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  1. Decided to train today and test out my grip strength by lifting a 12" long dumbbell with a 3" custom thick grip handle by Watson. UK company Watson Gym provide amazing custom gym equipment which can be shipped World Wide! They're not the usual dumbbell handles you would buy out of Argos, or a typical fitness equipment shop. These handles by Watson are custom made on ordering, manufactured to my own needs. They can be made to various lengths and grip thickness. After I failed on my heaviest attempt I decided to experiment and repeat the process but instead using a longer (20 inches) dumbbell handle with only a standard grip size (1.25") but add 3" Alpha Grips by Iron Bull Strength (* Apply "strengtholdschool" at checkout to SAVE 10%!). The plan was to test out if there was a significant difference between using thick grip custom handles and fat grips. The end result was 'no'. Here's the video: Lifts went as follows... (no chalk was used) Set 1: 3" Thick Grip Handle + 5 kg (11 lbs) - Success Set 2: 3" Thick Grip Handle + 10 kg (22 lbs) - Success Set 3: 3" Thick Grip Handle + 15 kg (22 lbs) - Success Set 4: 3" Thick Grip Handle + 20 kg (45 lbs) - Success Set 5: 3" Thick Grip Handle + 25 kg (55 lbs) - Success Set 6: 3" Thick Grip Handle + 30 kg (66 lbs) - Fail with both hands Set 1: 3" Fat Grip Handle + 5 kg (11 lbs) - Success Set 2: 3" Fat Grip Handle + 10 kg (22 lbs) - Success Set 3: 3" Fat Grip Handle + 15 kg (22 lbs) - Success Set 4: 3" Fat Grip Handle + 20 kg (45 lbs) - Success Set 5: 3" Fat Grip Handle + 25 kg (55 lbs) - Success Set 6: 3" Fat Grip Handle + 30 kg (66 lbs) - Fail with both hands I purchased my "Watson" custom dumbbell handles back in 2018. Here's a comparison between two similar dumbbell handles by Watson...Both are 12 inches long but differ in grip thickness. One measures 3 inches, the other is standard size i.e. 1.25". I was browsing through files on my computer trying to find a video or photo which showed how heavy the 3" thick grip custom dumbbell handle was and luckily I found it. I knew I had it. The handle weighed roughly 3.3 kg (7.3 lbs). I'm still in two minds whether it's worth buying thick grip implements likes axles, custom thick grip dumbbell handles etc given that it's probably much cheaper and much easier to simply slap on some Fat Grips to regular dumbbell and barbell handles. You can even simply and quickly add fat grips to the handles of cable machines and pull up bars etc, their brilliant. At this point in time I won't get rid of my custom thick grip axles and dumbbell handles but it's something to think about. My thoughts on Alpha Grips by Iron Bull Strength... These Alpha Grips by Iron Bull Strength are just as good as Fat Gripz. Different shape to Fat Gripz which I suppose is meant to suit the natural grooves of the hand better. The thick Alpha grips are slightly shorter in length also which I find better fits certain gym equipment handles. I own a set of standard dumbbell handles which unfortunately the Fat Gripz did not fit. Thankfully the Alpha Grips do. I own three sets of Alpha Grips... 2" grips, 2.5" and 3". The photo displays the 3" Alpha Grips. Surprisingly, Fat Gripz do not offer a 3" set which I don't understand. Alpha Grips are extremely handy to have to transform regular gym equipment exercises into more demanding and challenging work. They would easily fit into your gym bag for convenience. These bad boys will save you money buying thick grip barbells and thick custom dumbbell handles which can easily cost between £100 - £500+ depending on which company you buy from. The only negative I have is the friction generated from doing higher reps which tends to burn the skin slightly due to the rubber material. I don't feel this friction with regular steel barbells and dumbbells. This is not a deal breaker and I'm pleased I purchased these thick grip training tools. Definitely makes training more fun and stresses the fingers, hands, wrists and forearms very well which according to science, produces better gains in muscle and strength. Whether that's true or not, I'm not 100% sure but there's definitely more stress placed on the muscles and in a good way. Whether you buy Fat Gripz or Alpha Grips, they will last you a life time! They feel virtually indestructible. My advice...Unless you have massive hands, only buy the 2" Alpha Grips first and test them out for a period of time. Take your time to ease into thick grip training as I plunged straight into buying the 3" grips which resulted in hand and wrist pains which I assume was due to pushing too much weight too soon with such a large thicker grip. My hands just weren't used to it. As a result, I had to stop training for a period of time to let my hands, fingers, joints etc properly heal and recover. * Apply "strengtholdschool" at Iron Bull Strength checkout to SAVE 10%!
  2. While Bob Hoffman had the greatest influence on Olympic weightlifting, bodybuilding, and other strength sports in the sixties, Doc Ziegler (pictured above) had the greatest impact. Doc was a pure scientist who became fascinated with strength development. His innovations did more to alter the course of this aspect of physical training that any other individual, before or since. John Bosley Ziegler was a fourth generation doctor. His great-grand-father served in the Civil War as a physician for the Union Army. Doc was a Civil War buff with a large collection of medical paraphernalia from that era who often dressed up in garb to attend some Civil War convention or reenactment. His grandfather was a country doctor and his father a combination of practicing physician and research scientist. Appropriately, he attended Gettysburg College as a pre-med student in 1938 and upon graduation joined the Marines. Fighting in the pacific, he was badly wounded and was told by the attending doctors that he would never be able to walk without the use of crutches because he had lost his right collarbone and would never lift his right hand above his head again. Doc had always been an active person, so he ignored what the military doctors had told him and began experimenting with a variety of exercises to help remedy his physical defects. After he was discharged from the Marine Corps Hospital, he enrolled in the University of Maryland Medical School. All through medical school, he continued to get corrective surgery at the Veteran’s Hospital. After graduation and four years of internship and residency, he set up a private practice next to his home in Olney, Maryland. He was using resistive training for his ongoing rehabilitation when he learned that the center of Olympic weightlifting was located just across the Mason-Dixon line in York, Pennsylvania. He made several visits to the York Barbell Company located on Broad Street. He was extremely impressed with what he found there: John Grimek, Steve Stanko (pictured below), two of the greatest Olympic lifters and bodybuilders in the history of physical culture. He got to meet Tommy Kono, Dave Sheppard, Norb Schemansky, Issac Berger, and Jim Bradford as they came through for workouts prior to some major contest. He also met Hoffman, who understood right away in the value of having a medical doctor associated with the York organization. Doc, in turn, liked the idea of having what he considered to be the strongest athletes in the country at his disposal. So a deal was made and when the US Olympic Weightlifting Team traveled to Vienna in 1954 for the World Championships, Doc Ziegler went along as the team physician. This trip set the stage for what would eventually become a revolution in not only Olympic weightlifting and bodybuilding, but in every sport that needed greater strength. Which basically means all of them. In Vienna, every night the coaches of the Russian team and those lifters who had already competed would party hard into the wee hours of the next morning. Americans didn’t fraternize with the Russians. For a number of reasons. The Cold War being the main one, but they were also very loud, most didn’t bother to bathe very often, and they reeked of garlic. Doc didn’t care and soon they adopted him as one of their own because he was able to hang with them drink for drink. Doc had purposely made friends with the Soviet team, but it had nothing to do with creating good will between the two countries. He wanted to find out as much as he could about how the Russians were training. Plus anything else that might have an influence on their programs. It didn’t happen right away since the Russians had been well-trained to keep their mouths shut. But after a full week of everyone getting drunk together he discovered that they had been experimenting with testosterone. He carried this information home and used the hormone on several lifters at York. John Grimek (pictured below) was one of them. After a few weeks, Grimek told Doc that he never felt any effects one way or the other after taking the testosterone, so Doc gave up on that idea and set about designing the first anabolic steroid. He took the idea to CIBA Pharmaceutical Company and soon thereafter Dianabol was born. The New Jersey-based company wanted the drug to be used for patients who were severely debilitated. In theory, it would help build muscle with only a minimum of activity. The tests showed remarkable results, even for burn patients and those who were so weak they were confined to wheelchairs. Doc understood immediately the implication for weightlifters and wanted to test it on one of the York lifters. However, he wasn’t trying to build an army of super strongmen, he merely wanted to see what would happen when a healthy, well-conditioned athlete used Dianabol. At this same time, he had read some German research where the athletes were using isometric contractions to gain more strength. The idea of pushing or pulling against a stationary object had its roots in Dynamic Tension, but what Doc came up with was something quite different. He expanded on the basic concept and came up with a complete training system and began using it himself on a power rack that he designed in his home gym. He started making gains on a regular basis and could even lift very heavy dumbbells overhead with his bad right arm. Something that the doctor at the Veteran’s Hospital had told him would be impossible. He needed a test subject for both Dianabol and his new form of training. This person had to meet some specific requirements. He had to live fairly close to Doc’s place since that is where all the training would take place. He had no intention of driving back and forth to York five times a week. It was a 180-mile round trip. Doc was also looking for a young athlete who hadn’t as yet made his mark in Olympic lifting. And most importantly of all, this individual must possess a high degree of dedication and be able to follow instructions to the letter. This was essential since the subject had to come to the training site, Doc’s home gym, every scheduled training day and a skipped session would disrupt the entire experiment. This would, in effect, be a full-time job. Ziegler approached Hoffman with his idea, but Bob wasn’t all that excited about it. He felt it reeked too much of Dynamic Tension, a method of training that he had been blasting for years in his magazine, Strength & Health. But when someone sent him an article about the usefulness of isometric training, he agreed to foot the bill for Doc’s experiment. Hoffman informed Doc that he thought Bill March would be the ideal subject. Bill was an outstanding athlete and had recently won the Middle Atlantic Championship in the 181-pound class with a 745 total. Hoffman approached Bill about the idea and March quickly accepted. It was suggested that Bill stay with Doc. There was plenty of room in Doc’s big house, but Bill rejected this notion right away. He wanted to sleep in his own bed with his new wife. He just wouldn’t be comfortable living with Doc. It appeared that the plan had hit a major roadblock. There was really no other lifter living in the area who fit the bill. Then, Smitty came forth with a solution. He volunteered to drive Bill to and from Doc’s house every training day. The 180-mile round trip on back country roads didn’t phase Smitty in the least. There was nothing he loved more than driving and the longer the trip, the better. There was really no way to drive from York to Olney easily. The back roads in Pennsylvania were laid out following animal trails and the route to Olney consisted of lots of sharp curves, narrow roads, most without shoulders. Few realized how important Smitty was in this whole process. Ziegler had a very short interest span. If this experiment didn’t happen right away, he would just turn his attention to something else. But it did happen and the results changed the face of Olympic lifting and bodybuilding quickly and eventually spilled over into other sports that utilized some form of resistive training. Bill March made gains that seemed unbelievable, going from an average light heavy, to becoming a national champion in the 198-pound division in only a couple of years and capped it off with a world record press of 354 ½ . Shortly after Bill began the drive to Olney to receive his daily allotment of Dianabol and go through the isometric workout under Doc’s guidance, Louis Riecke (photo below), a 35-year-old from New Orleans who had been competing for twenty years and was no more than a second-tier lifter, became the second test subject. By this time, Doc had modified his rack routine so that the bar was moved a short distance before being locked into an isometric contraction. This proved to be much more effective than just doing pure isometrics. Riecke, another exceptional athlete like March, took off like a comet. He broke the world record in the snatch, using the split style, with 325 pounds as a light heavy and in ’64 became a member of the Olympic Team that competed in Tokyo. Meanwhile, Hoffman was selling isometric courses and power racks like crazy. They couldn’t turn power racks out fast enough at his foundry to satisfy the demand. Nearly every high school and college in the nation began doing isometrics. And all were achieving a certain amount of success for their efforts, yet nowhere near what March and Riecke had accomplished. That was because they didn’t know about Dianabol. That was a closely held secret. Doc wanted it that way because he thought that if word got out, lifters would abuse the drug. Hoffman had another motive for keeping the drug usage under wraps. Dianabol gave the York lifters a tremendous edge over their opponents and there was nothing Hoffman liked more than having an advantage in business and athletics. While Hoffman was cashing in on the isometrics, Doc didn’t receive any extra money other than his agreed on salary for being the Director of the Hoffman Foundation. Unfortunately, whenever Doc Ziegler’s name comes up in a conversation or in print, it’s always associated with bringing steroids into the athletic community. This is fact, yet what few know is how they were used in the early sixties under Doc’s close supervision. The dosages were so low they would be considered ridiculous today. A lifter started out with five milligrams of Dianabol a day for two weeks. Then this was doubled to ten milligrams for two weeks, followed by twenty milligrams for another two weeks. At that point a liver function test was done and the athlete laid off the drug for the next six weeks, or even longer, before going on another cycle. I didn’t find out about steroids until I had been at York for six months and when I started taking Dianabol I was extremely wary of what it might be doing in my body. I followed the guidelines to a tee and so did all the other lifters who were there at the time. It was only after the word got out and the lifters began taking the drug on their own that they began to be abused. And once word did leak about the ’roids, isometric training disappeared almost overnight. Coaches and athletes figured that they’d been conned. It was the drugs and not the rack routine that had made March and Riecke so strong so fast. Which was only partly true. When the isotonic-isometric contractors were done just as Ziegler taught, lifters made a great deal of progress. But in a very short span of time, the only Olympic lifters in the country who were still including rack work in their programs were the York lifters who knew how to do the program correctly. It was truly a case of the baby being thrown out with the bath water. Photos below: Bill March performing Power Rack Training. When Doc learned that Dianabol was now being used in all parts of the country, he stopped writing scripts altogether. He had predicted what would occur and he was right on the money, but the genie had been released from the bottle and there was no turning back. Hoffman lined up a local doctor, Dr. Roseberry, on Market Street in York to take care of the scripts. And also made arrangements with Schultz’s Drug Store, which was only a few blocks from the York Barbell, now on Ridge Avenue. The scripts were brought into the drug store and the bill sent to the York Barbell. This was totally irresponsible and it got worse. Soon, a lifter didn’t even need a script. He just told the pharmacist what he wanted and signed the receipt. It was like giving a kid the key to a candy store. Eventually, the drug list expanded to uppers and downers plus any new drug the lifters could find in the P.D.R. So it was Hoffman, not Ziegler, who totally disregarded the potential problems with this wholesale, reckless dispensing of drugs to any lifter who represented York. And over the next few years, this list grew exponentially to over thirty lifters and that’s not even counting the many hundreds of athletes who got what they needed through the black market. When Doc learned of this insane practice, he hit the roof. He fully understood that competitive athletes are compulsive by nature and lifters should never be allowed to waltz into a pharmacy and leave with whatever their little hearts desired. To add to the problem, this was going on when the entire country was going through the drug culture. Doc tried to persuade Hoffman to stop the usage of Dianabol, but his words fell on deaf ears. Hoffman was adding more and more top-flight lifters to the York team and he liked being in that lofty position. There was no going back anyway. If he had cut off Schultz’s the lifters would have merely found another source for the drugs they wanted. Doc once told me that he wished he had never introduced Dianabol into the experiment with March and Riecke. All he was trying to do was conduct a controlled clinical experiment. But by this time, Doc had moved on to something new, the Isotron. He had been given an exercise machine made at the turn of the century by his father. It ran on electricity. Like many of his inventions, he took an old idea and vastly improved it. What he came up with was very unique. No other machine that has come on the market that promotes muscle stimulation can come close to the Isotron. Several companies have attempted to duplicate its action, but they have all failed. Basically, the Isotron could stimulate muscles and attachments to contract without the patient doing anything. Other than holding on for dear life in some cases. Pads were applied on either side of a muscle and a dial indicated how much juice was going into the muscle. He designed it with rehabilitation in mind, but tested it on the York lifters. Doc never recorded any of the results and kept no notes, so what he did in this regard is basically lost, except for what Smitty and Bill St. John know about what transpired. It was Smitty who gave the treatments and later on, Bill learned how to use the machine as well. It worked, but since there was no statistical evidence from a large body of subjects and nothing was done in a controlled manner, few people actually believe it can produce any results in terms of strength gains. There is, however, ample verification on the empirical level, March, Ernie Pickett, Tommy Suggs, Bob Bednarski, Tony Garcy, and Homer Brannum all utilized the machine and it helped each and every one of them. Both Picket and Bednarski (photo below) broke the world record in the press after using the machine in 1968. March sometimes used it exclusively and Suggs was a huge fan. I also used it and have to admit I didn’t care for it at all. It was, to me, like being in a torture machine. When Smitty or Doc cranked up that dial, you were in extreme pain. I could get away with working my upper-body and back, but the instant the intensity was increased for my legs, the muscles would lock in a cramp. More like a spasm than a regular cramp and I was unable to handle it. I much preferred moving iron, so that’s what I did and left the Isotron to my teammates. The machine was especially useful for those who were nursing some sort of injury and couldn’t go through a full workout. Homer Brannum used it when he had a sprained wrist. Tommy benefited from it when his knees hurt him so badly that he couldn’t squat, and Bednarski made use of it while he was rehabbing his dislocated elbow. As I said, the workouts on the machine were not fun. Forget water-boarding, when Doc or Smitty locked a muscle in full contraction, sweat poured out of you and you wished you had a stick to bite down on. Doc had a rather perverse sense of humor and would encourage the person receiving treatment to vent his pain by shouting out certain words. Doc knew that he had you by the short hairs and would make the athlete shout out cuss words or racial expletives. I had just turned into the driveway of the Foundation one afternoon and I could hear Homer screaming out the N-word over and over. I knew he was on the treatment table. Bill St. John tells this story about Ernie Pickett and the machine. The two were visiting Doc at his office in Olney when a group of people showed up requesting to see the Isotron in action. Doc volunteered Ernie for the demonstration and as he was getting everything set up, he told Ernie, “If the contraction is too intense and you want me to back off a bit, you have to say ‘Ne-Ne-Na-New.'” At the time, Ernie was weighing over 300 pounds and was one of the top heavyweights in the world. He felt that it would be too demeaning to say anything that silly in front of total strangers, so he held out and held out even when his muscles were crying for relief. Doc, of course, knew he had to break him and kept increasing the level of contraction. Finally, Ernie was crying out “Ne-Ne-Na-New” so loudly that half of Olney surely heard him. You might be wondering, if the Isotron was so great, why didn’t it ever emerge on the national scene? Basically because of two reasons. Doc had been burned so many times in the past by hustlers that he was no longer a trusting man. His recent association with Hoffman and the whole steroid deal only increased his lack of trust. There were a number of companies that did make him very generous offers for the machine, but Doc believed that once they had the Isotron, they would market it as they pleased and have no more use for him or his ideas. He was most likely correct in that assumption. Also, Doc was not a businessman. Nor did he want to be one. That facet of life didn’t interest him in the slightest. He never came up with a new idea for the sake of monetary gain. He was a pure scientist. Developing a concept and seeing it bear fruit was sufficient reward for him. Readers might be surprised to know that the Isotron is still around. Bill St. John inherited it and he is the right person to have it. Bill probably received more treatments on the machine that any other athlete. He was a devoted disciple of Doc’s and an observant student. He, along with Smitty, were the only people who knew how to operate the machine correctly. And he still uses it in much the same way as his mentor did – to help people overcome physical problems. Doc was never at a loss for ideas. Long before anyone ever mentioned negatives, Doc taught Tommy and I how to do them. He came up with several nutritional supplements that were so far ahead of their time that he could have made a nice bundle if he would have marketed them. But he didn’t because the idea was the thing. One called Fruc-tabs, combined a fast-acting sugar, fructose, with a slow-acting sugar, sorbitol. They were fantastic, providing a steady, long-lasting energy that made them ideal for tough workouts and contests. He combined vitamins C, E, and B12 into a chewable tablet. He felt that these were the three most essential vitamins for athletes and they really boosted energy levels. He was the first person to note the importance of the amino acid L-lysine and believed that hard-training athletes needed to take a healthy supply of this nutrient daily. Which I have been doing ever since he started me on the supplement. Besides dealing with the York athletes, Doc was a very busy man. At one point, in the early sixties, he was seeing as many as eighty patients a day in his little office near his house. He was also the Medical Director of the W. R. Grace Company and an Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine at Georgetown Medical School. Throw in Medical Officer for Committee on Civil War Re-enactments, Medical Examiner and member of the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America, being the Team Physician for the U.S. Olympic weightlifting teams and you understand that the man was always into something. But with all that responsibility, Doc was notorious for his ability to party long and hard. No one could actually stay with him when he went on one of his runs to blow off some steam. Tommy (pictured below) came the closest since he had a history of partying over the top himself. Doc would pick Tommy up and they would rendezvous with Kitty, Doc’s squeeze, and a companion for Tommy and they would hit every watering hole between York and Gettysburg, sometimes partying for two days and nights. Tommy would be a wreck for a week. Fortunately for his health, Kay Suggs quickly put a stop to those shenanigans. When Dr. Gourgott (pictured above - far left) came to York for the ‘68 Nationals, he decided that he would take advantage of being in the east and go visit Ziegler. His purpose was to learn everything that Ziegler knew about all aspects of strength training including how to use the power rack and also gather some insight on what Doc knew about nutrition. Gourgott called Doc and asked if he could come down for a visit. “Sure, come on down,” Doc responded. Gourgott (full name: Dr John Gourgott I believe) took great pride in his intellect, as well he should. He went off the charts on the I.Q. exam. He believed that by the time he left Olney that night he would know all of Ziegler’s most guarded secrets about strength training. Full of anticipation, he drove to olney, going over and over the multitude of questions he planned to ask Ziegler. When Gourgott (pictured below) got to the door of Ziegler’s house, Doc stepped out and said, “Come with me. I’m going out for a drink.” Gourgott readily agreed, thinking he would have Doc all to himself and that “a drink” meant just that. Or perhaps a couple. However, that was never the case with Doc when it came to drinking. Ziegler drove them to a bar when he met some of his friends. So much for having him all to myself, thought Gourgott but decided to wait Doc out. It was a long wait. Gourgott became so frustrated and tired that he ended up sleeping in one of the wooden booths in the back. In the wee hours of the morning, Ziegler drove Gourgott back to his car. Gourgott never got to ask Ziegler a single question about training since he had to get back to York. He was competing the next day. Doc was a most imposing individual, standing 6’ 4” and weighing over 270 pounds. He added to his stature by wearing wide-brim cowboy hats and cowboy boots. He completely dominated any gathering, no matter how large. When he walked into an auditorium, everyone knew instantly that he had arrived. He was exuberant, loud, and sometimes downright rowdy. And he was always willing and ready to express his opinion on a subject, regardless of the other person’s feeling on the subject. Doc Ziegler was the only person who could upstage Hoffman. A fact that Hoffman was well aware of and didn’t care for at all. He loved to startle and shock people. Better yet, a large group of people. He once built a gallows in his front yard for no other reason than to irritate his staid Olney neighbors. He wore outlandish outfits, usually some form of old military uniform from the Civil War or cowboy outfits, and threw out politically incorrect names for all races indiscriminately. Smitty tells of an episode when he and Doc stopped in Westminster, Maryland, on the way back to Olney from York. They went in a bar and Doc ordered a double shot of whiskey. Nothing unusual about that, except he was dressed as an Amish preacher. When Doc ordered a second double, he asked the bartender whether it seemed strange for him to be drinking so much. “Yes, it does,” the bartender replied refilling Doc’s glass. “Well,” Doc told him. “I’m working on a sermon about good and ee-vile. I know a lot about good, but I need to find out more about ee-vile, so keep the drinks coming.” Those who knew him well fully understood that this was all for show. Deep down he was a very caring person. He never turned anyone away who was in need of medical attention, regardless of race or creed. He provided medical care to countless minorities in the Olney community who could not afford to pay him. The local Blacks regarded him highly for he was always there for them. I got along very well with Doc. As part of his deal with Hoffman, he was supposed to write a monthly article for Strength & Health for the Hoffman Foundation. I quickly learned that he didn’t care for this task at all. It was menial work, below his intellect. When his articles came in they were invariably late and required a great deal of rewriting to get ready for the magazine. So I suggested that he give me some ideas of subjects for his articles and I would write out a first draft. Then I would bring the draft to him to go over and make notes. I would type the final draft. This worked out in his favor and he was most grateful. He provided me with a great deal of information to help me get healthier and therefore stronger. Ways to get in more work and still be able to recover from the heavier load. One time, he scared the hell out of me. He said, “Starr, you need to stop drinking milk and avoid all dairy products, Strontium-ninety is an extremely harmful radioactive isotope of strontium that is present in the fallout from nuclear power plants and contaminates the grass that cattle eat. It’s passed on to humans in their milk and other dairy products made from milk.” So for two weeks, I did without milk and other dairy, including to my great regret, the daily milkshake at the dairy bar in the Barbell. I lost an appreciable amount of bodyweight since I depended on the shakes to maintain my weight. As a result, I began to lose strength. I finally decided to take my chances with the isotope and went back to eating dairy products and drinking protein milkshakes. I never knew for sure if he meant what he was telling me or just jerking me around. Which he was often prone to do for his own amusement. After both of us had broken all ties with the York Barbell, I called him and told him I wanted to come down and talk about advertising his supplements in my magazine Weightlifting Journal. He was agreeable so I drove from Thomasville to Olney. A visit to Doc’s place was always memorable and this was no exception. I found him in his office and we discussed what needed to be done for him to market his products. Everyone who had used them loved them, especially the Fruc-tabs. The first thing he needed to do, I said, was name your company. He told me to call it Clyde Labs. Clyde was his pet beagle who he regarded with more esteem than he did most humans. I would run ads for his products in my publication in exchange for product. That settled, he invited me to stay for dinner. I accepted since Doc was a great host with lots of tales to tell. Doc lived in a rambling frame house with his wife Lillian, who he had meet in med school and graduated with him. She was the Chief Pediatrician of the Outpatient Services at Walter Reed Hospital. They had three children: James, the oldest, Carol (Murph), and William (Kneedeep). Kneedeep because Doc said he was always in trouble. Doc sat at the head of the table and in a highchair next to him sat Clyde. Clyde wore a little bib and was the recipient of the first offering from each of the dishes. I sat next to Clyde and Murph while the two boys occupied the chairs across the table. Lillian didn’t sit at the table. Rather she perched on a stool by the kitchen door where she responded to all of Doc’s requests instantly. I had a notion that all this was staged, but when I noticed that Clyde displayed perfect table manners and no one paid him any extra attention, I came to believe that this was done on a regular basis. I tried to relax and enjoy the moment, but I couldn’t. I was told that the house boa constrictor had gotten free from his cage so I was constantly checking to see if the house pet had wandered into the dinning room. This definitely wasn’t the Brady Bunch. Doc Ziegler was a pure scientist and humanitarian who had the misfortune to be associated with a greedy group of people who were only interested in money. He ended up bitter and disappointed. He died in 1987. He was 68. By Bill Starr
  3. 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.
  4. How to Build Strong and Powerful Triceps By Charles A. Smith (1953) Edited By: Strength Oldschool There was a play written some years ago by the late George Bernard Shaw, and although you lifters likely won’t be the least bit interested in it, I think you will be in its title . . . “Arms and the Man,” because regardless of the fact that they might be beginning lifters, physique champions, or just plain ordinary members of the public, everyone associates a large, muscular and powerful pair of arms with a manly, forceful character. A pair of well-developed arms sets off a man’s physique; that is certainly true, and it is also a fact that people often judge you by your body and its shape. I have yet to meet a bodybuilder who hasn’t at one time or another spent twice as much time exercising his arms as any other part of his physique, and I have yet to hear of one who was satisfied with the results that followed. The most common complaint among bodybuilders seems to be this . . . “My arms just won’t grow. I’ve curled and curled but they won’t grow.” Now it is easy for me to see why they fail on a program, but it isn’t always so easy for a beginning lifter. Experienced men have discovered their own easiest and fastest way to gain arm size and strength, and have found the main rules that ensure continued progress. But the newcomer often finds himself unable to make any gains, and is also unable to figure out why. Now, developing size and strength in the arms is not all that difficult, so why is it that some fail, and what is the best way to correct that failure. The key to the problem lies in an understanding of arm muscle function and training methods. Every beginner trains to get bigger arms, but trains along the wrong lines, for he almost always devotes the major portion of the time spent in arm training in curling. One of the hardest tasks I know is trying to convince beginners that large arms are not obtained by curling but by exercising the triceps; that the bodybuilders with the largest, best-developed and most powerful arms are those with the biggest and strongest triceps. Now it is true that the biceps muscle does add greatly to he shape of the upper arm and is responsible for some coordinated pulling strength, but it is the triceps that gives power and bulk. One muscle has only two sections, while the other has three, all of them contributing to the overall qualities. Glance at the photo of any great physique model or strongman, especially one who is famous for arm massiveness. You will notice that the arm as a whole looks big. There’s nothing disproportionate about it. A great meaty curve to the triceps and a full, often high biceps formation that is even further set off by the muscle on the underside of the arm. It is obvious that a great deal of specialized bulk work has gone into building it up to such a model of strength and physical perfection. Where do we go from here? One step further, to the training routines of these men. What magic have they used here? No magic, but simply finding out the functions of the muscle and applying certain straightforward principles. But there are other factors. It is a fact that a great proportion of lifters are not nearly as flexible in the use of their exercises and routines as they could afford to be. Most of them use one or two movements for each basic muscle group and grind away month after month whether they make progress or not. The experienced, thinking man retains a favorite movement, and in addition uses a wide variety of exercises over the years, thus working the muscles with many different approaches. Take Reg Park, for instance. Reg’s favorite triceps exercise is the standing French, or triceps press movement (see photo below). He also uses presses behind the neck with a barbell, bench triceps presses and some dumbbell triceps work. That is the pattern behind almost every successful lifter’s arm strengthening and building progress. Keep to a favorite exercise and select a changing variety of movements for the same muscle group. The favorite movement can always be retained, but the rest of the schedule is changed as soon as it fails to yield further results. Marvin Eder uses bench presses with varying width grips for his triceps power and bulk. This is the main exercise, but he’ll often go to the dipping bars (see photo below) and pump away at scores of sets of dips with a heavy weight tied around him. Then he’ll go on to other triceps movements. Workouts are kept enjoyable in this manner and enthusiasm and challenge are always maintained. When any particular muscle group is given special attention, that constitutes specialized training and one has to take into consideration not only the exercises and apparatus used, but also such matters as diet and rest. Any specialization routine entails the use of a lot of energy, both physical and nervous. You’ve got to work hard and sometimes work on your nerve to jar those triceps muscles into greater power and growth, then let them rest until ready again. The triceps straightens the forearm on the upper arm. You don’t even have to move the upper arm to get full triceps benefit. Hold your upper arm tight against the side of the body, and straighten the forearm out from the curl finish position. As you move the forearm, resist with your other hand; hold the left hand with the right and just straighten the arm from the biceps flexes position. You’ll feel how much work your triceps does. So, you will soon be able to prove to yourself that the triceps are worked pretty fully in all arm extensions. They are in their most powerful position when the upper arms are level with the shoulders, for overhead presses, and start to exert their main force from here. From here to arms’ length, there is a powerful movement or contraction of the triceps muscle. The advantage of using demanding poundages and utilizing the Multi Power (power) rack in a triceps routine should also be explained now. Muscle receives the greatest stimulus from heavy resistance. You might say, “What if the weight is so heavy that I can’t even move it from the starting position? ” If you shorten the range over which the weight is moved you will find that you can handle that “immovable” weight. In other words, if you perform a half squat instead of a full squat, you can handle poundages far in excess of your full squat limit. The same applies to any exercise, and you can build the power of ligament, tendon, and muscle, but you’ll become mentally accustomed to handling heavy poundages. And this, in my opinion, is half the battle. Here I’m going to give you five triceps exercises. First you should use your favorite triceps movement, no matter what it is. Use the exercise that has proven to give you the best results over time, and perform each repetition from complete extension to contraction. After you have completed three or four sets of this movement, start your rack triceps routine. Each exercise should be used as a “half movement” at first, with the resistance increased either by adding more weight, or by lowering the bar in the rack. A good plan is to increase the bar a single hole and continuing in this manner as long as possible. Then you can return to the half movement again and handle considerable more weight. The illustration of the exercises give you the approximate half positions but you will have to experiment a little and find the position which is most comfortable for you to start at. Each exercise should be concentrated on intensely. The triceps muscles can stand a great deal of work and you need not fear you’ll overwork them. Use as heavy a weight as possible, beginning with 4 sets of 5 or 6 repetitions, working up to 4 sets of 10 or 12 repetitions before lowering the starting position, and eventually increasing the poundage. Exercise 1. Seated Lock Out Presses: Place an exercise bench inside the rack. Sit on the bench so the bar is in back of the neck, and level with the top of the head, or at such a height that the upper arms are horizontal. Grip the bar with a fairly narrow grip. Press to arms’ length, lower slowly and repeat the movement. Note, as shown in the accompanying illustration, that the elbows are pointing forward and not to the sides so as to place the strain on the triceps. Exercise 2. Standing Lock Out Presses: The bar should be raised to such a height that it is in the press position just above the top of the head, or at such a height that the upper arms are horizontal. Grip the bar with a hand spacing just slightly less than shoulder width. Press to arms’ length, elbows facing front, lower steadily and repeat. Exercise 3. Standing Triceps Press - Palms Up: Take a look at the illustration and notice the position of the lifter. The forearms are level with the ground while the upper arms point straight up and the elbows face forward. The bar is gripped with a narrow hand spacing, palms of the hands facing up, and is raised to arms’ length and then lowered slowly. Exercise 4. Lying Triceps Press - Palms Down: Set the bar in the rack so that when you lie under it, your forearms are level or slightly above level with the floor and your upper arms pointing straight up. Again you use a narrow grip but this time the palms of the hands are turned down. This is a very tough triceps movement and you’ll have to fight to get the weight to arms’ length. Don’t forget to control the bar down to starting position and note the elbow position. Exercise 5. Supine Lockout Presses: You’ll be able to use hundreds of pounds in this movement, and you’ll certainly get strong, bulky triceps. Set the bar to the position indicated in the drawing. Get under the bar and grip it palms forward with a hand spacing just less than shoulder width, elbows properly positioned. Press the bar to arms’ length, then again use that controlled lowering to return to the starting position. In all these movements you must use the greatest amount of weight possible, in combination with the sets and repetitions indicated. Concentrate fully on the action of the muscle, be determined that you are going to build strong, powerful triceps of great development. Don’t forget to obtain plenty of rest and good food, high in protein content, but above all, WORK HARD! Schedules are peculiar things. They won’t work unless you do.
  5. Chuck Sipes Bench Press Power Training Program - 5 Days a Week By Dennis B. Weis We shall now look into the training wisdom that Chuck Sipes has shared with me by letter and long distance phone conversation. One of the things that really impresses me about Sipes is this: he has never neglected to write a reply to my letters. He always answered immediately and his solutions were very well thought. The point that makes this a great effort on Chuck’s part is the fact that at the time I was in heavy correspondence with him (the late 1960’s) he was a youth counselor at a California reformatory, was doing strength shows worldwide and was in heavy competition for such titles as Mr. World and Mr. Olympia. He was also training to bench press 600 lbs. at a bodyweight of 230. It is hard to see where he could find the time to answer my letters as well as those of countless others he was in regular contact with. The one thing that I have noted about all the training advice from Chuck is his constant belief that one should include heavy supporting movements to build up the tendon and ligament strength. From the beginning of correspondence with Chuck he always stressed taking germ oils, sunflower seeds, papaya, peanuts and lots of milk. He always advised me to constantly add weight whenever I could for maximum stimulation of growth and strength. He once mentioned that I should use a jump rope for 4 sets of one minute all-out jumping at the end of my workouts. The one advantage to using the rope is that it only takes a small area in which to use it. Here in Alaska it’s not always possible to run outdoors! During one of my letters to Sipes, I was very interested in increasing my bench press. This is one of the routines that he suggested I use. For this Bench Press routine he said to begin at least 6 months before a meet. This is a five days per week routine which is very intense. There is much direct effort stimulating the ligaments and tendons. Monday & Wednesday * Warm up Prone, regular grip – 2 sets x 10 reps. Bench Press – 2x6; 2x4; 2x2; 4 singles. Tuesday & Thursday Heavy Supports – 5x8. (100 lbs. over best press from ¼ way down to lockout.) * Prones – Close to maximum poundage. Heavy Supports – 150 lbs. over best press, holding with a slight elbow bend. * Prones – close to maximum poundage. * NOTE by Strength Oldschool: Not sure what Chuck Sipes means by "Prones"? It may mean performing Lying Barbell Rows for the Back muscles. A modern gym equipment version of this exercise can be seen below... Friday Incline Press, wide grip, slowly – 4x6. Dumbbell Incline Press, slowly – 4x6. Pullovers, very light weight, deep breaths following 1 minute skipping – 2x20 Flat Flyes, very deep breaths – 4x8.
  6. 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.
  7. Train for Power - Part 1 (1954) By Reg Park Today physical culture has more followers than ever before, and in consequence the progress of the past few years has been amazing. Weight-lifting (read "strength" here) records are constantly being broken and the standard of physique has also improved. Unfortunately, however, bodybuilding and weight-lifting are for the most part regarded as two distinct sports, and it is rare indeed that you find a bodybuilder with REAL POWER or a weight-lifter with a PRIZE WINNING PHYSIQUE. By power I do not necessarily mean that one should become an Olympic lifter and specialize on the press, snatch, and clean & jerk. (Or a powerlifter, if written today). My interpretation of a powerful man is one who can put up a good performance on a variety of lifts, and one who instantly comes to my mind when I think of a strong man is Marvin Eder (see photo below), whom I consider to be The World's Strongest Man when bodyweight is taken into consideration. Marvin has successfully combined training for Power and Physique. His bench press of 480 pounds and his reported overhead press of 350 are the heaviest weights ever lifted by a man under 200 pounds bodyweight. John Grimek also comes into the above category -- having been an American weightlifting champion and winning every physique honor possible. Here in England we have two fine examples in Buster McShane and Bill Parkinson. But the fact remains that there are many top bodybuilders who cannot lift weights in accordance with their physique and at the same time there are strength trainers whose physiques leave much to be desired. When Stan Stanczyk (photo above) was the world light-heavyweight weightlifting champion, it was reported that some youngster who saw him on the beach did not believe that Stan was the world champion because the kid said, "I know fellows with bigger muscles than you." Whether this is true or not, I do not know, but it is a fact that Stan did devote a lot of time to bodybuilding. I have listed a number of exercises which I consider to be real Power Builders and can be used by bodybuilders and strength men alike. I have split them up into TWO SCHEDULES and would suggest that you train three non-consecutive days i.e. MON, WED, FRI, per week on Schedule One for a period of one month followed by a week's full layoff, and then train on Schedule Two three times per week for a month and note the increase in poundages handled at the end of this time. SCHEDULE ONE Exercise 1: Squat This is a great power builder and has been put to good use by such men as Anderson (photo below ) and Hepburn in their own training, but it is a lift which many weight-lifters omit completely; while bodybuilders tend to rely too much on squats to a bench. Like my good friend Leo Stern, I have always favored the parallel squat and prefer to wear heels on my lifting boots rather than placing the heels on a wooden block. The heeled boots give me a firmer base as well as greater confidence. You may have noticed that Kono lifts in shoes and Sheppard has a built up heel on his lifting boot. I also believe a belt should be worn when performing this lift. The squat should be performed for 5 sets of 5 repetitions -- increasing the poundage with each set. For example, I do 3 sets of 5 on the squat working up to the heaviest weight I can handle then I increase the weight by 100 pounds and do 1 set of 5 half squats, and then increase by another 100 pounds with which I perform 1 set of 5 quarter squats. It has been reported that Anderson can handle 1,500 pounds for the last method and Pete Farrar and myself used to perform 10 reps with 1,000 pounds. Exercise 2: Bench Press This lift has created a great deal of controversy overt the past few years but nevertheless both the B.A.W.L.A. and the A.A.U. now use it as a strength lift in championships. There are several pros and cons but if the lift is performed correctly (pressing each repetition from the chest) and not bounced off the chest, it is a great power builder both for deltoids and triceps as well as giving speedy development to the pectorals. The strict style does in fact cramp the pectorals more than the cheat style. This lift has done wonders for me (Photo of Park above) as I know it has done for Eder, Hepburn and Parkinson. A variety of grips can be used but I favor the same width as taken when performing Military pressing. 5 sets of 5 reps are ideal. Exercise 3: Two Hands Clean The technique of this lift has been fully covered in Al Murray's article on the Clean and Jerk so I will not dwell on it, other than to say 8 sets of 2 repetitions should be employed, working up to as heavy a weight as possible. This exercise can then be followed by taking a weight in excess of your best Clean off the squat stands and holding it at the shoulders for a count of 5. Repeat this 5 times. Exercise 4: Press Behind Neck Like most bodybuilders I have favored this exercise for shoulder development -- and in order to illustrate the power this lift can build I include here the best lifts of several prominent men: Doug Hepburn does repetitions with 300 pounds; Eder 300; Eiferman 280; Wells 280. The bar can either be cleaned or taken off the squat stand, whichever you prefer. The weight should then be pressed and not jerked to arms length and lowered until it touches the back of the neck. Perform 5 sets of 5 reps with the maximum weight possible. Exercise 5: Barbell Curl Perform this for 3 sets of 5 in strict style increasing the poundage if possible with each set, then increase the weight by 20 to 30 pounds and do 2 sets of 5 adapting the cheat or swing style. Exercise 6: Deadlift This lift should be practiced only once a week working up in singles until you have reached your maximum. It is better to attempt this lift on a rest day and not when performing exercises 1 to 5. There are of course other important factors which must be taken into consideration when training for power and in order of importance they are as follows: 1/ To overcome the fear of heavy weights by having a complete positive mental attitude when training. 2/ As much good food as possible especially meat, milk, fruit, starches, etc. 3/ 8-10 hours sleep each night. To read PART 2 click here!
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