Tuesday, November 9, 2010

IRON NATION Passion for Hard Training - By Bob Whelan and Drew Israel ... Five Star Reviews! ... An Iron Game Classic!

Passion for Hard Training

“In IRON NATION, Bob Whelan and Drew Israel have compiled a masterpiece text on some of the most intriguing and compelling personal stories, iron game history, and gut-wrenching training routines ever put to paper. If you truly love “hard training” without all of the frills or “pomp and circumstance” so common today, you will love IRON NATION!”
--Ken Mannie, Head Strength/Conditioning Coach, Michigan State University

"Iron Nation is one of the most educational Iron Game books ever written. Fantastic!"
--Dick Conner, Powerlifting Coach, (Multiple National Champion), Strength Expert

"Iron Nation is a fascinating and unique book that will give anyone interested in no-nonsense strength training and muscle-building many hours of enjoyable reading -- and many years of great workouts."
--Brooks D. Kubik, Author of Dinosaur Training

“IRON NATION is an excellent source of information relating to many of the top people in the fitness industry who have given thousands of hours of time and energy into making the iron game what it is today. The contributors have shared what was required ... to obtain their most positive results. My hat goes off to Bob Whelan and Drew Israel for putting this material in an easy-to-read format that is a MUST to those wanting to improve their mental or physical wellbeing.”
--Bill Pearl, Former Mr. America and Mr. Universe

"The book Iron Nation represents a tremendous singular achievement for the authors. It is an impressive and unprecedented collection of training biographies, autobiographies and anecdotes from the ENTIRE realm of progressive resistance exercise training. Such a work is long overdue."
--Jan Dellinger, Author of The Dellinger Files

"As I get older, my respect grows for the history of the Iron Game and those who were part of it. Iron Nation: Passion for Hard Training reads like a Who's Who of individuals who are an integral part of that history. Their stories are extremely informative and - as the title suggests - passionate as well as motivating and entertaining. I highly recommend this book!"
--Matt Brzycki, Assistant Director of Campus Recreation & Fitness, Princeton University

"Many congratulations to you [Bob] and Drew for getting IRON NATION done. I was thrilled that you carried through on that project--and did it so well! This is an outstanding book of training information, inspiration and motivation. The passion for hard training that oozes from many of the articles is infectious, and the accompanying real-life stories and historical reminiscences are fascinating."
--Stuart McRobert, Author of Brawn and Numerous Other Iron Game Books, Publisher/Editor of Hardgainer Magazine


Vic Boff, Stephen Boyd, Matt Brzycki, Dick Conner, Jan Dellinger, Jim Duggan, Clyde Emrich, Fred Hahn, Bill Hinbern, Drew Israel, Osmo Kiiha, Brooks D. Kubik, Jamie Labelle, Dr. Ted Lambrinides, Tom Laputka, Kathy Leistner, Dr. Ken E. Leistner, Ken Mannie, John McKean, Stuart McRobert, Tom Metzger, Bill Pearl, Gregg Pickett, Glenn Pieschke, Steve Pulcinella, Mabel Rader, Ralph Raiola, Dick "Smitty" Smith, Jon Schultheis, Bill Starr, Bradley J. Steiner, Dr. Randall J. Strossen, Mike Thompson, Dennis B. Weis, Bob Whelan, Paul Young

There Has Rarely Been Such An Awesome Display Of Talent In A Single Book! There are over 30 Chapters in this BIG, (8.5" X 11"), Book and each is written by a unique individual in the modern Iron Game.


"This book offers a very unique look at training, one that hasn’t been given to the casual reader or interested party previously. If you like to train, you can relive some workouts that were challenging and mindful to the authors."
--Dr. Ken E. Leistner
Strength Writer, Iron Game Legend


This book is dedicated to Peary and Mabel Rader for more than 50 years of dedicated service to the Iron Game. Mabel even gave us a chapter for the book! 


IRON NATION, Passion for Hard Training, covers every possible philosophy and every possible aspect of Weight Training and the Iron Game. We do not promote a particular philosophy other than TRAINING BRUTALLY HARD. Everyone in IRON NATION is bonded by the PASSION FOR HEAVY & HARD TRAINING!

Here is just a tiny sample of what IRON NATION, Passion for Hard Training, will Teach You:

  • First-hand Accounts of How the Old-Timers Really Trained
  • Behind the Scene at York Barbell
  • Olympic Lifting
  • Odd Object Lifting
  • High Intensity Training
  • Wisdom from Dr. Ted Lambrinides
  • Strength & Conditioning in the NFL and College Athletics
  • Stories of Brutal Workouts
  • Wisdom from Dr. Ken E. Leistner
  • The Best Ways to Build Muscle
  • Lifting The Inver Stone with Randall J. Strossen, PhD.
  • Slow Speed Training
  • Powerlifting
  • A Brutal Brooks Kubik Dinosaur Workout
  • How Arthur Jones Trained
  • Bill Starr Workouts
  • How to Train Smarter and Avoid Injuries
  • How Peary and Mabel Rader Got Started
  • Great Training Information from Osmo Kiiha
  • Great Information as always from Stuart McRobert
  • How Dennis B. Weis Trains
  • How Bill Pearl Trains
  • Great Information from Bradley J. Steiner

  • "Bob and Drew started writing and compiling the interviews for this book, Iron Nation, almost 15 years ago. The primary focus was to chronicle the most significant developments in the field of strength training through the words of people actively involved in the Iron Game. Some contributors were very well-known experts in bodybuilding, Olympic lifting, football strength training, strength and conditioning coaches, etc., and others were just guys and gals who had spent many years training in gyms and garages.

    I think Bob and Drew have succeeded very well. You will greatly enjoy this book, which is destined to become an INSTANT CLASSIC."

    Osmo Kiiha
    Editor in Chief, The Iron Master

    "As what might be considered a kind of "elder statesman" of the Iron Game (I have been in it and writing about it since the 1960's) I have been both appalled and delighted by that which I have seen transpire in the muscle and strength-building field over the decades. The size-mania, living in the gym, cosmetic-oriented "appearance training", and of course the damn steroid drug scourge, has appalled me. The work of men like Bob Whelan and Drew Israel, and the occasional literary gems that evolve as a result of the work of these men — such as this new book, IRON NATION, has delighted me. There are few activities as rewarding — mentally, physically, and spiritually — as sensible progressive resistance (barbell/dumbell and similar types of) exercise. And we who love this activity and who wish to see it continue to enrich those seekers-after-personal-strength-and-excellence always celebrate a quality literary contribution to our beloved field. We recommend it highly.”

    --Bradley J. Steiner, World Famous Weight Training & Martial Arts Writer

    "There is so much misinformation out there and so many books that are comprised of pseudo scientific mumbo jumbo bull by authors who look like pencil neck geeks. Iron Nation is just the opposite. This book is chock full of REAL information by authors who TRULY know the Iron Game and what it takes to build strength, power, and muscle! Iron Nation is literally a Lessons Learned Bible from some of the best minds in the Iron Game. The workouts alone are a gold mine and the stories will make you smile and laugh. This book will supply all the information you need to attain your physical goals. I highly recommend it!"

    --Bill Piche, Editor Cyberpump.com

    “…I loved the cover photo of the various weights. It sort of put me in the mood to read it. IRON NATION is a great read, full of biographies, along with the training methods of many names we have long been familiar with in the various weight training journals … The reader is given insights into the writers’ personal views, opinions and training methods. I loved the essays from Vic Boff and anything and everything that related to the late and great John C. Grimek, who I am proud to be able to have called a personal friend. …I also learned new facts and personal accounts from the … authors who have been gathered together in this super journal. I truly recommend this book to those who wish quality muscle with strength related to size. Muscle that’s not going to disappear two weeks after taking a lay off as happens to those who train light and who’s idea of nutrition is the use and abuse of chemical aids. This book fills a fine gap to balance the propaganda we are so used to that strength can be easily accomplished so long as the trainer takes so and so’s ‘super supplements’. The authors in contrast, suggest … hard, tough and intense workouts, of brief duration, but training that brings worthwhile muscle and power that won’t disappear overnight. Bob Whelan and Drew Israel have done a fine job, bringing back some sanity and honesty to the iron game.”

    --David Gentle, Features Editor of Health and Strength Magazine, the worlds’ oldest continually published journal on physical culture.

    "... I thought the book was unique, enlightening, and professionally done. I especially enjoyed the pieces on Vic Boff, Jan Dellinger, Clyde Emrich, Bill Hinbern, Osmo Kiiha, Bill Pearl, Smitty, and Bill Starr whose contributions to the iron game I have followed closely over the years. I think the major contribution of the work that you [Bob Whelan] and Drew Israel have put together is that it shows such a variety of approaches and that those who have pursued these training regimens have done so out of love and not so much for fame or fortune. I think your book will increase in importance as future generations look back on how we did it!"

    --John D. Fair, Author of Muscletown USA, Bob Hoffman and the Manly Culture of York Barbell

    "Your cast of characters and their insights and stories are great. ... your book brought back many memories and as a solo trainer, ... I agree 100% that methodology is not the thread that binds natural lifters together. It is a love for lifting and a sometimes out of balance commitment to train hard and regularly. Thanks to you [Bob] and Drew for putting together such a great book .... It really brought a smile to my face."

    --Todd Baisley, Author of Workforce Warrior

    "I am Dennis B. Weis "The Yukon Hercules" and I can't think of just one good thing to say about the book IRON NATION by Bob Whelan and Drew Israel. But I can think of nearly 36 good things to say!!! IRON NATION is not just a plain vanilla book of one standard training philosophy. It is much more than that. IRON NATION features a roundtable discussion with nearly 36 of the most notable experts in the iron game today. It was obvious to me, when reading IRON NATION that any friction that may have existed between any of the diverse panel of experts was left outside the door. Their non-stop "gateway" of exact insights and expressions regarding the different aspects of training will help bodybuilders, powerlifters and strength athletes achieve new levels of success. IRON NATION, in my personal and professional opinion is a logical 'please all of the readers all of the time', book. I most certainly enjoyed reading it, cover to cover, and will consciously make every effort to mention it to people. Congratulations Bob and Drew on a book well written."

    --Dennis B. Weis, Author of Mass!, Raw Muscle!, and NUMEROUS Other Muscle Books

    If you LOVE WEIGHT TRAINING, we KNOW that you will LOVE THIS BOOK!

    Iron Nation Review by Randy Roach, Author of “Muscle, Smoke & Mirrors"

    Around 1997 a good friend of mine, Ted Nellis, traveled from Ontario, Canada to Washington, D.C. in order to experience one of Bob Whelan’s popular strength training clinics. Drew Israel was a guest speaker and told Ted of a book project that he and Bob had undertaken. Ted then informed me of the book upon his return. It did, in fact, take another 13 years to come to fruition, but it was certainly worth the wait.

    I think many would agree that “Iron Nation” is not for the faint of heart, nor would it serve as an effective recruitment tool for today’s modern, mainstream exercise facilities. In the preface of Volume I of “Muscle, Smoke & Mirrors,” I wrote on those I believed were the true pioneers of the fitness explosion:

    “These men are the root of the booming fitness industry we see today. They are the true die-hards, who in the decades past, trudged for miles to remote, dingy and often hard-to-find gyms. In many cases, they would simply build their own in basements or garages using any scrap material accessible to them. Take away all the modern conveniences made available by today’s super-fitness facilities, and you would lose 95 percent of those gym populations, leaving only the likes of these men.

    They have been pointed at, labeled, clinically categorized, and even laughed at, but to the men of the Iron Game, the way they are is simply the way they were wired."

    Well, herein lies the likes of these very men chronicled within the pages of Bob Whelan’s and Drew Israel’s 2010 release, “Iron Nation.” I say “likes” because this hardcore training nature was not confined to the days of old, but actually traversed the decades as clearly demonstrated in this book of well over 120,000 words. I would venture to say that no matter how much the fitness craze has proliferated in various directions over the recent years, these men, like it or not, are the anchor for the entire industry.

    Whelan and Israel carefully chose a number of trainers ranging in age and methodologies to share both their entry into the Iron Game and what training sessions stood out most within their minds. Let’s just say these short stories have no shortages of blood, sweat, and vomit (no tears), not to mention, tons of bravado and ego. Many of them are very talented with the pen and were able to express themselves with both intellect and humour. Fred Hahn’s rendition of his encounter with big Jim Flannagan was worth the read alone!

    As an amateur historian myself, I enjoyed reading the historical backgrounds for every single one of the contributors to this book. Nonetheless, “Iron Nation” offers much more than personal histories and tough workouts. These men freely gave their best advice on building strength and muscle. To say they know how to utilize the barbell would be short changing them significantly. The resistance they constantly butted heads with came in the form of weight stacks, kettle bells, logs, water and sand filled barrels, chains, springs, axels, and yes on occasion, barbells and dumbbells. All of these tools are presented in a pretty wide spectrum of training philosophies from Olympic weight lifting, powerlifting, bodybuilding, high intensity training, super slow training, odd lifts and strongman training.

    Bob Whelan and Drew Israel have sequestered a great cross section of trainers and compiled their histories and advice into an engaging format and appropriately named it, “Iron Nation.” I read the book right through from cover to cover and thoroughly enjoyed every story. This style of book easily begs further volumes, but hopefully their next release won’t be in 2024. But then again, who am I to advise on releases!

    - Randy Roach,
    Author of “Muscle, Smoke & Mirrors”

    Iron Nation Review by David Webster, World Famous Iron Game Author and Historian

    The sub title of this fine new book is ”Passion for Hard Training” and the authors have this passion in abundance. Bob and Drew are two hardcore Iron Game enthusiasts in their mid-fifties who have had many years of experience in different aspects of training with weights. They have been involved in powerlifting, martial arts, personal training and a whole lot more. In addition they are academically qualified in such subjects so have balanced personal profiles of theory and practice.

    Their approach in this substantial volume has been to add to their own experiences by incorporating interviews with, and sections from, other well-known and respected individuals in the industry. These include such as Vic Boff, Bill Pearl, Dr Ken Leistner, Stuart McRobert, Randall Strossen, Steve Pulcinella, Bill Starr, Clyde Emrich – I could go on, there are around three dozen in total and I was pleased to see one of this illustrious band was an old friend and fellow country-man, Mike Thomson.

    The fund of training information and inspiration is clearly the most important part of the book and I am not going to spoil it for you by quoting from this absorbing publication.

    There is however one part I feel bound to give special mention. Many of us knew and loved IRON MAN magazine. Readers that had the good fortune to meet the publishers also loved Peary and Mabel Rader. The section on this couple is fascinating and left me thinking that the hardships they suffered and the efforts they made must had played a major part in moulding the lovely, modest personalities of this great couple. Brief samples of their story include the information that every day Peary rode horseback six miles to go to school.. In 1917 Mabel was born in a sod house built by her parents who had travelled from Kansas to Nebraska in a covered wagon! As a school girl she and her sibling also travelled to school on horseback, five miles in their case. Peary and Mabel’s progress in setting up and publishing the magazine a makes a great read, especially since from their humble beginnings they eventually travelled the world to international events including the Olympic Games.

    One of the many good things about this book is that you get the feel that you get to know quite a bit about the various characters, thus increasing the interest and value of their training wisdom. If you want to get good results you will certainly be successful if you closely study this book and develop a PASSION FOR HARD TRAINING.

    -David Webster,
    World Famous Iron Game Author and Historian

    Iron Nation Review by Fred Fornicola, Co-Author of "Dumbbell Training for Strength and Fitness"

    It seems that over the years the field of health and fitness has become tainted with countless gadgets and gurus. It appears that important aspects such as iron history and a passion for hard training are things that, unfortunately, aren’t always understood or appreciated by a lot of people who “workout”. It’s a damn shame; too, because appreciating history and being fervent about one’s training is reward all on its own as most of you reading this already know. If you have a love for iron - and I assume you do by your interest in the new book, IRON NATION - you will most certainly not be disappointed by what’s held within the confines of its covers.

    Much can be appreciated and learned from the pioneers who helped forged the iron game over the last several decades and fortunately for us, a couple of true physical culturists took it upon themselves to assemble some of the finest information on iron culture to date.

    “Maximum” Bob Whelan and Drew “The Human Wall” Israel have painstakingly spent over 14 years gathering information, doing interviews and formulating what could be called an “epic book” in their recent release of IRON NATION. Bob and Drew took on the unenviable task of not only amassing all of this insightful and historic information, but also tackled the arduous task of self-publishing this brilliant piece of work – not an easy task - as they, the editors and publishers, have maintained the integrity of the books information as it was intended.

    Before you even open the book you get a feel for the detail that went into IRON NATION as its cover sets the tone with vintage dumbbells, kettlebells and a rare 45lb Andrew Jackson plate….and this is just the beginning. The list of “who’s who” will have you sitting on the edge of your weight bench when you see the host of contributors as they reminisce about their past while they share stories, their thoughts and some of their more memorable workouts – and I can promise you, those workout stories you don’t want to miss!

    What’s so interesting about IRON NATION is its diversity. At one point you are reading an interview between Bob Whelan and legendary iron man, Vic Boff and learning how Vic was inspired by George Jowett and Bernard MacFadden and how over the years he developed a very close friendship with the great Sig Klein, Milo Steinborn and bodybuilding great, John Grimek and then a few chapters later your finding out how poor Tom Metzger barely made it through a “typical” training session with Doc Ken at 3AM at the Iron Island Gym. Speaking of Vic Boff, here’s a quote from the book that I personally appreciated reading when he was asked by Bob what his training philosophy was: “… the attitude of physical culture is to follow or practice the laws of life that lead to good health. The proper mental attitude, intelligently applied exercise, wholesome food, fresh air, bathing, sunbaths, relaxation and sleep…”. I don’t think you could sum it up any better than that.

    Bradley J. Steiner does a wonderful job of laying out what he calls “the essentials of physical development” – a definite “don’t miss” for a sound program for health and fitness. Bill Starr discusses many of his insights to great strength and makes no bones about it that “there are no shortcuts” while Matt Brzycki discusses his epiphany after 4,368 hours in the gym. John McKean shares his success of singles training and being “heavy handed” and Brooks Kubik talks about how he “barreled” his way through to developing great strength. Paisan, Ralph Raiola adds some lightheartedness with a heavy fork and Doc Ken (always a crowd pleaser), goes down memory lane and shares some great stories and insights as only Dr. Ken can.

    Speaking of stories, Mabel Rader (whom she and Perry have this book dedicated to) contributes a chapter and tells about the birth of Iron Man magazine and how a $100 bill saved their business and allowed the Rader’s to publish one of the greatest health and fitness magazines for over 50 years! Dick “Smitty” Smith tells about his involvement with Dr. John Ziegler, isometrics, power rack training (a definite must read) and the Isotron machine while Super Slow aficionado, Fred Hahn share’s how Big Jim Flannagan’s Fury left him “walking like a ghoul”.

    Then there are thoughts from Dick Conner who tells of how he borrowed money to buy some of those “magic muscle builder” machines from a company called Nautilus and Randall J. Strossen was on the other side of the pond trying to defeat the Inver Stone. Jan Dellinger of York barbell contributes “…a collection of learned lessons and insights garnered from a rather diverse group…” and Coach Ken Mannie tells of his youth in Steubinville and becoming “steel city tough”.

    It’s great to read how Kathy Leistner share’s her husband’s intensity while showing no signs of hard training to be only in a man’s world and how Arthur Jones made Tom Laputka learn the meaning of the word INTENSITY!

    Additional chapters has Bob interviewing world renowned bodybuilder, Bill Pearl who credits Leo Stern for his success as a bodybuilder and how he now has a “barn museum” with all types of equipment, some of which was used by Eugene Sandow and gifted to him by Sig Klein. As an added bonus, Bob Whelan offers a unique look at his “life with the iron” as a number of others round out the journey and offer their experiences to help make Iron Nation a book that every iron enthusiast should own.

    - Fred Fornicola,
    Co-Author of "Dumbbell Training for Strength and Fitness" 
    Does modern bodybuilding make you sick? You should write for Natural Strength! I always need good articles about drug-free weight training. It only has to be at least a page and nothing fancy. Just write it strong and truthful with passion! Send your articles directly to me: bobwhelan@naturalstrength.com

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