Monday, April 14, 2014

PODCASTS - Natural Strength Night

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Natural Strength Night - Mind Force Radio

Host Bob Whelan

An informative, humorous, sometimes a little raucous, good-time of myth busting and honest training information from the trenches. We strive to help everyone involved with old school strength training (without steroids) to not make some common training mistakes. Along with great information, you'll hear a fair share of steroid bashing, flamingo sightings, breaking goons, iron game history, honest drug-free training information from various leaders and strength coaches in the field and results!  If your primary training information comes from reading "Muscle & Fiction" magazine we'll help get you straightened out. If you love high-intensity strength training, dinosaur style training and just like lifting heavy weights ... or loved Jack Lalanne, Sandow, Grimek, Peary Rader's old Iron Man magazine, Stuart McRobert's Hardgainer, Osmo Kiiha's The Iron Master, you will love the show. 

Please visit &  Listen to the show every Sunday night at 7PM!

Monday, March 31, 2014


Reprinted with permission from HARDGAINER issue #57, November-December 1998

I believe that any advice I could give to a young man trying to get big and strong would have to come from my own failure and the failure I see day in and day out at The Pit, the gym in Indiana I’m co-owner of. And remember, I have been deeply involved with training for longer than most readers have been alive.

I have never rejected helping anyone at The Pit who asks for help. But time has taught me that few people will listen. As a result, I give most of my advise with a lackluster enthusiasm, knowing that what I say will in the long run fall on unbelieving ears.

About a year ago a young man by the name of Justin Miles came to The Pit and someway got into powerlifting. I gave Justin very little help, but one of our lifters worked with him. After a few months of training, Justin went to a local powerlifting contest and lifted in the 148-pound class.

Justin was not new to training. He had been training for some years, and had worked, not just trained, in a Gold’s Gym in Clearwater, Florida. After the power meet Justin lifted in, the man who had been training him ran into some work problems and, having a wife and four children, had to leave the gym for a length of time. So Justin fell into my hands, or I fell into his, depending on how you look at it.

At 61 years of age I’m a semi grouch, and as I mentioned before, few listen, so why talk? But Justin was not easy to avoid and showed me that he would listen to every point I had to say. So I started working with him.

As usual I found he had plenty of injuries from doing movements that an average man can’t do, and from listening to people who foolishly tell you to work through pain. I also had to admit that I saw in Justin average genetics for powerlifting and knew he had to gain weight for his height in order for him to ever become decent in the sport.

Justin had been convinced by his past training to spend many hours in the gym, but for some reason he listened to my half-hearted reasoning to train less, and so he went to twice-a-week training. His program consisted of bench work on Mondays along with about six assistance exercises of one work set each, so his Monday workouts would have about eight work sets, two of them on the bench.

We trained the squat on Friday one week, and the deadlift on the next week, so during a given month we would train the squat twice, and the deadlift twice too.

On squat day we would work again about eight work sets, two work sets on the squat, and one each for the six assistance exercises. The deadlift workout was the same except that the deadlift substituted for the squat, and just one work set was performed for the deadlift (rather than the two for the squat). I have never got it in my mind that you can do over one work set of deadlifts correctly.

Now remember, Justin had a background in a gym. He lived to get big and strong long before he came to The Pit. He had been given advice from personal trainers who had spent time and money themselves learning what they knew. And bless their hearts, they probably believe the stuff they have been taught-but you can’t get big and strong that way.

So Justin, with all his might, went to work, and even though he works construction and is on his feet all day, he gained from 148 pounds to 184 in the six months he followed the routine I put him on. He has now decided that he does not want to gain weight for a while. He has discovered that gaining muscular weight is a simple thing, so simple that he could weigh 220 pounds in six more months. At his height, he has decided to stay in the 181-pound class.

As for eating, he ate lots of carbs, fat and protein, not cutting back on anything. If a person wants to gain weight and get strong, he cannot cut back on any macronutrient. You do not want a high-protein diet or a low-fat one or a high-carb one. You want a lot of each, and then you will get big and strong muscles, but only if you train brief and hard on the basics.

A note on the deadlift An important point about the deadlift is that you don’t need as much of a gifted lifter, to do well at it. What counts more is the willingness to work hard. With the bench press and squat, genetics are more influential in determining success than in the deadlift. But the deadlift is the lift that most lifters are lazy at. Plus, the deadlift is the exercise that lifters haven’t found a way to ruin using lifting paraphernalia, unlike in the other two powerlifts when in competition. So the deadlift is the only real lift left in powerlifting competition.

Update to: Tru Squat Machine Wanted


I just wanted you to know that a lady named Colleen, who lives in CA has contacted me and is giving me a Tru Squat. I am going to pick it up on Friday of this week. She was a former client of yours when she lived in DC and spoke highly of you. Anyway, she saw the ad posted on your site and got in contact with me.

I wanted to say thank you for doing that for me. I wasn't sure how I was going to be able to afford one, much less be given one, so its a blessing! I am going to put it to good use! I just remember reading about Drew Israel, "The living Wall" in HG using the Tru Squat when he had a "glass back". Excited about being able to squat again!

Colleen said you really put her through her paces with the 20 rep death sets!! I had to laugh!!

Again, thank you Bob. If you would not have done this for me, it would not have come together!

God bless,


P.S. When I get it set up, I will send you a picture of me inside! :) My wife cant stop smiling at my reaction of this whole thing. I feel like a kid at Christmas!!

Thanks a lot Troy for this happy email. It really put a smile on my face to read it. I would love that picture too. Great news and I hope you have some great workouts with it. Say hi to Colleen for me too!  -Bob

Thursday, February 20, 2014

FROM THE PIT - By Dick Conner

Reprinted with permission from HARDGAINER issue #61, July-August 1999

Finding out how much exercise you need and not how much your body can stand is still the biggest problem most weight trainees have failed to understand. In the last week two HARDGAINER readers have been in touch with me. Both were doing workouts that "would kill a horse" if done in the way "you must" in order to gain strength and size. On top of that they were doing way too much cardio work. One of them said that his workout takes him two hours to complete.

If you’re a hard gainer, then working out for two hours will wear you out.

The strongest man in the history of The Pit is Kelvin Hayes. Kelvin has been drug tested many times, both lie detector and urine. Plus I’ve watched his gains over the years and it’s evident to me that he has never used drugs.

Though Kelvin is not a hard gainer, if he trained the way of the two hardgainer readers who contacted me, then he would probably think he was a hard gainer. Kelvin has a 804 squat, 500 bench press and 695 deadlift.

At this stage, Kelvin never does cardio work. He could do a little, but very little, as it would cost him strength. Twenty minutes twice a week would be a max. But he does none.

How does Kelvin train? Over the years that I’ve seen him lift, he has had two basic movements for his upper body, and they are the bench press and a high incline. At times he has done other work, but his down-to-business movements are the bench and high incline, done with 8 reps and a couple of work sets. He also does deadlifts, squats and leg presses. Other than that, nothing else is even worth the mention. And remember, this is the amount of exercise that does the job for Kelvin. This is already less than most hard gainers use. If Kelvin can get the job done with so little exercise (but done hard), then hard gainers don’t need more exercise.

About fifteen years ago I trained a teenager called Dan Turpen. Dan was very gifted, with great muscle shape, good looks, and tougher than nails. Dan would work as hard as anyone I’d ever seen. I made it my business to see he worked hard, and I would have a good man training with him when I could, to get the best out of Dan. One such man was Jeff Sellers, Strength Coach at The University of Evansville. Jeff told me, "Every time I worked with Dan I got sick," such was the intensity Dan worked with.

Anyway, Dan went on to win the Teenage Mr. USA and along the way he attracted some writers and people from the bodybuilding scene. One such writer asked me about Dan’s program at the time. When I gave him the program--an abbreviated one, of course--the writer looked at it with horror, and proceeded to tell me he would put in the magazine that Dan was working out three days on and one off, which was nothing but a lie.


Dick Conner's Strongman Contest outside The Pit, Evansville, Indiana

Dick Conner is one of the most respected men in the Iron Game. He has loved the Iron Game and strength training since the early 1950s. While stationed in the Navy at San Diego, he trained with Leo Stern, the same man who trained the famous Bill Pearl. He is a retired police officer and suffered serious injuries in the line of duty that made training himself almost impossible. Dick decided to turn this into a positive situation and to use his knowledge to help others. 

He has been contributing to teaching others proper training methods for decades and runs one of the best hard-core gyms in the country, The Pit, in his home state of Indiana. He is the long-time coach of the famous PIT Powerlifting Team, which has won numerous drug-tested powerlifting championships. The PIT Powerlifting Team has won 19 state powerlifting championships and 9 national championships. The team has traveled all over the country to meet any challenger. Dick trains many athletes at the Pit and has also written numerous articles for HardGainer magazine and

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Parts Make the Whole - By Paul Carter

I always find it funny that after having been around a lot of very big, strong, powerful natural lifters over the years that we all have a similar make up. Not in physical terms so much, but in mental terms. It seems to me that guys who go on to become incredibly strong all have one thing in common. The mental ability to believe they could set lofty goals, and then apply hard work and dedication into conquering them. Some people think if you build a decent amount of muscle or strength that it’s simply a case of having great genes and that it came easy for you. Why can’t it be that the people who go on achieve decent gains have a penchant for hard work to go along with sheer determination? Obviously training plays a big part. Even a guy with the best genes and a ton of determination will have trouble gaining on a routine that’s tailor made for drug users. It all has to come together. These are the parts that make the whole.

Training = Is your workout geared specifically towards reaching your goals in an efficient manner?

Goal Setting = Do you know what your short term and long term goals are and do you have a plan to reach them?

Mental Focus = Are you applying yourself 100% to your sessions and making sure to milk each rep, set, and workout for all it’s worth?

Diet = Does your diet go hand in hand to help accomplish your goals? Does it give you enough vitamins, minerals, protein, carbs, and fats to help fuel your workouts and help you recover?

Recuperation = Are you getting enough sleep each night and enough rest between sessions?

Dedication = Are you making sure that you don’t let trivial things interfere with your workouts? Are you making sure not to skip your sessions?

All of the things on this list play a big part in reaching your goals. Look at the list and tell me; do you think it’s fair to point solely to your genes if all of the other things on this list are not in order? Don’t you think that, even with pretty lousy genes, you could build a lot of mass and power if you managed to get all of those things in order? I don’t think so; I know so. This is what separates the whiners and crybabies from the guys that go on to get big and strong.

No one is asking you to be a hermit and only leave the house to go to work/school and the gym. You still have to have a life outside of your training for sure. In fact, extremely hard training can only be done infrequently so it lends itself to giving you more free time. But if you are serious in your training, and you really strive to become bigger and stronger, then you must not let trivial things impede your training. For example, you blow off a squat workout to go out drinking and fishing with your boys. Or you blow off a deadlift session to go shopping with your girlfriends. This is not acceptable. You can still go out with the boys, go fishing, or shopping. But you better get up early that morning and get your squat or deadlift workout done before you go. Then you’re free to do what you want the rest of the day. This means that training must have a solid place in your schedule. You can make a small change to fit your training in with the other aspects of your life so that you, nor anyone else, are ever inconvenienced by it. This let’s you continue on your quest of meeting your size and strength goals, and at the same time you don’t have to alter your personal life very much. A serious trainer will make these small adjustments so that he can continue on with his training and still have a life, a job, and some sanity. In all reality, if you’re a serious lifter with a lot of passion for the iron, then you are already used to making these minor adjustments in your life. If you haven’t been making these adjustments, and you are upset with your lack of progress, then maybe you need to sit down and think long and hard about just how important training is to you. Is it a past time or a hobby that you enjoy, but don’t really want to go very far in? Is training something that you do only when it’s convenient and can fit into your schedule? If so, then you are not a serious trainer and need to shut up, and quit whining about your lack of progress and make some changes. If spending the summer out chasing girls every waking moment, or going out every night to bars takes precedence over training, then don’t complain about a lack of progress. Please note again, that I’m not saying that you can’t do these things, but if they cut into your progress, then you need to decide what is more important. Either you want to be a serious lifter and begin making a plan to reach your goals, or you’re a recreational lifter who has no real interest in becoming big and strong.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Stanley Anthony Stanczyk - By Osmo "John" Kiiha

Reprinted with the Permission of The Iron Master

          Happy-go-lucky Stan Stanczyk will always be remembered as the first lifter to win three successive world titles in three different classes. In 1946, he was the light-weight champion; in 1947, middleweight; and in 1948, he took the Olympic light-heavyweight title. Stanley went on to win three more World Championships in 1949 and 1950; and in 1951, as a light-heavyweight.
          Stanczyk was no ordinary strongman. He was in the possession of extraordinary athletic ability and split second timing. But above all, he was a wonderful competitor and a good sport.
          Stan burst onto the national scene in 1942 by winning third place at that year's Senior Nationals as a lightweight (145 BWT) - only his third contest to date.
          He racked up a total of 695 with lifts of a 195 press, a 225 snatch, and a 275 clean and jerk. On an extra attempt, Stan easily cleaned 300 pounds only to miss the jerk portion of the lift. Stanczyk was just two weeks past his 17th birthday... Click Here to Continue

Monday, December 30, 2013

Multiple Mr. American Contest Winners - By Osmo Kiiha

Reprinted with permission of The Iron Master

Over the years people have formed the opinion that John Grimek was the only multiple Mr. America winner, but in reality John was the two time winner of the AAU Mr. America title. The York Barbell Company with its flagship magazine "Strength & Health" pushed the notion that only the AAU Mr. America was the true title, and refused to recognize any other contest. In fact, Bob Hoffman the head of the York Barbell refused to recognize the first AAU Mr. America contest winner Roland Essmaker (1939) since he was not a member of the York Barbell Club, very little publicity was given to Essmaker in Strength & Health Magazine. For years Hoffman told the reading public that John Grimek was the first AAU Mr. America (1940) through the pages of Strength & Health. With this type of mentality it's no wonder that little or no publicity was given to the other factions running the Mr. America contest. If it were not for Peary Rader, the editor of Iron Man magazine, this history would have been lost through the years. Peary reported on all contests, no matter who ran them, he was not into the politics of bodybuilding and tried to stay neutral. Even Joe Weider reported on the AAU contest in his magazines (not always favorably) all the while organizing the IFBB with his brother Ben. Bow I don't want anyone to get the idea that the AAU Mr. America contest winners were not the cream of the crop of American bodybuilders. These men were the best America had to offer, probably the best physiques in the world. You will notice in the list that follows this article, the AAU contest winners also won the other organizations' contests. Harold Poole was the only man on the list that never won the AAU Mr. America. He placed second in 1962 and 1963. In my humble opinion Harold Poole should have easily won the 1963 Mr. America contest, but the powers to be didn't see it that way. Below area list of all the men that held more than one Mr. America title and the name of the organization that ran it. I did not list winners of Teen-age Mr. America, Jr. Mr. America, or Over- 40 Mr. America contests.

John Grimek

1940 AAU Mr. America
1941 AAU Mr. America

Clarence Ross

1945 AAU Mr. America
1946 Professional Mr. America (run by Walt Baptiste)

Alan Stephen

1946 AAU Mr. America
1947 Professional Mr. America (run bu Walt Baptiste)
1949 IFBB Mr. America (first IFBB Mr. America winner - Weider contest)

John Farbotnik

1950 AAU Mr. America
1951 Professional Mr. America (Walt Baptiste contest)

Harold Poole

1964 IFBB Mr. America (Weider contest)
1967 WBBG Mr. Americas (called Mr. Americas to avoid legal battle with the AAU)
1968 WBBG Professional Mr. America (both contests were sponsored by Dan Lurie)

Chris Dickerson

1970 AAU Mr. America
1973 WBBG Professional Mr. America (Dan Lurie contest)

Dennis Tinerino

1967 AAU Mr. America
1978 NBBA Natural Professional Mr. America (Chester Yorton contest)

Contest Promoters

AAU - Amateur Athletic Union

The AAU Mr. America contest started in 1939 and became the most prestigious bodybuilding title in the world, but lost most of its luster by the 1980s and the IFBB became the king of the hill. Today it's hard to find out who won the current AAU Mr. America title.

IFBB - International Federation of Bodybuilders

(IFBB President Ben Weider) First IFBB Mr. America contest was held in 1949, the second one held in 1959. IFBB struggled in the shadows of the AAU for years but by the 1980s it started forging ahead of the AAU and has never looked back. Today the IFBB is the largest bodybuilding organization in the world and soon to be recognized as an official Olympic sport.

WBBG - World Bodybuilding Guild

(ran by Dan Lurie) Started in 1967m around 1979 WBBG stopped running national level contests but was involved with East Coast physique shows into the 1980s.

NBBA - Natural Bodybuilders Association

(ran by Chester Yorton - 1966 NBBA Mr. Universe and 1966 IFBB Mr. America) NBBA stayed around for a few years from 1978 to 1982, then died off.

Walt Baptiste Professional Mr. America Contest

These contests were promoted by Walt Baptiste from 1946 through 1954 (no contest 1952 and 1953). I believe they were all held in the state of California. Walt was the former editor of Body Moderne magazine.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Collector's Corner - By Osmo Kiiha

Reprinted with permission of The Iron Master

Over this Christmas, a good friend of mine, Joseph D'Agostino, sent me a set of postage stamps depicting weightlifters. Never one to collect stamps, I really didn't know a thing about this fascinating hobby. Nevertheless this set the gears into motion, and with some research, I found out that Olympic weightlifters on stamps is a fairly recent phenomenon.

The world's first stamp portraying an Olympic weightlifter was issued by Russia in 1949; and since then, over fifty countries have come out with stamps featuring weightlifting in their designs. By 1959, six countries had issued stamps; and by 1969, a total of 34 countries had distributed sets of stamps. Some of these nations have included the U.S.S.R., China, Cuba, and the United States; and each year, more stamps continue to appear.

Today, Russia leads the pack in stamps issued, with Hungary running a close second. The United States issued a weighlifting stamp for the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, but as far as I know, this is the only stamp that we have issued. As of yet, there are no great rarities among barbell stamps; therefore, it doesn't cost a fortune to garner a collection of all such existing stamps, including any new stamps that are issued in the future. This isn't to say, however, that they won't be more collectible in the years is as good a time as any to visit your local hobby shop to start this rich and rewarding hobby.


As most of you know, Globe Style Dumbbells are very hard to locate (especially the old Milo Dumbells). Not so long ago, I learned about Milo Triplex Bells which were manufactured by Calvert from around 1908 to 1919; at which time, the Duplex Bell made it's debut.

One striking difference between the Triplex and Duplex was that the Triplex was just a round ball with a split in the center. The Duplex had a rim in the center. The major difference between the bells, however, was that one half of the Triplex sphere was a hollow chamber that could be filled with shot. These hollow hemispheres would take about 30 pounds of shot per side. In the pre-1916 models, the shot loading port was in the curved side of the bell and was always obvious to view. After 1916, the port was changed to the inside flat side where it could not be seen on a fully assembled bell. Also, on both models, a brass tube was inserted though the hollow sphere so the lead shot would not fall out when bars changed.

Two styles of the dumbbell were manufactured - Large and Standard. The Large size was 9 1/2" at the rim and came with (2) twenty, (2) ten, (2) seven and a half, (2) five, and (2) two and a half pound plates. When fully loaded with the plates and shot, the bell weighed in at around 200 lbs. The Standard size was 8 1/2" at the rim and weighed 160 pounds fully loaded with (2) ten, (2) seven and a half , (2) five, and (2) two and half plates plus shot. Both styles came with a 5' barbell bar and two "U" shaped kettlebell handles with revolving wooden grips.

Triplex plates were scored to fit into notches built into the spheres. This prevented the plates from turning when the bells were lifted. The dumbbell handle was also unique. It had a square collar that fit into a corresponding square depression in the casting. This effectively kept the cast from revolving on the handle bars.

Today, the Triplex Bell can still be found, but they are excessively rare - the biggest problems being that the plates are long gone, or the handles are not original. Surely one hell of a find if you can get your hands on one...


The Milo Duplex Bell - Large Size - was patented September 23, 1919. This bell had two hollow spheres per side. The spheres were each 9 1/2" in diameter, except at the raised rim, where the diameter was 10 1/2". The bell came with (4) twenty, (4) ten, (4) five, (4) two and a half, and (4) one and a quarter pound plates. Empty the bell weighed sixty pounds - fully loaded 215 pounds.

A Standard size Duplex bell was also sold. The spheres were 8 1/2" in diameter; and once again, were an inch larger at the rim - coming in at 9 1/2". This dumbbell came with (4) ten, (4) seven and a half, (4) five, (4) two and a half, and (4) one and a quarter inch plates. The Standard weighed a svelte 45 pounds empty, and was 150 pounds loaded.

 Both dumbbells were finished in a heavy black enamel. The handles were solid steel and were nickel plated. A 5 foot bar and 2 kettlebell handles were also included with each set.

Prior to 1905, the Milo Barbell Company also sold other types of dumbbell designs. We will discuss these in future issues as more information becomes available...


Even before the days of barbells, men have used various means to test their strength. With the Scots, it was the tossing of the caber; among other things, the Basques practiced the lifting of stones. Before the majority of the world could discern a barbell from a car axle, carnival arcade machines were one way that one could measure one's physical prowess. These machines measured the amount of force one would exert while pulling/twisting upon a handle or lever. An example you might have seen would be the old arm wrestling machines that were popular across the country in the '50's. As one "arm wrestled" with a large wooden or plastic man, one's progress would be measured on a dial on the face of the machine. By wrestling and reading the dials one could find in a matter of minutes if one was a "sissy", "so-so", or "a real man" in a matter of moments...

In the late 19th century, arcade strength testers were very much in vogue in the penny arcades throughout Europe. With the lack of knowledge about training and how to really get strong, it was rare that you would find a man who could best one of these machines - one such man was Eugen Sandow.

In his early career, Sandow found himself nearly penniless and unable to find work as a strongman when stranded in Amsterdam. Although he had previously worked with the great Attilla, Amsterdam was a city that showed little interest in any sort of show that he would have to put on. In his book, "Sandow the Magnificent", David Chapman states that Sandow was unable to even find work for ten guilders per night. This didn't stop Sandow though - he had a solution...

Sneaking through the dead of the Dutch night, Sandow went around to every arcade strength tester he could find in Amsterdam and proceeded to pull the levers on the machines until they broke. Sandow did this on three separate occasions; in doing so, he managed to cause quite a furor with the Dutch press, who assumed that it was not one man who was "vandalizing" these machines, but instead some sort of gang bent upon the ruination of Amsterdam. When he was finally caught, Sandow's publicity stunt had paid off - no one could believe one man could be strong enough to destroy the arcade machines single-handedly. This led to a tremendous popularity for Sandow all over Amsterdam. The man who was once unable to make ten guilders a week found himself making twelve hundred!

Recently, Southeby's of New York put the largest collection of coin-operated penny arcade machines ever assembled up on the auction block. Among all of these wonderful machines were several strength machines, probably not a few unlike those Sandow busted as a young man.

A "Standard Grip Testing Machine" circa 1897, with a cast iron figure of a balancing man managed to bring in a whopping $107,000; a Caille cast iron "Apollo Muscle Tester" one cent amusement machine sold for $48,875.

The first thing that one realizes is that these machines are totally out of the price range for the average collector; machines are still out there, however, for the individual willing to put in some time to look for them. I was able to purchase a four way strength machine for $200, that needs a great deal of work, but when fully restored it should be worth around $1000. Also, for Christmas, my wife gave me an old amusement park grip-tester machine. Fully restored it should manage to fetch close to $1500. Who knows what these machines will be worth around twenty years from now? One word of advice though, if you do happen across an arcade machine, don't end up breaking the arms in a display of strength. Eugen Sandow isn't around to care anymore, and you'll be out a thousand dollars.


Around 1957, Howard Cantowine, former wrestler and Paul Anderson's booking agent, had some hundred dollar bills printed up. Each bill looked like the real thing, except that it was labelled as "Confederate Money", and each bill had Paul's picture printed in the lower right hand corner. These bills were used to advertise Paul's new course, "Easy Steps to Giant Strength - 68 pages plus wall charts." I have never seen these bills. Does anyone out there have one?


Most of us have heard the story of how the Cyr Dumbbell ended up in Bob Hoffmann's posession, and how it came to rest in the York Hall of Fame in York, PA*. Reading the October 1961 "Mr. America" magazine, it bluntly states that the one and only original Cyr Dumbbell reposes in Ben Weider's office in Montreal, Canada.

The article claims that all other "Cyr Dumbbells" are simply copies of the genuine article duplicated from the original pattern with Cyr's permission. It goes on to state that nearly all of these imitations are heavier than the original, due to the techniques of the different molders. They range in weight from 202 to 210.

Apparently, the original pattern was made of wood and repeated molding in damp sand caused it to warp; thus, the lamination came apart, and this is supposedly in evidence upon close examination of later castings.

Who really has the Cyr dumbbell? Is it York Barbell, or is it Ben Weider? Perhaps one of our readers has the answer.


One of the most interesting Olympic lifting series ran in Joe Weider's "Muscle Power" from January 1953 through January 1958 - 56 issues. It was during these years that Charles A. Smith was the weightlifting editor of the magazine. Charles was listed as a consulting editor of the magazine in the August 1950 issue of Muscle Power and was named the weightlifting and consulting editor in the August 1955 issue. Mr. Smith was a prolific writer about the iron game, turning out hundreds of articles during his stay with Weider. I counted 14 articles about Doug Hepburn that Charles wrote in Muscle Power. Every single issue carried page after page of lifting reports - from "how-to articles", to star profiles, to contest results. It was all there.

Actually, Muscle Power started with the Sept.-Oct. 1946 issue (Vol. 1 No. 1). The early issues carried some lifting articles, but nothing like the later ones; so if you want to add to your knowledge of Olympic lifting, try to find some old copies of Muscle Power. One thing that I do hate to add, is that Muscle Power mags are not easy to find and the cost could be from $7.00 - $12.00 per copy. Happy hunting!


January Maxie Heber
February Anthony Terlazzo
March Johnny Terpak
April Sigmund Kline/Tony Sansone
May Wilbert Scharzberger
June Woman Running on Beach - No Name
July Connie Caruccio
August Woman Playing Ball on Beach - No Name
September Man Standing With Outstretched Arms - No Name
October Barton Hovarth
November Anthony Terlazzo/Johnny Terpak
December John Grimek
January Anthony Sansone
February George Kiehl
March Jimmy Jackson
April Motter & Davis
May Emile Bonnet (French)
June John Grimek
July Elmer Farnham
August Siegmund Klein
September Ed Zebrowski
October Man Holding Olympic Bar At Sleeve - No Name
November Gord Venables
December Jesse James (Pro-Wrestler)

*Chief Moquin of Drummondville, Quebec, traded Bob Hoffman the dumbbell for a York Olympic set.

Saturday, December 28, 2013


Reprinted with permission of The Iron Master

          This month we will discuss how to shoulder heavy dumbbells for incline pressing. I have found that in order to press heavy dumbbells on the incline bench, one must learn to shoulder the dumbbell relatively easily in order to conserve energy for the actual pressing of the weight.

          There are many popular methods used to shoulder a set of dumbbells - some working better than others. One is to clean the weights from the ground or hang, and then sit down and push the dumbbells up. The main problem with this method is that one quickly becomes limited with what one can clean. If one were to continue for any length of time with this method, one's press would quickly overshadow one's clean.

          The most common technique seen in most gyms today is to sit on the bench - dumbbells resting on the legs - and then kick the 'bells up one at a time. You can also get a couple of lifting partners to hand off the heavy dumbbells - this method probably being the most inefficient of all, if for no other reason than it being a sure way to make your training partners scarce when the time comes for your next set. Here again, you are limited by the strength of your partners, and the whole balancing act of handing over a bulky set of dumbbells becomes a colossal waste of time for all involved.

          As a sideline, something else to consider is the strength of the bench you'll be using. Is it strong enough to handle your bodyweight, plus the additional load of the dumbbells? The worst thing imaginable would be the entire bench collapsing in mid-set -- ouch!! The bench you use should be ideally able to support a minimum of 600 lbs. in the 30 - 40 degree setting; which I think is the ideal angle to incline press.

          Another item to think about is the stability of the bench. Will it tilt or fall over once you kick the dumbbells up? Every gym seems to have a different style bench for inclines, so learn how your bench behaves before attempting heavy dumbbell work. If you skip ahead to the photo sequence, you will notice in Ex. 1 how my bench is constructed - the seat angle moves upward as the angle of the bench decreases, so that when the dumbbells are lifted on the legs, I am actually sitting on the edge of the seat perfectly balanced.

          When I was going full bore ahead with my training in earlier days, I included a great deal of pressing movements/dumbbell work with each training session. These sessions were usually fairly heavy, and for the most part, were without a training partner - this led to the necessity of me coming up with a way of cleaning dumbbells that not only practiced economy of motion, but would not unnecessarily fatigue me before my lifts. This method is illustrated in the following photo sequences...

          Beginning with Ex. 1, you will notice that the dumbbells are placed in front of the bench. This allows you to grasp the dumbbells, deadlift them to your legs just above your knees and then sit down (Ex. 2) on the end of the bench. It is very important to have the dumbbells under control and well balanced (Ex. 3) before going on to the next phase...

          Looking at Ex. 4, you will see that both of the knees are kicked up at the same time as you lean/fall back onto the bench and push the dumbbells up to the shoulders. This is fairly simple, but it is probably the most
difficult part of the procedure. It is also important to pull hard with the hands (like a seated clean), in order to make the movement as fast as possible. Not unlike a real clean, the faster you get the bells into position, the easier the remainder of the lift.

          Once the dumbbells arrive at the shoulder (Ex. 5), the palms should be turned facing forward (Ex. 6), and at that time, the pressing can begin (Ex. 7) and the lift can be completed. When replacing the dumbbells, the sequence simply needs to be reversed. This method of cleaning dumbbells does take a certain amount of practice, but is a very natural movement once you get the hang of things. Of course, it goes without saying that you should master the technique with lighter dumbbells before going ahead with heavier training.

          By using this method, I was able to bring up two 170 LB dumbbells (at 216 BWT) for the press. My best complete incline press with dumbbells was a two rep lift with two 152 pounders. Of course, this was before my shoulder surgery, but I guarantee once you really learn this method you'll never go back to anything else. Happy Training!!!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Use of the Trigger Point Tool for recuperation after or before strength training or sport - By David Sedunary

What are Trigger points

Trigger Points are hypersentive spots in the muscles, which give you less strength and flexibility, they block the muscles , and upon movement are painfull.
An example maybe " I reach back to get my wallet out my back pocket and have pain and less flexibilty in the back of my shoulder blade (rotar Cuff area)".  Normally you will have Trigger Points in the Infraspinatus muscles .
The  Trigger Point Tool can be a baseball, or a hard rubber, (not a tennis ball as it is too soft) it  is to be used when you have tight spots or Trigger points in the following areas:

  • Hamstrings
  • Shoulders
  • Upper back and Spinae erectors (muscles which run up either side of the spine)
  • Hips
  • Lower back

Using the tool

Pain threshold when using the Trigger Point Tool
As a guide 10 should be unbearable pain, 0 no pain, as you lean into the Trigger point aim to have the pain around about 6 to 7, wait till the pain fades to a 2. (normally hold the ball in position for the count of 10)
Then repeat once more before moving to another spot. 
Now onto each muscle group:

The Hamstrings

You may want to wear  heavy pants and top when using the Trigger Point Tool, like a track suit.
Or if your muscles are hard you can apply the trigger point tool (the ball) to bare skin.
Hamstrings can be trigger pointed by placing the tool under your hamstring while sitting on a hard wooden seat.
Push down on the tight spots holding until the pain fades, usually 10 seconds  for each area.
Be sure to work up the middle/ inside and outside of the hamstring.
Trigger point both hamstrings.
To finish massage legs and have a hot bath.  


While lying on your back on a hard floor, place the Trigger Point Tool between your shoulder blade and floor.
By using your body weight lean onto the tool, finding the tight spots, release when the pain fades.

Be sure to work the muscle on the edge of the shoulder blade where  it attaches to the upper arm.
Work over the whole shoulder blade, be sure to trigger point both shoulders.

To finish lay in a hot bath.


Upper Back and Spinae Erectors

For working the muscles which run either side of the spine, I always recommend that taping two balls together, allowing a gap where the two balls join, this gap fits where the spine is. 

While lying on your back on a hard floor, position the Trigger Point Tool so it fits on either edge of your spine.
Work up and down the spine, from the base of the neck to the top of the bottom ribs.
By using your body weight lean onto the tool, finding the tight spots, release when the pain fades.

Work up and down the spine slowly three times.

To finish lay in a hot bath

Lower back

This is when you have pain radiating across the top of the hips, and each side or one side of the lower back, just above the tops of the hips, and below the bottom rib.

While lying on your back on a hard floor, position the Trigger Point Tool so it fits on either edge of your spine, just below your bottom rib.
Work up and down the spine, from the base of the bottom ribs the top of the hips. (hold each spot for 10 seconds before moving on)
By using your body weight lean onto the tool, finding the tight spots, release when the pain fades.

Work up and down the spine slowly three times.

To finish lay in a hot bath

Please note:

After using the Trigger Point Tool rest 4 days before working that body part again.

Wisdom From Jack LaLanne

Hard Training Videos with Arthur Jones