caffeine, however, it is recommended that you follow this practice only when you are competing, demonstrating or attempting a maximum lift. Once you have established an effective diet and training program, it is crucial that you receive regular sleep and relaxation to offset your physical exertions. As previously noted, heavy barbell exercise temporarily depletes the body's energy reserves and the only time that the body can replace this energy is when it is at rest away from the gym. At least one hour of extra sleep a day is recommended if you are following the "A" program, and two hours if you are following the more rigorous "B" program. Perhaps even more important than getting enough physical sleep every twenty-four hours is getting enough mental relaxation. Regular meditation will allow the mind, which is constantly racing to keep up with the hectic pace of the world around it, to slow down and relax. Tensions will melt away and you will soon be better able to distinguish those aspects of your daily life that deserve concerned attention and those that do not. During important competitions or public demonstrations, I made it a habit never to stand when I could sit, and never to sit when I could lie on my back with my eyes closed. A lot of athletes and spectators perceived this to be laziness, but it was a simple technique that many world class lifters of the time employed. The great American lifter John Davis, had so conditioned himself in this method that he was able to sleep immediately prior to competing and had to be awakened when it was his turn to lift. As important as it is, at times, to be able to blot out everything around you except lifting and thoughts of lifting, it is equally important to be able to blot out all thoughts of competing and training. Life is more than just exercise; in order to be truly happy, you have to know how to give equal time and attention to such endeavours as family, career, hobbies and relaxation. As philosopher Paul Brunton once said: Be aware, also, that by faithfully following the above-noted programs, you will discover more of yourself. What you accomplish, you accomplish on your own because you have the faith, honesty, courage and determination to delve into yourself and discern your exact capabilities. While dishonest lifters struggle to create an illusion, you tear illusion away and, as a consequence, build a strength of spirit that no dishonest lifter can come close to, and no amount of aging can destroy. Before my conception and implementation of these training principles, the general state of weightlifting was at a standstill. No one in the world, for example, had been able to bench press 500 pounds (which is why it was referred to as the "500 pound barrier"), and most world strength authorities considered it impossible. Not only was I the first man on the planet to do so (completely drug free) (1953, June 30 - Western Sports Centre, Vancouver), I added another 85 pounds to my world record within a few months. My methods were emulated following my gold medal win at Stockholm. The Russian and Bulgarian lifting teams began studying and adopting my principles and training procedures - to the point of following me from competition to competition. This is because they were able to realize early that the total poundage that an athlete lifts over a long and controlled time period is infinitely more beneficial than a series of maximum or near maximum lifts performed over a shorter, more sporadic time period. What you must understand if you are to get the most from your training, is that these principles will work as well fifty years from now as they did fifty years ago because the timing of the routines has been synchronized, as far as possible, with the body's inherent rate of response to training with heavy weight. Athletes and other so-called experts in the field have resorted to drug use because they have been unable to accelerate the effectiveness of these programs and routines in any other way. In conclusion, let me re-affirm the promise that I made at the beginning: this information is all that you will need to become as strong as you wish to become on all three levels of your existence. The rest is up to you. Good luck and good training. Doug Hepburn
  2. The Amazing Transformation of Bruce Randall (1931 - 2010) By Randy Roach Reprinted from Muscle, Smoke & Mirrors (edited by Strength Oldschool) In 1966, an 18-year-old Terry Strand responded enthusiastically to a Chicago Sun Times advertisement announcing the appearance of a former Mr. Universe at a downtown Montgomery Ward department store. Strand recalled very few people showing up to see and listen to the physique star promote Billard Barbells, a company the muscleman represented. What impressed the young Strand was not just the amazing physique of the 1959 Mr. Universe, Bruce Randall, but the very demeanour and sincere nature of the athlete. Strand reflected: (Below) Newspaper Advert - Nov 28 - 1965 The (bulked up) photo of Bruce Randall above was taken in the summer of 1955, when he weighed 387 pounds at a height of 6'2" and his chest was measured at 61". Later that summer he reached his top weight, 401 pounds, at which time he radically changed both his exercise routine and his diet. Thirty two weeks later he had lost 218 pounds. A year later, Strand met up again with Randall at a Chicago Teenage Youth event where both were participating. Strand was fulfilling a commitment to the YMCA, which awarded him a scholarship for being one of the top five outstanding teenage athletes in the region. Bruce Randall was still as impressive in character as Strand remembered him from the year before: What was so special about this [future] 1959 bodybuilding champion that even Peary Rader would dedicate both his editorial and a feature article to him in the May 1957 issue of Iron Man? Rader set the tone in his editorial titled, "A Lesson from Bruce Randall's Story": Randall (above ), weighing about 350 pounds, was very strong, particularly in the deadlift. He claimed to have done 770 pounds, well ahead of the best dead lift done up until that time. As can be seen in the photo, he also had unusually well-shaped thighs and calves, which were two of the reasons he was successful as a bodybuilder several years later. Rader's lesson in this story was firmly on faith and determination in one's God-given abilities to do what he or she sets their mind to. Randall not only willed himself to bring his bodyweight up methodically to over 400 lbs (181.8 kg) for strength purposes, but to then make such a dramatic transformation that he was able to capture the 1959 Mr. Universe crown. In the same May 1957 issue of Iron Man, Rader shared the "Amazing Story of Bruce Randall." Randall believed his appreciation for the value of proper diet was obtained during a summer job on a merchant vessel. It was during his stint at sea that he attributed the fresh air, hard work, and good eating for taking his bodyweight from 164 lbs (74.55 kg) to 192 lbs (87.27 kg) in 58 days. Back to school and playing football and putting the shot, his weight dropped back to 185 lbs (84.09 kg), where it remained until he graduated. After entering the Marine Corps and finishing boot camp, he was stationed at the Norfolk Naval Base. It was at this point where Randall stated he was six months past his 21st year in January of 1953 when he was introduced to the finest weight training facility in the Navy, run by Chief Petty Officer Walter Metzler. Randall was still playing around with his shot put and weighed 203 lbs (92.27 kg) but he wanted to get up to 225 lbs (102.3 kg) in order to play football for the base. Randall stated his initiating strategy for getting bigger and stronger: Bulked Up photo of Randall weighing over 400 lbs! The (athletic and muscular) photo above is from the Todd-Mclean Collection, and was given to Ottley Coulter by Randall in the late 1950's, when he weighed approximately 225 pounds. It demonstrates the body Randall had when he won the coveted NABBA Mr. Universe title in 1959. The remarkable physical transformation he was able to make in just a few years, before the arrival of anabolic steroids, is unprecedented in the annals of physical culture. Even today-with anabolic steroids, human Growth Hormone, food supplements, and an improved understanding of nutrition and training techniques-no one has come close to doing what Randall did. Randall shot from 203 lbs (92.27 kg) up to 225 lbs (102.3 kg) in six weeks. By spring, he was up to 265 lbs (120.5 kg). At that point, Metzler convinced him to drop football and focus on the weight training. Peary Rader liked and respected Randall's attitude and disposition, but was a bit perplexed over his choice of training routines. It was well known that Rader and others were adamant about heavy leg work anchoring a big eating / strength program, but strangely enough, Randall chose to work nothing but arms for those first initial months of training. However, Randall was quite diplomatic about his approach: Bruce Randall did make some alterations to his program, but nothing elaborate and still no squats. He added some chest work and the "good morning" exercise to his routine. On the latter movement, he would build up to an unbelievable weight of 685 lbs (311.4 kg). Most people were afraid of doing the good morning exercise with an empty barbell or even a broomstick, let alone dare think of a weight of that enormity. It was truly a Herculean feat of strength. TRAINING PHOTOS OF BRUCE RANDALL... Heavy Decline Dumbbell Bench Presses Standing Shoulder Presses with a pair of 120 lbs Dumbbells. Loading up a heavy barbell to perform Good Mornings... Heavy Cambered Bar Good Mornings... Bruce Randall - Favourite Exercise - Heavy Good Mornings Incline Barbell Bench Press... Randall originally shied away from the squat because of a serious injury three years previously in which he broke his leg in seven places. He would periodically test his strength in this movement and attributed the hard work in the good morning exercise for allowing him to squat 680 lbs (309.1 kg). Not bad for an occasional attempt. He actually once took a shot at a 750 lbs (340.9 kg) good morning, but had to drop the bar because the weights shifted on him. The only thing rivaling Randall's incredible feats of strength was the quantity of food he consumed. It was his belief that in order to increase his strength, he would have to increase his size, and this meant a significant increase in food. He structured his diet around four meals starting at 6:30 a.m., 11 :30 a.m., 4:30 p.m., and finally 9:30 p.m. The only food he would allow between meals was milk. On average, he consumed eight to ten quarts (7.26 to 9.08 L) a day along with 12 to 18 eggs. As mentioned, this was average! He stated it was not uncommon for him to drink two quarts (1.82 L) of milk for breakfast, along with 28 fried eggs and a loaf and a half of bread. He once consumed 19 quarts (17.25 L) of milk in one day, and 171 eggs in total over seven consecutive breakfasts! That's almost five gallons, or close to 15,000 calories and over 600 grams of protein in milk alone. He was known to virtually fill an entire cafeteria tray with rice and pork and consume it all at a single sitting. [Editors note: On one occasion, this resulted in a trip to the hospital. What happened is that by the time Randall got to the mess hall most of the food that he liked was gone - except for rice. So he ate a cafeteria tray full of rice which, not having been thoroughly cooked, swelled so much once Randall had eaten it that he had to have his stomach pumped.] In the photo above, Randall weighs 187 pounds, which is almost as low as he went before upping his food intake and altering his weight-loss training program. He added almost 40 pounds before he won the Mr. Universe contest. The training programs and the diet he used to trim down were at least as radical as the techniques he used to gain from 203 pounds to 342 pounds in just over 14 months. For example, during his weight-loss period he once trained for 81 hours in one week, and in the first 15 days of 1956 he did at least 5,000 sit-ups everyday. He realized that these procedures were potentially dangerous, and did not recommend them. Randall was discharged from the Marines on March 11, 1954 and tipped the scales at 342 lbs (155.5 kg). This was a gain of 139 lbs (63.18 kg) in just over 14 months. He continued to bring his weight up to 380 lbs (172.7 kg), when he made the following lifts: Press: 365 lbs (165.9 kg) for 2 reps 375 lbs (170.5 kg) for 1 rep Squat: 680 lbs (309.1 kg) Good Morning exercise: (Legs bent, back parallel to floor) 685 lbs (311.4 kg) Deadlift: 730 lbs (331.8 kg) for 2 reps 770 lbs (350 kg) for 1 rep Curl: 228 lbs (103.6 kg) Dumbell Bench Press: Pair of 220 lbs (100 kg) dumbells for 2 reps Supine Press: 482 lbs (219.1 kg) after 3 seconds pause at chest Decline Dumbell Press: Pair of 220 lbs (100 kg) dumbells for 1 rep 45 Degree Incline Clean and Press: 380 lbs (172.7 kg) for 2 reps 410 lbs (186.4 kg) for 1 rep [Ed. Note: This was probably a continental clean of some kind and not a power clean] Support weight at chest for 1/4 squats: 1320 lbs (600 kg) 1/4 squats: With weight well in excess of 2100 lbs (909.55 kg) These lifts were rivaling those of the phenomenal 1956 Olympic heavyweight weightlifting gold medalist, Paul Anderson (photo above). Randall stated that he brought his weight up to a final 401 lbs (182.3 kg), but was finding it difficult to focus strictly on his training. [Ed. Note: Not to mention the expense of his diet.] To this giant athlete, his quest for strength through sheer size was driven by the power of a willful mind resembling that of The Mighty Atom: What Goes Up Must Come Down! His "never say never " attitude was about to be put to the test. It was August of 1955 when he hit 401 lbs (182.3 kg) and decided he wanted to "look at life from the other side of the weight picture." Upon his decision to reduce his weight dramatically, he was met by some negative feedback, including some from authorities in the industry. Undaunted, Randall viewed the challenge methodically as he stated: Randall's strategy was basically to reverse all engines. Just as he gradually increased his calories by incrementally adding food to each meal, he did the opposite by slowly reducing the size of each meal until he settled into the following regimen: Breakfast 2 soft boiled eggs Plain pint (0.45 L) of skim milk Glass of orange juice Apple Lunch Salad, dates, nuts Supper Round steak Two vegetables Quart (0.91 L) skim milk with additional powdered milk Gelatine Coffee occasionally He adopted a system formatted similarly to one Vince Gironda used the next year, but Randall would be much more radical in his exercise regimen. He eliminated the starch and much of the fat from his diet and went very light on the lunch. His eating plan was primarily lean protein and some fruits and vegetables. Once again, Randall matched the dramatic reduction in calories with an equally phenomenal increase in his training. Repetitions jumped from three to five up to 12 to 15. His sets went from three to five and his repertoire of exercises went from six to 20. He claimed his sessions lasted from six to seven hours. He stated that he once trained 27 hours in two days, and 81 hours in one week. In his New Year's resolution for 1956, he vowed to do 5,000 sit-ups daily for 15 days straight. He feels the 75,000 sit-ups helped him reduce his waist to 33 inches (83.82 cm). Randall also incorporated a lot of running into his routine and by March 20, 1956, he weighed in at 183 lbs (83.18 kg). This was an amazing drop of 218 lbs (99.09 kg) in 32 weeks. Below are Bruce Randall's measurements at his various weights. He stated the measurements listed at 401 lbs (182.3 kg) were actually taken at a lower weight. Randall went on to compete in the Mr. America that year and placed thirteenth. His weight had gone from 183 lbs (83.18 kg) to 219 lbs (99.55 kg) for that event. What was amazing is that it was noted in Iron Man that after all the weight manipulations, there were no stretch marks or loose skin visible on his body at the Mr. America show. At six feet two inches tall (187.96 cm), 183 lbs (83.18 kg) was not an appropriate weight for him and most likely represented a very emaciated chronically over-trained state. He probably had little difficulty bringing his competition weight up to 219 lbs (99.55 kg). According to the November, 1957 issue of Muscle Power, he placed sixth a year later at 195 lbs (88.64 kg), 24 lbs (10.9 kg) lighter than the year before. Randall's off-season weight seemed to have settled between 230 lbs (104.5 kg) and 240 lbs (109.1 kg). He competed and won the 1959 NABBA Mr. Universe title at a body weight of 222 lbs (100.9 kg). Randall said it was unlikely that he'd bring his weight to such a size again, but would not totally rule the possibility out. His food bill was often over $100 a week and that wasn't cheap back in the mid-1950's. He did state, however, that if he did choose to do so, he felt he could reach 500 lbs (227.3 kg) in 18 months. Bruce Randall finished his revelations to Peary Rader in that May 1957 article with the following advice: It may have been the muscles of Bruce Randall that first drew the young Chicago native, Terry Strand, to go with such enthusiasm to see the 1950's physique star. However, it was Randall's nature that left so powerful an impression on Strand that 40 years later, Strand had exhausted all Iron Game avenues in order to ascertain the remaining legacy of the idol of his youth. Surely, many would be curious as to just what else the amazing drive of Bruce Randall brought him through the subsequent decades of his life. EXTRA INFO / PHOTOS / NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS ABOUT BRUCE RANDALL Little story connecting bodybuilding legend Harold Poole (1943 - 2014) with Bruce Randall... Bruce Randalls's book: "The Barbell Way to Physical Fitness" (1970) There's a great quote from the book about succeeding with your exercise program: "TRIUMPH is just a little "TRY" with a little "UMPH" The following is an excerpt from the book about Bruce Randall: About Bruce Randall Bruce Randall is known as one of the World's most uniquely experienced experts in the field of physique development and weight reduction. As a youngster he dreamed the dream of many young boys of how wonderful it would be to become the strongest man in the world. The basic difference between Bruce and the average young boy is that he set out to try and do it! Summers during High School were spent at various types of hard physical work including jobs in lumber camps in Vermont, coal mines in Pennsylvania and shipping out to sea on a Merchant Marine freighter. Bruce's quest for a strong body took many different avenues, however, it was not until he entered the United States Marine Corps that he became aware of the wonders that weight training can accomplish. It became very apparent that the World's strongest men train with barbells, and in weight lifting as in boxing and wrestling there are various bodyweight divisions from 123 pounds to the heavyweight class. He began training at a bodyweight of 203 lbs. and that combined with the proper diet which was high in protein foods enabled him to build his bodyweight to 401 pounds in 21 months. He competed in weight lifting meets when in the Marine Corps and won the first meet he entered. Upon discharge Bruce found that in civilian life his food bill was often in excess of $100.00 per week. He frequently drank as many as 12 or more quarts of milk a day and once ate 28 eggs for breakfast. Although at 401 lbs. he was very strong indeed, he found it totally impractical to carry this kind of weight and decided to make a bodyweight reduction. With a different program of weight training and diet he made a bodyweight reduction of 218 lbs. in 32 weeks and weighed in at 183 lbs. Bruce decided to continue on in the physical development field and trained for the Mr. Universe Contest. He won this coveted title in London, England at a bodyweight of 222 lbs. The above has not been emphasized to demonstrate what Bruce Randall has accomplished in the BARBELL WAY TO PHYSICAL FITNESS but rather to exemplify what weight training can do for YOU!! On the pages of this book his "How to do it" programs are spelled out for you. This method is the true method of the champions. There are no secret formulas, no gimmicks and no short-cuts- only the common sense application of exercise and diet principals which, when followed, will work for you too! Newspaper Article from the 1970s which details Randall's book above... Mr Universe Contest (left to right): Reub Martin - Pierre Vandervondelen - Bruce Randall - Reg Park SOME MORE PHOTOS / NEWS ARTICLES... Billard Golden Triumph Barbells Bruce Randall - 1970 Newspaper Clipping - 28 Oct - 1967 Newspaper Ad - 27 Nov - 1969 Newspaper Ad - April 7 - 1976 Bruce Randall - Newspaper Article - Ex Tubby - Eyes Mr Universe Repeat Newspaper Article - 21 Feb - 1971 Newspaper Article - 31 March - 1968 Newspaper Article from 1971 on Bruce Randall * If anyone has any stories on Bruce Randall, please share them by commenting below.
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