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  1. Anthony Ditillo Training Routines for Bulk and Power Routine #1 This full schedule should be repeated 2 times per week. However, if you want, you could increase it to three times per week, but this is up to your ability to handle work. Monday and Thursday: Squat – One set of 10 reps, as a warmup, followed by five sets of five reps using all the weight possible for each set. Deadlift – Same as Squat. Bench Press – Same as Squat. Bentover Row – Same as Squat. Routine #2 This kind of training routine is more severe and that is why you only do 2 movements per training day. You will be working these 2 movements quite hard and this will cause you to gain. Monday: Squat – 1×10; 1×8; 1×6; 1×4; 1×2 and then 5 sets of 3-5 reps using all the weight possible. Bench Press – Same as squat. Thursday: Deadlift – same sets and reps as Monday. Bentover Row – same sets and reps as Monday. Routine #3 This would be the ordinary every other day schedule for the ambitious, underweight trainee. Monday, Wednesday and Friday: Squat – 5 sets of 3 to 5 reps using all the weight possible. Bench Press – same as Squat. Deadlift – same as Squat. Bentover Row – same as Squat. Routine #4 This type of routine would enable you to concentrate on one movement per workout for power and the other two for added muscular bulk. However, you will positively have to be sure to eat enough of the complete protein foods and get more than enough calories in order to grow. Monday: Squat – 1 set of 10 for a warmup, and then 8-10 sets of 3 reps using all the weight you can possibly handle for each set. Bench Press – 2 sets of 10 for a warmup and then 3 sets of 5 reps using all the weight you can possibly handle. Bentover Row – 2 sets of 10 for a warmup and then 3 sets of 5 reps using all the weight you can possibly handle. Thursday: Deadlift – 1 set of 10 for a warmup, and then 8-10 sets of 3 reps using all the weight you can possibly handle for each set. Bench Press – 2 sets of 10 reps, and then 3 sets of 5 reps using all the weight you can possibly handle. Bentover Row – 2 sets of 10 reps, and then 3 sets of 5 reps using all the weight you can possibly handle. Bulk And Power Routine No. 1 In this routine you will be performing the three basic power lifts. In it you use both low and high repetitions. This will allow you to gain in both muscular power and muscular size. Monday, Wednesday and Friday: Bench Press: 5 sets of 2-4 reps Bench Press: 2 sets of 10 reps Full Squat: 5 sets of 2-4 reps Full Squat: 2 sets of 10 reps Deadlift: 5 sets of 2-4 reps Deadlift: 2 sets of 10 reps Bulk And Power Routine No.2 In this routine I have you working for bulk in the upper body while you are specializing on the lower body for power. The sets and reps are well suited to gaining in both and I have even broken down the workouts themselves into three distinct sections. I have you working the chest and shoulders on Monday and the back and arms on Wednesday (rowing and cleans work the arms quite hard!). Then on Friday I have you really work your thighs and hips and back. Monday: Bench Press: 5 sets of 3-5 reps Incline Press: 5 sets of 3-5 reps Wednesday: Bent Over Row: 5 sets of 3-5 reps Hang Cleans: 5 sets of 3-5 reps Friday: Full Squat: 10 singles using 90% of your one rep limit Deadlift: 10 singles using 90% of your one rep limit Bulk And Power Routine No. 3 This routine has you training for power on the bench press and the seated press while your leg and back work aids in gaining size. Monday: Full Squat: 1 set of 20 reps using a weight which is 50lbs. greater than bodyweight. Take 5 deep breaths between each rep. Deadlift: 1 set of 20 reps using a weight which is 50 lbs. greater than bodyweight. Take 5 deep breaths between each rep. Heavy Bent Arm Pullover: 5 sets of 5-7 reps, maximum weight Wednesday: Full Squat: 5 sets of 5-7 reps Deadlift: 5 sets of 5-7 reps Bench Press: 10 singles with 90% of your 1 rep limit Friday: Half Squat: 5 sets of 3-5 reps High Deadlift: 5 sets of 3-5 reps Seated Press: 10 singles with 90% of your 1 rep limit Bulk And Power Routine No. 4 Monday and Thursday: Bench Press: 10 sets of 3 reps Bent Row: 10 sets of 3 reps Full Squat: 10 sets of 3 reps Tuesday and Friday: Incline Press: 5 sets of 5-7 reps Deadlift: 5 sets of 5-7 reps Half Squat: 5 sets of 5-7 reps Bulk And Power Routine No. 5 Monday: Full Squat: 10 sets of 3 reps Dip: 5 sets of 5-7 reps Weighted Chin: 5 sets of 5-7 reps Wednesday: Deadlift: 10 sets of 3 reps Bent Arm Flyes: 5 sets of 5-7 reps Curl: 5 sets of 5-7 reps Friday: Bench Press: 10 sets of 3 reps Half Squat: 5 sets of 5-7 reps Rack Deadlift: 5 sets of 5-7 reps Intermediate Mass Program The intermediate mass program is NOT for the advanced man. He would never respond to the amount of work I’m going to advise herein. Being advanced necessitates diversity in performance and volume of work as well as tightening up the dietary schedule, since continued weight gain would NOT be desirable for the truly advanced man who has already gained sufficiently in basic bodyweight. For the majority of beginners and intermediates, three total body workouts per week seems to be just about right. You will have two heavy days and one medium day, for variety and recuperation. On your two heavy days the movements are heavy and basic. The repetitions are kept low to enable you to use truly heavy weights to ensure mass gains. The first and second sets should be warmup sets. Sets three, four and five are to be performed with all the weight possible for the required reps. Rest no longer than one minute between sets. When sets three, four and five can be done fairly easily, add ten pounds to your upper body movements and twenty pounds to the lower body movements. The entire schedule consists of between twenty-five and thirty sets. Surely this much work can be finished within ninety minutes. Monday & Friday (heavy days) Press Behind Neck – 5 sets of 5-7 reps. Bentover Barbell Row – 5 sets of 8-10 reps. Barbell Curl – 3 sets of 8-10 reps. Lying Triceps Press – 3 sets of 8-10 reps. Half Squat – 5 sets of 8-10 reps. * On your off days, do four or five sets of calf raises and light abdominal work. Wednesday (medium day) Dips – 4-5 bodyweight sets doing all the reps you can. Chins – the same as dips. Full Squats – 2 sets of 20 reps as described. Stiff-Legged Deadlift – 2 sets of 10-15 reps using light to medium weight.
  2. The Bill Starr Power Training Routine Author: Unknown Monday – Heavy Day Squat – 5 sets of 5 Bench – 5 sets of 5 Powerclean – 5 sets of 5 Weighted hyperextensions – 2 sets Weighted sit-ups – 4 sets On Monday, the weight for each lift is increased on each set of 5, from a light warm-up to an all out set of 5. For squats, something like 135×5, 185×5, 225×5, 275×5, 315×5. The weight should be increased evenly from your first to last set. If you are working up to bigger weights, say above 500, you can add a sixth set of 5 just to avoid making large jumps between sets. Your fifth set equals the triple from the previous Friday’s workout. Wednesday – Light Day Squat – 4 sets of 5 Overhead Press – 4 sets of 5 High Pulls – 4 sets of 5 Sit-ups – 3 sets On light day, Squat the first 3 sets of 5 just as you did on Monday, and then do a fourth set of 5 with the weight used on the third set. An extra fifth set at this same weight can be added. Overhead Press is done using the same scheme, working up to 2-3 sets of 5, but with about 70-80% of the weight flat bench, to accommodate the leverage difference of the incline. High Pulls are done by feel, but usually pretty heavy. Friday – Medium Squat – 4 sets of 5, 1 triple, 1 set of 8 Bench – 4 sets of 5, 1 triple, 1 set of 8 Powercleans – 4 sets of 5, 1 triple Weighted Dips – 3 sets of 5-8 Triceps and Biceps – 3 sets of 8 each On Friday, the first four sets are the same as they were on Monday. The fifth set, done for three reps, should be a jump of about 2.5% over what you did for your fifth set on Monday. As you become more experienced with the system, you can experiment with the weight you use on this triple. This should NOT be a PR triple attempt every week. In fact, the goal is to come back the following Monday and get the same weight for 5 reps that you got for 3 reps the Friday before. To avoid missing reps, pick weights carefully. Take it easy the first few weeks, and don’t over do it. In fact if you’ve tested/already know your 5 rep maxes you shouldn’t be using that weight until the 4th week. After the big triple, drop back to the weight you used for your 3rd set and try to get eight reps.
  3. Rack Work - The Key to Power Lifting (1964) By Terry Todd Several years ago, Bill March (pictured below) began to take rapid and successive steps up the ladder of Olympic lifting. His gains in power and physique were both regular and phenomenal. These gains were in part due to a system of training devised and refined by Dr. John Ziegler. We know this system by many names, such as limited movement, isotronics, partial movement, isometronics, and so on. However, as the system has spread and been adopted by the weight trainers of the country, a name has been used with ever increasing clarity and regularity . . . Rack Work. This name (Rack Work) sums up in simple terms the essence of the new system of training. Strangely enough, not much has been written on the applicability of rack work to powerlifting (1964). The chief reason for this is doubtless because only recently have the Power Lifts emerged as a popular sport. Up until a few years ago, the bench press, squat, and deadlift were used only as a means to an end and not as an end in themselves. This has changed almost overnight, and soon national, and possibly international championships will be held in Power Lifting. The purpose of Power Lifting is to determine a man's all-around bodily strength,and the three lifts now generally used; the bench press, squat, and deadlift, are well chosen for this task. They all involve large areas of the body's voluntary musculature and they all require a minimum of technique. This is in direct contrast to the Olympic lifts, where all three lifts have become "quick lifts" involving a high degree of flexibility, coordination, and practice. Many men are physically and psychologically well-suited for Olympic lifting, but not for Power Lifting. The reverse is also often the case, and the recent surge of interest and participation in Power Lifting presents an excellent and deserved chance for those men who are not cut out for the Olympic lifts to enjoy and gain from competition. For the man who enters competition in Power Lifting, as well as for the bodybuilder who feels a need for more strength to break a slump, Rack Work is the answer. It offers that combination which is rare in many areas of life -- maximum results with a minimum of effort. Detailed below is a program used by some of the Power Lifters and bodybuilders in this area. This program has brought excellent strength increase to all who gave it a fair test. Several variations of the method have been tried here at the University of Texas, but this particular routine has proved to be the most result-producing. Listed below are the exercises, the method or performance, and the poundages used by the author (Terry Todd). Monday: 1) Low Bench Press - begin with the bar just touching the chest. Raise the bar off the chest and hold for 12 seconds. Add weight when the bar can be held off the supports for 12 seconds. 570 lbs. 2) Top Squat - Begin with the bar at about 6 to 8 inches from the completed position. Perform 2 repetitions and pause just above the support pins on the way down from the second rep. Hold this position for 12 seconds; raise the weight again to straight legs; and finally lower the bar to the supports. Add weight when 12 seconds can be done. 1,300 lbs. (Limit of the bar). 3) Top Dead Lift - Begin with the bar at about 6 inches from the completed position. Raise the bar to the completed position being careful not to rest the bar on the thighs, lower to the starting position just above the supports and hold for 12 seconds. Add weight when 12 seconds can be done. 1,070 lbs. (With straps). 4) Frog Kicks - Hang from a chinning bar and pull the knees as close to the chest as possible. Perform one set of 25 repetitions. Tuesday: 1) Middle Position Bench Press - Begin with the bar at approximately the sticking point. Perform 3 repetitions from a dead start. Add weight when 3 reps can be done. 450 lbs. x 3 reps. 2) Low Squat - Begin at the bottom position of the squat. Raise the bar from the support pins and hold off for 12 seconds. Add weight when 12 seconds can be accomplished. 625 lbs. 3) Low Dead Lift - Begin with the bar at the height of the start of a regular dead lift. Raise the bar smoothly off the floor and hold for 6 seconds. Do not jerk the bar off the floor and if the back begins to round or hump excessively, return the bar to the floor or supports. 775 lbs. (With straps). 4) Bentover Rowing - Perform these in the regular fashion for 3 sets of 5 reps. Employ a loose or "cheat" style after thoroughly warming up. 465 lbs. x 3 x 5 reps. (With straps). 5) Frog Kicks - same as Monday. Thursday: 1) Bench Press Lockout - Begin with the bar at about 3 inches from the completed position. Press the bar to arms' length and hold it for 12 seconds with arms slightly bent. Add weight when 12 seconds can be completed. 740 lbs. 2) Top Squat - same as Monday. 3) Middle Dead Lift - Begin with the bar just below the knees. Perform 3 dead lifts from this position. Add weight when 3 reps can be done. 765 lbs x 3 reps. 4) Frog Kicks - same. Saturday: 1) Bench Press - work to a limit or near limit for 3 single repetitions. 465 lbs. x 3 singles. 2) Squat - Work to one limit or near limit single. 640 lbs. x 1. 3) Dead Lift - Work up to one limit or near limit single. 715 lbs. correctly, and 735 lbs. with a hitch. 4) Bentover Rowing - Same as Tuesday. 5) Frog Kicks - Same. The inclusion of the standard application of the bentover rowing exercise may seem strange at first glance, but there are five reasons for its appearance in this routine: 1) It enables the man who does some Olympic lifting to continue exercising the pulling muscles of the arm and shoulder girdle group. As an example, after practicing this program exclusively for two months, the author (Terry Todd) made a power clean with no foot movement of 385 lbs., 10 pounds better than his previous best. 2) It enables the bodybuilder to keep these same large muscle areas well exercised and filled out. 3) It exercises muscle areas that would be neglected unless it were included. In this way, this brief routine becomes complete since every major body part is vigorously worked. 4) The exercise does not lend itself well to work on the Power Rack. Because of balance problems and the chances of a back injury, the bentover row is one of the few major exercises not conducive to the heavy partial movement of Rack Work. 5) Last, but most important for the Power Lifter, the exercise bulks and thickens the latissimus and teres area, which is important in giving the original impetus to the barbell in the bench press. It is interesting to note that Pat Casey (photo below), the world's best in the bench press, always performs some type of latissimus-teres exercise, either the bentover row or the wide grip chin. This is basically the program that has been successful for many Power Lifters and bodybuilders in this area. It is no miracle worker, but it is a program based on a combination of the empirical method of trial and error and the observation of body mechanics. Its success depends in large part on the adherence to the general rules of good health and on the development and cultivation of a positive frame of mind toward whatever objectives are desired. If these rules are followed regularly and diligently, Rack Work can be the solution to many discouraging training problems, as well as the best method of adding those elusive pounds to the three Power Lifts.
  4. Should You Train Heavy? By John Grimek (1962) The subject I’ve selected do discuss this month is certain to prove controversial among lifters and bodybuilders alike, especially the latter group. The question of how heavy to train has always proved perplexing to bodybuilders, particularly to beginners. It has also been the subject of much discussion and debate among barbell men for as long as progressive weight training has been known, and yet no one has come up with a simple solution to end the confusion . . . at least not to the satisfaction of everyone. This problem, how heavy to train, is individual and usually depends on what one hopes to accomplish by his training. If the trainee seeks to improve his general musculature and physical efficiency, which is usually the case, then regular barbell training with medium-heavy resistance would do much to help him achieve his objective. Conversely, if he entertains greater ambitions of strength and lifting prowess, he must be willing to train heavy, much heavier than he would if training for merely physical fitness. So it’s obvious that this problem is individual and the decision rests on the ultimate goal one hopes to attain. It’s also true that when light training is followed for conditioning, an occasional heavy workout should be included to keep the strength of the muscles, tendons and ligaments at a high peak. Moreover, heavy training tends to stimulate the lesser used fibers and thus encourages fuller and better muscle contours. Lighter weights, on the other hand, can work the muscles very efficiently but only when the exercises are performed correctly. Medium or light resistance should be employed for increasing speed and to perfect lifting form. In this regard light training is certainly not to be overlooked if one hopes to excel at lifting. And where greater power is desired the overload and power plus principles outlined in the “York Advanced Methods of Training,” pages 23 and 28, are practical for this purpose. However, in keeping with development of greater power the Isometric-Isotonic method of power training simplifies this approach and makes it possible for many to beget increased strength. In defense of heavy training let us use some of the champion lifters as examples. These champions, we all know, must train heavy most of the time so their muscular power remains at a peak. However, even these men occasionally employ a light training day that helps to keep their muscular coordination keen, their lifting speed swift, and the lifting form perfect. But heavy training is employed chiefly to keep the muscles strong so they are capable of handling heavy weights without any difficulty . . . which is what makes a champion! At this point it might be proper to mention that if a lifter lacks good lifting style his poundage is sure to suffer, and under the circumstances he should use less weight to perfect his lifting form. Using heavy weights does not help to improve one’s lifting style. If anything it makes it worse because one is apt to depend on actual “muscle strength” instead of muscle coordination and speed to overcome the gravity of the weight. Using lighter resistance and practicing lifting does not impede body speed and results in better lifting style. Most lifters follow this type of training – heavy weights to keep their muscles toned up for greater power, and light training to add more speed to their movements and improve their lifting form. Recently I received a letter along this line from a 46-year old man who wanted to know how he could acquire more squatting strength. His best performance was 260, but this he has managed only on a few occasions. Now he has made several repetitions with 250 pounds on numerous occasions, but when he attempted 265 he was unable to recover. He also admits that there are times when 250 feels very light and he is capable of doing high repetitions. But there are days when even 240 proves to be a challenge. He squats about twice a week and has been training for five years, and has failed to make any improvement with his squatting in well over a year. How can he increase his squatting poundage, he asks. The problem as I see it is not unusual. Almost anyone who has trained for any length of time has had days when the weights feel unusually light, and at other times feel extra heavy. This is natural and usually reflects the mood you’re in. For example, if you are genuinely enthusiastic and anxious to train, the weights always feel lighter at such times. But when you lack ambition and the desire to train, the weights will feel very heavy. So when this man writes that he can do several repetitions with 250 and fails to do at least one with 265, certainly this would indicate his lack of confidence in his ability. I’m inclined to think that he has a mental block which prevents him from exerting his full strength when he attempts 265 in the squat. If he had complete confidence in himself he would be capable of putting out more effort when he needed it, and thus succeed with the weight easily. In order to acquire this confidence he must first overcome his fear of the weight. To do this he should practice quarter or half squats using a much heavier weight than he can squat fully with. This will build his confidence. At the same time his legs, knees and hips will get stronger from these partial movements especially if the heavier weights are employed. Of course it’s not difficult for any man to do half or quarter squats with 400 or 500 pounds if he is capable of doing a complete movement with 260. And, as a matter of fact, any time you support or handle a heavy weight for a few repetitions and then reduce the weight to about half, which may still be your limit, you’ll find this weight lighter!!! I know. I used this same technique in my early training. Whenever I failed to clean a weight that was near my limit, I never grew discouraged but quickly loaded the bar to a heavy poundage and did a few deadlifts with it. Then I unloaded the bar to the previous weight that I failed to clean and, lo and behold, the weight would almost fly up. It’s because the muscles were taxed by a much heavier load and so were geared up to exert greater force. Reducing the weight found those same muscles ready to exert just as much effort as before, but because the weight was reduced, it felt lighter than the first time. Of course, bear in mind that you do only a few of the heavier reps to, in effect, condition the muscles to the effort. If you continue to do a lot of sets and repetitions with the heavier weight you’ll end up not even getting the original lighter weight off the floor. You’ll be too tired. But a few fast repetitions (speed with this heavier weight is important), then back to the weight you failed with before will make a big difference. Try it and see. Try it on other exercises as well. Getting back to the lifter: we all know that he must train regularly to stay ahead of his competitors or be overtaken. But the fellow who seeks only to improve or maintain his physical condition doesn’t have to fight competition, consequently doesn’t have a real purpose to use the heavy weights all the time. For one thing, he may develop a “fixation” in his mind that he will never handle certain poundages, and this may often put a damper on his efforts so he is unable to exert his full force. The 46-year old man mentioned earlier may never surpass his 260 pound squat unless he assumes a more positive mental approach by including the half-squats also mentioned before, or by employing a heavy straddle lift. This heavy training will help him lose his fear of certain weights and, because he’ll be handling much heavier weights in the half squat, he might attempt and even succeed with 300 in the squat. It’s possible once he establishes confidence in himself. But older men are more prone to injury than younger men so should spend some time in thoroughly warming up their muscles before attempting a limit lift. Many men inquire if they must train heavy to develop certain muscle groups. To develop muscle it’s not necessary to follow heavy training all the time, but an occasional heavy workout is required to stimulate the deeper muscle fibers that remain inactive when light training is practiced. MUSCLES, HOWEVER, CAN BE DEVELOPED BY MEDIUM-HEAVY RESISTANCE, BUT STRENGTH IS ACQUIRED BY HEAVY TRAINING. Those who are confused as to how they should train might find the solution by employing the old principle that has been widely used by many – the heavy, light and medium training system. The heavy system to increase muscular power; the medium system to build muscle; the light system to develop speed, coordination and improve conditioning. This training system involves all the phases of training and one is sure to obtain maximum benefits and satisfaction by using this method. So whether you should train heavy depends on what you wish to accomplish, and how hard you intend to train to obtain your wish. Whether you hope to reach any particular goal or not doesn’t matter, but it is a good idea to take a heavy workout once in a while to keep the muscles at their peak. So regardless of your goals include this type of training when you feel the urge to do so. You’ll enjoy it more and feel refreshed after you’ve finished. It’s all in the way you feel and the mood you’re in . . . follow your mood.
  5. How I Train the Bench Press (1977) By Mike MacDonald * Some of the info below is from Issue #7 of PLUSA * Mike was born September 4th, 1948 and unfortunately died January 9th, 2018 at the age of 69 after a long battle with leukemia. News of his death can be read here. His legendary status will forever live on. Greatest condolences to Mikes family and friends. During the last 13 years the World's Greatest Bench Presser has set 12 official World Records and 4 unofficial ones . . . He presently holds the mark at 181, 198, 220, and 242 and he's eager to go for the SHW mark and the 275 lb class as soon as it's recognized internationally. Mike recently benched 603 at 240 for another unofficial mark and was going to go up to 255-260 in bodyweight for a shot at 635 as a SHW, but lack of qualified officials in his area and Christmas time business commitments made him decide otherwise. He's in hard training for another assault on the SHW BP mark this coming spring, though. ~ PLUSA Remember back in 1967 when Pat Casey (pictured above) made that incredible bench press of 615 pounds? . . . He was way ahead of his time on the bench and nobody could even come close to him . . . he was phenomenal in upper pectoral power. The most beneficial exercise he did for his bench press was when he took those huge dumbbells and did dumbbell bench presses . . . so he could go deeper than the bar allows. It worked fantastically for him but it was a lot of extra work getting them in position. I will give you an explanation of how I use the same principle as Pat Casey. You will notice that my bench press has been steadily climbing for many years, but I am basically a very small man and not even medium-boned . . . but small-boned with 6.5" wrists so it took me longer than Casey to go over 600 officially. I used the Casey principle by doing push-ups (see photos above) between chairs with weight piled on my upper back and got that extra stretch which developed the chest, especially the upper pectorals and the tendon and ligament strength. This procedure always had its hangups, because you had to have somebody else to do all that work of loading your back up and unloading it . . . so I quit it for a couple of years. My bench really leveled off and wasn't going up anymore, but I didn't want to mess up anybody else's workout. I had in mind an idea for a special piece of equipment, but I didn't know if it could be built, until I ran into Warren Tetting (RIP 2019)in St. Paul, Minnesota who builds the Iron Man equipment. Warren built me a bar with a camber to it, and I went crazy. I did not have this bar built with any other intention in mind but to increase my bench press, but I can't keep secrets very well either and I love to help others any way I can. Now I can just take the bar out of the rack and I don't have to bother anybody else to get that all-important stretch of the pectorals. I am now very confident that I will exceed 700 eventually. There is no doubt in my mind that I can go that high. Here is the routine I follow twice a week. My biggest worry is overtraining, which can happen easily with all that stretch. Straight Bar Bench Press first: 135x8 / 225x5 / 325x5 / 445x3 / 565x3. All these previous sets are done concentrating on technique and strictness. Then 475x5. I do this one set with a shoulder-width grip and pauses to feel more triceps and front delt work. Now the cambered bar Bench Press: 450 x 2 sets of 3 with pauses and wide grip. After this my upper chest feels just fantastically pumped up and that is when I make new gains. IMPORTANT NOTICE: The two days I bench are not always the same days, because if I can take a broomstick and bring it to the chest and feel a soreness in the pecs or front delts, I will wait another day. The muscles must recuperate first . . . many lifters overtrain and defeat their purpose by working out with sore muscles. My diet is very complete, but my favorite supplement is dessicated liver tablets of which I sometimes take 160-200 a day before a contest. I feel they work wonders for me. The main thing that I believe in is to have everything going for you at the same time. That means diet, training system, rest, easy job (no physical labor), no mental stress or worry, and there are so many other factors. When you look at my natural potential for bench pressing it is much less than the big men because I have such a small bone structure and can't carry the muscle mass they can. But my persistence has paid off, over a ten year period. I've seen big benchers come and go but it's the one that doesn't give up who will make it, and new knowledge keeps accumulating over time. Additional Photos and Records: Is the Cambered Barbell Safe? Mike's Training MORE INFO ON MIKE... Some questions and statements from fellow Strength Oldschool fans...regarding bench press specialist Mike MacDonald... QUESTION: ANSWER: "From my conversations with Mike over the years, he discovered that the best way to cut weight and still not lose upper body strength and adversely affect his bench press was to use what he called “weight walkers”. He set up something that wrapped around his lower legs, like a medievil knight or a baseball catcher’s shin guards. He would put these on and then “fast walk” for several miles a day. He also tried other things like jumping on a small trampoline. His goal was to cut weight/fat but not loses strength, especially upper body strength. Even though he was known as predominantly a bench press specialist, he actually was a full meet competitor for the most part having totaled elite in several weight classes. He won the Junior Nationals once as a 242#er, placed second in the Senior Nationals as a 220#er, and placed 3rd at the World’s one year. He lifted before even squat suits and had an official, truly raw 670# sqaut and 660# deadlift. The deadlift was as a 198#er. He totaled 1700# the day he officially bench pressed 603# at the Twin Ports Open November 5, 1977 and totaled as much as just over 1800# raw as well. This was not just “enhanced” strength either. Although he was a known and admitted steroid user, he officially bench pressed 405# as a 181#er and 450# as a 198#er in a meet naturally, without steroids, in meets prior to 1972. He squatted and deadlifted around 500# naturally in a meet as a 181#er. He also was reportedly very fast. He claimed that in high school he ran track and could run a 10 second 100 yard dash. He was a pretty amazing athlete in addition to being a strength athlete. Some of his lifting “heroes” were Pat Casey, Mel Hennessey and Ronnie Ray. These days he doesn’t lift heavy anymore, but he does still do high rep body weight bench presses. As recently as about 5 years ago he was benching over 400# naturally and raw at about 200# and most recently he has been cutting body weight bench pressing body weight for near 40 reps. He has cut down to 174# body weight. He is 5’9.5″ tall, so at 174# he’s cut to shreds. He’s over 60 years of age now. He follows a very unique diet…fasts throughout the 1st part of the day taking in only water and honey. The 2nd part of the day he eats small meals every two hours. He is mostly vegetarian, but also eats lots of freshly caught fish he catches in the nearby lake and supplements with lots of whey protein. He also gathers up these pine needles that drop from these pine trees in his woods, grinds them up, and makes an edible powder which he takes everyday. I always thought this rather odd or at the least, daring….but it ends up that these pine needles come from Lash Pines and it ends up that people have been claiming such to be a natural health aid, especially for the immune system. Go figure. These days Mike’s ambition is to live a really long healthy life, citing Jack Lalane as an inspiration. Mike is sort of the modern day Karl Norberg, but instaed of training heavy like Karl, he trains for reps. He hopes to get his body weight bench reps to more than 60 reps before too long. " ~ Chuck Mirabile ADDITIONAL COMMENTS REGARDING MIKE... "Mike is truly an amazing bencher, I’d argue the greatest of all time. I remember when the cambered bar first came out and I bought one, it was a serious piece of equipment and like Mike says made regular benches easier because of the stretch. I bought my first bench from Mike when he had the Duluth equipment outlet. He was in his prime and his chest under a t-shirt looked like a horse’s hind quarter, huge. I was training for the Teenage Mr. Minnesota and stopped into his health food store and he commented that he’s never seen such cut up legs, quite a compliment. One article indicated he did 325 @ 160 when 17. I did 360 @ 160 when 19, amazing that I actually beat him as a teenager. Mike may remember me not sure, officially I did 380 raw @ 160 in competition 45 yrs old, which is nothing compared to the 512 @ 181 in Brookings, that is crazy and back in 1978! I’m 57 now and continuing to set records, I encourage Mike to do the same, blow the dust off the heavy weight and turn the 60+ classes on their heads. " ~ JIm "Great story Jim! Mike was truly a legend on the bench press. I only wish that someone had some photos/film of his 603# bench press done in November 1977 at the Twin Ports Open in Duluth and some film of his 608# bench at body Expo II in Anaheim 1981! Spoke with him today and he said he is staying a lot heavier for health reasons, 230#, and did a 340# paused bench press in training this past winter at 67 years old! He is back in training and hopes to maybe compete again at the Gordy Oie meet. Wish there were more pics / film! " ~ Chuck Mirabile If anyone has any additional information / stories on Mike MacDonald or maybe you have tried using the cambered bar for benching and wish to share your experiences of using this special type of bar then please post your comments below.
  6. Train for Power - Part 2 (1954) By Reg Park Since writing Part One a number of incidents have arisen which I feel will be of interest to our readers. They are as follows: 1/ I received a letter from Al Murray advising me that he had prepared an article, "Body-builders Can Be Strong," which was prompted by the trend in the London area amongst the body-builders. 2/ I hit an extremely good spell -- making the following lifts (1954): 550 squat 2 reps 510 squat 5 reps 500 bench press 270 press 3 reps 270 press behind neck 2 reps 220 strict curl When Chas Coster (see photo above - left to right - Dave Sheppard - Pete George - Charles Coster - Tommy Kono ) learnt of this he was extremely pleased because it would emphasize the importance of POWER TRAINING, of which he has long been a great advocate. Many authorities are inclined to stress too much importance on technique rather than on power. 3/ An old copy of S & H magazine showed up at the office showing Eder (photo above) as he was at 17-1/2 and giving a list of measurements along with his best lifts at the time. At a height of 5'7" and a bodyweight of 181 pounds - 340 bench x 2 250 press 370 squat x 10 That was exactly five years ago (1949) and for your interest his measurements now are: 5'7" 198 pounds 18" arms And his best on those three lifts are: 480 bench 350 press 500 squat x 5 sets of 2 Marvin's interest has always been on building a powerful physique and during our workouts together in 1951 (photo above) we used 350 pounds on bent-over rowing, also 120 pound dumbbells on the seated DB press -- the other lifts and poundages escape my memory. Interesting facts about both Eder and Hepburn -- whilst both train on the press and bench press, they do not practice these two lifts on the same day, and when utilizing the bench press to improve their pressing ability as I understand Davis also does, they use the same width of grip as they would when performing standing presses and start the press from the chest. Issy Bloomberg (photo above) who I had the pleasure of training with during my recent tour of South Africa, and who pressed over 300 pounds as an amateur is another lifter who appreciates the importance of power of body-building exercises such as the full and quarter squat, bench press, bent-over rowing, etc., in order to build up his body power and so benefit his Olympic lifting. Although I may be stepping on someone's corns, it has long been my contention that some of the British lifters who wondered why their performances do not compare with those of the Russians, American and Egyptians (taking the advantages of these countries' lifters into consideration such as time and standard of living) do not stress sufficient importance to such exercises as heavy squats, bench presses from the chest, rowing motions, deadlifts, etc. A comparison which comes to my mind is training for the "long jump." Whilst the actual jump is of importance, and needs to be practiced, it is a fact that sprinting plays an important part and most long jumpers are excellent sprinters. The same thing applies with the three Olympic lifts, whilst it is essential to practice the correct style, technique and performance of these lifts, it is true that such exercises as the full squat build up terrific power and coupled with actually performing the Olympic lifts assists improvement on the latter. Anderson is an example of this for he trained purely on the squat and built up his body power so much that when he went on to the Olympics his performances amazed even the most ardent physical culturists. In order not to confuse you, my interpretation of body power means performing exercises such as squats, deadlifts, bench presses from the chest and bouncing, which permit you to handle more weight and so build greater ligament and tendon power than can be derived from the practice of the press, snatch, and clean & jerk ONLY. Schedule Two You should now feel refreshed to start Schedule Two after training on Schedule One for a month and then having a full week off to rest up. Schedule Two involves training three times per week i.e. MON, WED, FRI, for a month. Please note the increase in poundages handled at the end of this time. Exercise 1: Squat With Bar At Sternum (Front Squat) Those of you who have never practiced this lift may experience difficulty in balance and also a strain on the wrists, but if you allow the bar to rest on the deltoids instead of trying to hold it at the chest you will find it much easier. This exercise is also very beneficial to lifters who employ the squat style technique. Perform 5 sets of 5 repetitions. Exercise 2: The Clean and Press For poundages and repetitions I would suggest that if your best Press is 250 pounds, warm up with 200 x 2 reps, then 220 x 2, and finally 5 sets of 2 with 230. If you are still strong, perform 2 sets of jerk presses with 240-250, doing 3 reps a set. When you are able to perform this schedule increase your poundages by 5 pounds throughout. Use a slightly wider than shoulder width grip. Exercise 3: Upright Row This exercise has quite recently been accepted by the A.A.U. as one of their strength lifts. Using the same grip as when performing cleans, lift the bar from the floor until it rests across the thighs and then with a hard fast pull lift the bar up until it touches the neck with the elbows held up high, and then lower the bar to the thighs and repeat from there. Perform 5 sets of 5. Exercise 4: Parallel Bar Dip This is a particular favorite of Eder, and I well remember his brother telling me that he considered this exercise had done more for Marvin than any other. Perform 5 sets of 8 and use added weight. Exercise 5: Dumbbell Curl Numerous men, such as Grimek, have handled 100 pound bells on this exercise. Perform 5 sets of 5. Exercise 6: Deadlift When following both schedules only do deadlifts once a week, on an off day and on their own. Work up in singles to the highest poundage you can lift.
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