Sunday, July 29, 2012


Originally posted on on March 27, 2004

The reason many of us train is to increase our muscle size. Well, forget that while you read the following. For muscles to grow, they must become stronger. This means you must lift more weight. You must train for strength. Every time you lift weights and workout, provided the body is subjected to sufficient stimulus, muscle fibres become damaged. These muscle fibres (given ample recovery) repair themselves and adapt so they become fractionally stronger. Enough to cope with that stress in the future. Once this happens you must add a fraction or almost unnoticeable amount more weight to the bar. Do this again and again and your muscles will constantly be repairing themselves stronger than before to handle more weight. You can eat more, rest more, weigh more and train harder, but in the long run - if you are still not lifting more and becoming stronger, then you will not grow. This is the law of progression. Progress is human nature, always striving to be better, to improve.

Abbreviated training is almost an "underground" style compared to conventional training. If you do train in the conventional manner and are lacking results, or have been using the same weight for a long time, then consider this: Pick just one compound exercise for each major area of the body ie. back, chest, legs, arms. If all you did were these exercises and you added 1/2 pound every week or two for 1-2 years, imagine how much more weight you would be lifting! Your muscles would have to be bigger for you to be lifting that much more! This is the simplicity of abbreviated training. Every trainee has their own personal level of strength. You don't only grow if you are lifting massive weights. If you can only squat 125 lbs. then that is your level of strength. By lifting that weight and adding to it slowly your body will still grow. Do not concern yourself with how much someone else is lifting. Your body is your priority. You are who matters most. Natural and Drug-free trainees who bench with 300 lbs. and squat 400 lbs. didn't just wake up one morning with such incredible strength. It was accumulated pound by pound through years of hard work. It is the same as if you put a dollar bill into the bank every day for a year. It would soon add up to a lot of money! Add a little bit of weight to the bar as often as possible and eventually you will be the one lifting those big weights. Lastly, if you are NOT lifting in good form then I urge you- do not bother lifting at all. Not only can you seriously injure yourself, but you will be wasting your time. Squatting 150 lbs. in perfect controlled form and a full range of movement will build far more muscle and strength than would squatting 350 lbs. on raised heels, with a rounded back and half the range of movement.

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Message From Drew Israel - Training Update

Hey Bob, I hope you are well. I was just thinking about when I trained at a much slower speed. I always kept comprehensive records on my training. My strength is always very strong so this carefully has been taken into account. What Im going to say certainly has no malice I always like to see people thrive in there training. For DREW ISRAEL I found SLOW TRAINING to be great for injury pervention as well as keeping someone strong. I did find at faster speeds my strength increased faster. Now most things being relative my strength did improve somewhat over two years. I had to make sure the variables were stable. And it could be said almost any sane routine will get me stronger. Im lucky that comes easy.

But no doubt slow training made me smaller and slightly weaker. I traind this way two years. No one can truly say what the magic speed is. For me, when I use barbells and dumbells I do not count and just push as fast as I can and lower the weight slower. When I train with machines I use a slightly fluctuating 4 sec positive & 4 sec neg with nothing written in stone. I have never been as strong as I am now. But I'm more effecient now and I do two movements twice per week anything longer and strength gains really slow down. So pick a speed and bust you're ass and don't use sloppy form and strength gains will come.

You can contact Drew at

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Early Morning (Insanity?) Training - By Jim Duggan

Originally Posted on on December 16, 2004

In the Fall of 2003, I had the good (?) fortune of being detailed to the FDNY Training Academy to be an instructor for a period of about one year. Probationary Firefighter School needed Lieutenants to teach the next generation of firefighters, and my number was up. Although the experience was a rewarding one, I had some concern about whether I would be able to find time to train. About a month into my "sentence," I was at the gym discussing the difficulty in finding time to train with a friend of mine, when she suggested that I come to the gym before it "officially" opens. I have been training at Iron Island Gym, in Oceanside, New York, since it opened in 1992, and it always opened at 5:00 A.M.- too late for my new schedule. However, the gym's owner, Ralph Raiola, had graciously allowed members to come in earlier than that to train. That sounded like a good idea to me. On the morning of my first early workout, I awoke at 3:30 A.M.(you read it right-oh-dark-thirty-for you military types.) I had expected the place to be empty, but there were actually about eight or so other people training by the time I got there at 4:15. You've probably heard the expression "Misery loves company"- well, truer words were never spoken. It didn't take long to adapt to the new schedule I was being forced to follow. I have followed this routine for the past year or so. I train six days per week. I lift weights on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, I do cardio work- namely, thirty minutes on the Stairmaster Gauntlet machine. My Strength Training routine looks like this:


Squat-4-5 Sets of 12,8,6,3,3 reps. Performed in a power rack, with the pins set at parallel-two second pause between each rep. I start with 350 lbs., and finish with a triple with about 430-440 lbs. Seated DB Press-3 Sets of 10,6,3 reps. I start with 85 lb. dumbbells for a set of ten, and finish with a pair of 100-105 lbs. for a triple. My goal is to do ten reps with 100 lbs. Bent-over Barbell Row-3 Sets of 10,6,3 reps. I start with 245 lbs., and finish with 305-315 lbs. for a triple. Sit-ups- 3-4 Sets of 50 reps.


Incline Press- 3 Sets of 10,6,3 reps. Performed in a power rack, starting at the bottom position, a la Brooks Kubik. I start with 235 lbs., and finish with a triple with 275 lbs. My goal is to triple 315 lbs. Weighted Chin-ups- 3 Sets of maximum reps. Seated Calf- 3 Sets of 15-20 reps. Sit-ups-same as Monday.


Deadlift (conventional, trap-bar, snatch-grip) 3 Sets of 6,3,3, reps. I usually finish with a triple with 525-535 lbs. Seated DB Press- 3 Sets of 10-12 reps ( lighter weight, more reps than Monday) Dumbbell Row-3 Sets of 10-12 reps. I recently started doing these-I start with 120 lbs., and finish with 140 lbs. Sit-ups- same as Monday.

Wy workouts generally last about an hour and fifteen minutes or so. My detail to the Fire Academy will be ending shortly and I will be returning to my unit (Ladder Company 165, in St. Albans, Queens), however, I will continue to train early in the morning-just not THAT early. Afterall, training does not always have to be crazy.

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Don’t Short Circuit Your Training - By Jim Bryan

One of the biggest problems I see is Over Thinking Things. Much of the time this leads to Analysis Paralysis. This is where you spend more time thinking about doing something, than you actually spend doing it. How much does it matter about the speed of a rep? Does it matter more then actually going to the gym and having a workout? How much does it matter what “Camp” you’re from? Is that more important then getting to the gym? About “Camps.” How important is it really to identify yourself as a “Volume Trainee”, a “Power Lifter”, an “Olympic Lifter”, A “HIT Trainee?” Who are you training for? Yourself or the approval of someone else? Training isn’t really all that complicated. Some would have you think that it is, so they can sell you on Their Method. So much information and so little time. Might as well use that time by going to the gym.

When you go to most discussion boards you have the group looking for the “One best way to train” and the one’s that just like to argue that “Their way is the one true way.” Ever wonder if the same one’s that “Know the One best Way” are just as confused as you? Many are and will argue for something else down the line. You also have the most Dogmatic types that will continue to argue long after their arguments are invalid. They are also confused and need to be in the gym, instead of cruising the “Boards” so they can argue for their way, “The one best way.”

There is NO one best way! People have different goals. What works for you is what keeps you going to the gym and enjoying the trip there. Different ways of training have different levels of safety. Educate yourself, form an opinion and then follow through. The simplest way to Strength Train is to pick a group of exercises Starting with the legs and working to the upper body. Go up in weight when things get easy. Machines or Free Weights? What do you have? If you have both, try both. Try to be in and out within an hour. Like “One set Training?” Then do it. Want to use “more than one set?” Then do that. Don’t fret and worry if someone is going to disapprove. It’s your workout! Go to the gym two or three days a week. You can add some cardio if you want. Cut down your rest periods and you may not need much cardio. Do it for yourself, because you want to. Live long…… strong!

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Perception of the Chin-up - By Alfred Page

Originally posted on on April 2, 2005

Many trainees will always choose the Pulldown over the chin as an upper body pulling movement. This is often because they can either handle greater poundages or they just find it easier to perform as their bodyweight may exceed current strength levels. The chin, perfofmed correctly and intensively, is an extremely productive upperbody exercise and like its counterpart- the Parallel Bar Dip- a true measure of strength. It wil develope strength and size across the whole of the back musculature, as well as the arms and grip.

I would like to offer an alternative view on how you percieve and perform the chin. A friend recently imitated a paratrooper whom we live with, using so much weight on his pulldowns, that he would pull the whole gym over with each rep, causing all the other trainees to stagger around and fall over. I imagined myself in a similar position performing chins and using the bar to pull the whole gym ceiling down towards me. I actually tried this stategy the following workout and was amazed as I added 2 extra reps to my previous best total. In the start position of each rep, arms hanging and knees bent, I focused and concentrated on the bar and imagined I was performing a pulldown instead of a chin. So, rather than pulling your body 'up' to the bar, remain hanging and pull the bar 'down' to you. I found this method effective and think it may act as a sort of reverse psychology, therefore allowing you to work harder at the exercise which will stimulate better results.

Additional Point

Please remember that as a base- your bodyweight provides the resistance when perfofming both chins and dips. As you slowly gain muscular bodyweight then this also constitutes additional poundage/resistance increases to the exercise. Do not become disheartened if you struggle to add reps or resistance (ie strapping weight to the body via a belt and chain) as you become heavier because in the case of a 'bodyweight' exercise an extra poumd on the scales is the same as adding an extra pound on the bar. The more you weigh, the more you are lifting- even if you are doing the same number of repetitions.

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Be Careful What You Wish For at WST - By Ken Dowman

Originally posted on on January 18, 2006

On the same day I wrote my article "Training with the Human Wall and Max Bob" I had a training session at 5:00pm. The workout began with some new movements, the free weight bench press and some barbell curls with a two inch thick bar. We then did a set of pull-downs, Hammer Row, military press, and 20 rep squats. After the squats, Bob informed me he had a treat for me, the Farmers Walk! I stated in the article, "I hope that one day I will be able to attempt the farmers walk around D.C., but that will come with time." The time had arrived and I had no idea what I was asking for.

Lifting the 2 Atomic Athletic handles totaling a weight of 110 pounds (each) up the stairs was a workout in itself. I was under the impression that once we walked up the stairs the weight would be decreased but Bob told me that the weight never changes on the Farmers Walk so if you ask for it, you must be ready. I want to make it clear that Bob makes sure you are strong enough and in good enough condition before you attempt the exercise. That is why I trained almost five months to attempt the walk! I thought to myself there is no way in hell I can walk with these things in both hands around the block. Bob carried one up the stairs with ease and when we were outside I told Bob I thought they were too heavy. Bob said no way and that it didn't matter how many times I put the weights down, just as long I made it around the full city block (with 220 pounds!) I mentally prepared for what lied ahead, I picked up the handles, and the fun began. As soon as I began, there was a curiosity amongst the general public. One lady asked, "What the hell are you doing?" Bob informed her as I was breathing too hard to explain.

Every time I put the weights down Bob would come over with the bucket of chalk and words of encouragement. The chalk saved my hands and I put it on THICK at every stop. People in cars stopped and asked Bob what was going on and a homeless woman asked me for change. What the hell was she thinking? My body was on fire and I was in no mood to get hassled. It took just under 30 minutes for me to walk around the block and I had to stop a total of ten times. Ten was much lower than what I initally thought, I was thinking more in the twenty range. Bob let me rest outside the door for a couple of minutes before we carried the weights back down the stairs. Bob made sure I noted the amount of times I dropped the weight and next time we will shoot for single digits.

I am hoping that in the upcoming weeks I will have the ability to complete a full one hour workout and then complete the Farmers Walk. But then again, with Max Bob be careful what you wish for!

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Training with the Human Wall and Max Bob - By Ken Dowman

Originally posted on on January 10, 2006

During my senior year of high school I weighed 130 pounds and was roughly 6' 0" tall. I was weak and I was unable to pitch for the varsity squad. I had everything but the strength to compete. I thought it was unfair because all my peers grew while I stayed the same size. If I was going to gain some size I would have to do it the hard way and earn it! Luckily, I began working at a warehouse in Claymont, DE where I became good friends with the owner, Ed Keene. Ed was in his mid 50's and had more knowledge than most personal trainers when it came to strength training.

I asked Ed for some advice on how to gain strength and size. It was here where I was introduced to people such as Bob Whelan, Dr. Ken, and Stuart McRobert. Ed provided me with a workout routine, meal plan, trap bar, training videos, etc. I was able to gain 20 pounds in a relatively short amount of time but I was far from what I wanted to achieve. Soon enough, summer was over and I was off to begin my college career.

When I was a freshman at Pace University located in downtown Manhattan, I e-mailed Bob Whelan asking for any gyms he knew of in the New York City area. His e-mail back was simple- "Drew Israel-phone number." I was new to lifting and never heard of Drew Israel, so I searched Bob's website and sure enough I was able to view a picture and read some articles about "The Human Wall." I gave Drew a call and we set up our first session for a Saturday morning. When I arrived at Drew's apartment I was astonished by his size. Never have I seen someone so big and so strong! What else should I have expected from the 200 pound dumbbells in the driveway? The apartment was filled wall to wall with machines and there was barely enough room for his bed.

Before the workout Drew asked me if I had any medical conditions. I told him I suffered from asthma and kyphosis of the back. Drew made sure I had an inhaler and I told him my back is OK, just as long as I don't "overdue it," like anyone else for that matter. The first exercise was the squat in the Bear made my Powernetics. Drew didn't specify the reps, but I assumed twenty. Man was I wrong. After twenty I was tired, but Drew insisted ten more. I didn't think I could but I took my time and completed ten more. After thirty Drew yells out, "Five more, come on Kenny, you can do it!" Soon enough I kept going in increments of five and after fifty Drew let me rest. It was more of a collapse on the floor and I started seeing stars, and the banana I ate not too long ago was creeping its way up from my stomach. The set was painful but laying on the floor I felt a great sense of accomplishment. Drew told me I was in the machine for about 15 minutes, but it seemed like an hour. I did some sets on the Med-Ex Chest Press, Med-Ex Military Press, Med-Ex Pull Down, and the Dominator, made by powernetics. The workout lasted about 45 minutes and sure enough my banana came right up and into Drew's toilet. Drew let me rest and put my feet up on one of the machines and after about ten minutes, I made my way back home, as my legs continued shaking from the squats.

I was able to make significant gains whenever I visited Drew, even if it was just for a months time. Drew introduced me to slow training which was never easy. I'll never forget the burning in my legs from the Med-Ex Leg Press. We would watch videos of training at Ken Leistner's house and WST, Bob Whelan's gym in Washington D.C. Unfortunately, I trained at Drew's on an "off and on basis." Working and going to class took up most of my time and I was never able to gain consistency in my training.

Hanging out with Drew was always a fun time. Watching him left hundreds of pounds in a slow cadence was always amazing to me, and hearing how much he ate the previous night for dinner was always a good story. I plan to move back to New York City and when I do, I'll be sure to give Drew a call for a workout and for a bite to eat.

After living in New York City for five years I decided to try something new, so I took a job with the Federal Bureau of Prisons and moved with my beautiful fiance, Denea to Washington D.C. A couple of weeks living in D.C. passed and an incident on the metro changed me forever. When my fiancé and I were getting off the train, some drunk skinny punk made a rude comment toward Denea. I was hesitant and the door closed. I felt weak and I felt if I was stronger there would have been no hesitation and I would have ripped him off the train and made him apologize. It had been awhile since I trained with Drew and I was in need of getting on the right track. The next day I rang Maximum Bob and the rest is history.

Bob asked me if I was familiar with his style of training and I told him he recommended me a few years ago to his buddy Drew Israel. We set up our first session and I was pumped! It had been awhile since the last time I trained and I was eager to get strong, get healthy, and gain size.

It was a muggy day in August when I first met Bob, and I didn't know what to expect. Drew had mentioned Bob before, and told me his workouts were brutal and that he was a no nonsense type of guy. I figured if I just worked hard and kept my mouth shut I would be OK, and my assumption was correct. Bob was waiting for me outside and lead me downstairs to his awesome and unique gym. When I met Bob the first thing I noticed was the thickness of his lower body. His legs look like tree trunks but Bob has squatted 380 pounds for 20 reps (back when he weighed 181) so what else should have I expected? His chest and back are massive, the signs of true strength.

As you walk downstairs you are greeted with sand bags of various sizes, farmers walk implements, a weight stacked grip machine/ wrist roller, granite stones, and a Mega-Hex bar loaded with 450 plus pounds. His walls are covered with olde timer memoribillia and motivational material. He has stacks of old Strength and Health Magazines from the 1930's to the 1960's (with almost every issue) for his students to read. His place is as much a museum as a gym! He even has some old globe barbells and dumbells! We headed into Bob's office and I sat on the Tru-Bench machine while he explained his training philosophy and the importance of showing up on time for workouts and gave me a full hour orientation.

Bob explained to me that all sets are done to failure, and that after the first set of all movements are completed, a second set of the same movements are completed again to failure. I wasn't sure if I would complete my first workout, but it was worth a try.

Bob had me start with the Hammer Chest Press and then on to pullovers. My upper body was already tired and I knew I was far off from true training shape. With little rest it was on to chins and Bob helped me perform many of the reps. I was able to take a longer breather before the next group of exercises. I drank some water and was ready for the next movement. The Natilus plate loaded military press. I love this machine, the movement is very smooth and hits the shoulders very hard!

After military presses came calf raises. About half way through Bob mutters "Veal Parmesan!" I thought he was just hungry but Bob later explained to me he was referring to my calves being cooked, (cooked calf flesh!) like veal! He was right as my calves were on fire! Bob let me take a little breather before twenty rep squats. After ten reps I was really hurting, and Bob took mercy on me and encouraged me to get fifteen. There wasn't much time left in my workout (as I had to do a lot of resting in my first workout) but Bob had me repeat the chest Press and military Press. I thought to myself, how will I ever finish a work out? But Bob told me not to worry, that it would take time, and before I would know it, an hour workout would be nothing.

I couldn't wait to go back and Bob set up a training program where I could go to WST at twice every 10 days. Bob was very patient and encouraging when it came to helping me finish the workouts. His goal was NOT to make me puke but gradually improve my workouts and get me stronger. Bob's goal was to gradually improve my conditioning so I could complete all the volume of the WST one hour workout without feeling sick. Bob stressed the importance of eating some "good carbs" two hours before the work out and emphasized what I should be eating in between my training sessions. Since I wanted to GAIN more size, Bob recommended tuna, 1% milk, chicken breasts, meat, fruits and vegetables, salads, and more 1% milk.

I have trained with Bob for roughly five months, and have found consistency in my training. Bob sticks to the basics and every work out consists of vertical and horizontal pushing and pulling, at least one major leg movement and some ab work, some neck work, some calf and grip work and "if time" some odd object stuff ...all done in a one hour time frame. My conditioning has improved to the point that I now need a lot less rest between sets than I did a few months ago. I can complete the full volume of the one hour workout now. Although I'm wiped out and tired at the end, I never feel sick anymore as my conditioning has greatly improved.

I eat more than I ever did before, and after a workout I can easily eat a turkey plate and then some at the BBQ place next door. My body weight has increased from 165 to 190 and I am beginning to gain the strength I always wanted to when I first started training a few years ago. I hope that one day I will be able to attempt the farmers walk around D.C., but that will come with time.

Training with Max Bob has been an experience I will never forget. Not only is the training fun, but Bob is a real life example of how proper training and nutrition can lead to many benefits. I was shocked when Bob told me he was 51 years young. (Bob looks at least 15 years younger.) Bob has energy that most people in their 20's do not have.

Training with Drew and Bob has taught me a great deal about true strength and the importance of effort. One of my favorite signs at WST states "No Wimps Allowed" with the word "Toners" underneath. This is why I enjoy training with Bob. I cant imagine if I went to Bob and said "I want to tone or just get cut." I want to get big and strong and Bob has given me the tools and encouragement I need. One day I hope Drew, Bob, and I can train all together, go out for a great meal, and listen to Bob's philosophy about (right wing) politics.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Old Rusty Bar - By Keith Wassung

The old rusty bar lay across a blue tarp on the chilly October ground. Also occupying the space was a hockey stick, three pairs of roller skates and several miscellaneous golf clubs. The old rusty bar was just one of many items that were being sold at the 12th annual St Casmir’s Parish rummage sale. The bar was seven feet long, forty-five pounds and made of elevated temperature drawn alloy steel. Though covered with rust and corrosion, the bar was as strong as the day it was forged, which was sixty years earlier in a foundry in southeastern Pennsylvania. The men who crafted the bar were devoted to producing the finest lifting devices in the world. In an earlier life, these craftsman would have been making broadswords and battle shields for samurai warriors and elite gladiators.

The bar sat on a wooden rack in a warehouse until one day a man and his son entered the warehouse looking to make a purchase. John, who was 14 years old spotted the bar and said “Dad, this one.” John was weak and frail looking and could barely lift the bar from the racks. His father paid for the bar and for the 150lbs of black plates to go along with it. The bar and plates were loaded into their truck and driven to their home two hours away. John set the weight up in the basement of their home. Three days a week, he would sojourn to his basement gym and exercise with the weights. Even though he could barely lift the bar by itself, he insisted on at least having two the smallest plates on the bar when training. At first, he struggled to even stand erect with the bar and the small plates.

As the days and months passed, he began to slowly add more plates to the bar. He was soon lifting the bar to his chest, then overhead. His exercise regime was crude, but effective. His body responded with hard muscular growth. He collected exercise and anatomy charts from a physical culture magazine and attached them to the walls of his basement gym. Soon awards and local newspaper clippings honoring young John’s athletic achievements joined the charts and pictures.

One day John did not appear for one of his routine workouts. A week passed, then a month and still the bar remained untouched on the sheet of plywood that served as his lifting platform. Two and one half years later, he returned to the basement. He was taller, but much lighter in bodyweight and muscle mass. He walked with a noticeable limp and the last two fingers on his right hand were missing. His absence and his injuries were the result of serving his country. He began training with the weights again. Ever so slowly, he began to rebuild his body. The process was slow and painstaking. He taught himself how to use a hook grip with his right hand in order to properly secure the bar. Lower body training was slow and deliberate. His body responded by rebuilding the strength and size that it had once proudly bore. In less than a year, he was able to surpass his pre-war lifts and his limp became imperceptible. Shortly thereafter, he again left home, this time to take a job offer on the other side of the country. He left the bar and his weights behind, promising himself that he would return home for the equipment as soon as he was settled into his new residence. He never returned to retrieve the bar and it along with the rest of the equipment sat in the basement for six more years.

John’s parents sold the equipment to Charles Pinkerton, a young engineer who lived in a nearby town. Charles had been bitten by the iron bug while serving in the war in Europe and he was anxious to continue to continue his training. Less than a month after purchasing the equipment, Charles was notified by his company that he had received a promotion and would be transferred to France in order to supervise a major engineering project. The company shipped all of the Pinkerton’s household goods to France the following week. They quickly discovered that the house that had been rented for them was much smaller than they expected and almost half of their belongings had to be placed in storage for the duration of their stay. Charles was disappointed in not having sufficient space to use his weights, but was elated to find a excellent weight training gymnasium less than five blocks from their home. He quickly made friends with the owner who offered to store the bar and the weights in the gym. Charles worked hard on the engineering project and worked even harder in the gym. The project was finished early and under budget, resulting in another promotion for Charles and a transfer back to the United States. One week before he was to leave, Charles went down to the gym to retrieve his weights and to thank the owner and bid farewell to his fellow lifters. He was surprised to see a small gathering of about 20 people at the gym and was told that an American weightlifting champion was visiting the gym to give a demonstration. Charles worked his way to the front of the small crowd and gasped when he saw one of the most powerful looking men that he had ever seen in his life. The man, using Charles’s bar, was performing some powerful clean and jerks. The weight on the bar eventually reached 425lbs and the champion cleaned it to his chest and jerked it overhead with power to spare. The lift was greeted with thunderous applause from the crowd, however; the lifter was just warming up for an ever-bigger feat. He walked over to a ponderous set of railroad wheels joined by a thick axle. Applying a thick coating of chalk to his hands, the lifter approached the bar and prepared himself to conquer it.

The man next to Charles whispered to him “Only a few men in the world have ever lifted this weight” The railroad wheels were hauled to his chest and powerfully sent to arms length, not once, but three consecutive times. The ovation that the champion received was deafening. Charles was fortunate to shake the champion’s hand before he said his farewells and collected his equipment for the trip back home. Charles and his family moved to Albany, New York, which was the headquarters of the company that he was employed by. His promotion to a senior project coordinator allowed him to buy a nice home for his family, which included a small, but well equipped home gym in his garage. His new job necessitated a great deal of travel, but he trained whenever he could. His oldest son David, who had become quite a proficient lifter in his own right, frequently joined him. David has also developed a burning desire to be a pilot. He applied to both the Air Force and Naval Academies, but lacked the necessary connections to receive an appointment. Nonetheless, he was happy to receive a ROTC scholarship to the University of Notre Dame. Not only was Notre Dame an excellent academic institution, but David’s Uncle Henry and Aunt Jean lived on a farm near South Bend and so David could always count on a home cooked meal at their house.

David arrived on campus in the summer of 1960 a week before classes were to commence. He endured the tedious but necessary pre-registration rituals and was assigned to a dormitory room. After settling in, he changed into his training clothes and left the dorm in search of the school’s gymnasium. His search led him to a building behind the main building with the large gold dome. He opened the door and walked into the gymnasium. The area was packed with barbells, dumbbells and solid, study benches of all types. The walls were lined with mirrors that were covered with anatomy charts, lifting photos and press clippings. In the center of the wall was a large sign that read “Only one man in 20,000 can press their own bodyweight-are you a man” As he ventured to the mirror to take a closer look at the clippings, he was startled by a booming voice saying “WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN MY GYM” David whirled around to face a massive man dressed in gray work pants and a sleeveless denim shirt. The man had a huge barrel chest and a bull neck. Though he was in his 70’s, the massive muscles in his upper arm and forearms stood out in bold relief. David stared at the man, and nervously answered “I was looking for a place to lift weights”

The man glared at David for several seconds. David then said “Sir, would it be ok if I train in this gym” The man replied “ The gym opens at 7am and closes promptly at 4:30, membership is five dollars” David reached into his pocket for his wallet but the man stopped him and said “Hang onto your money, I will let you train today and then I will decide if I will allow you to continue” The man turned and walked over to a small desk in the corner of the gym and began reading a thick textbook.

David spent several minutes performing calisthenics in preparation for his training. He removed an empty bar from the rack and placed it in the middle of an empty space on the floor. He loaded two 45lb plates onto each side enjoying the rhythmic clink of the plate as they slid onto the bar. He took a breath and reached down and grabbed the bar with a slightly wider than shoulder width grip. Mindful of that fact that the man at the desk was closely watching him, David performed five power cleans with the loaded bar. He was careful to set the bar down gently between each rep to avoid arousing the temper of the elderly man. He added a twenty-five pound plate to each side and secured the ends with a pair of spin-lock collars. He cleaned the weight three times and then power jerked it for a solid double. He then added an assortment of smaller plates to the bar to bring the total weight up to 230lbs. He approached the bar and just as he was squatting down to grip the bar, he noticed that the large man was standing off to his left and behind him in close observance. David grasped the bar and heard the man, in a commanding voice growl “GRIP THAT BAR AS IF YOU WERE TRYING TO CHOKE YOUR ENEMY TO DEATH” David squeezed the bar tightly and performed a picture perfect clean, followed by a precise jerk to lock the weight triumphantly over his head. David could not help but keep the bar extended for a couple of extra seconds. He set the bar down gently and turned to see that the man was already walking back to his desk without any type of comment. He continued his workout by doing squats, pullovers, presses and chin-ups. For his last exercise, he loaded a bar to 175lbs and performed variable grip barbell rows, a move that his father had taught him. The exercise was a barbell row, with the initial grip being very wide. Four repetitions were performed with the wide grip and then David set the bar down and brought both hands in about six inches and then continued to perform 3-4 reps for each grip width until his hands were less than a foot apart.

As soon as he was finished with his last set, he carefully returned all of his equipment to its proper storage place. Taking a deep breath, he approached the desk where the watchful man was sitting and said “Sir, I want to thank you for letting me train in your gym today” The man grunted a nearly inaudible “your welcome” and then he reached into his desk and pulled out a notebook and a pencil. As he opened the notebook, he looked up at David and said “What’s your name, and where are you from”? David supplied this information and the man wrote it down in his notebook. The man then said “I have never seen you before, so you must be a freshman” David nodded his head and the man said “ I will take that five dollars now” David reached into his pocket and handed the man a five dollar bill. He placed the bill into his pocket and then returned to reading his book. David excused himself and left the gym. He would find out later that the man who ran the gym has been a student at the school and was now a priest. His strength was legendary and at one time he had been considered as one of the strongest men in the world. He ran the gym with an iron fist, but he was also very generous with his time and his resources. David would learn more from this strongman-priest then he did from any of his instructors the entire time he was in school.

In his junior year of school, David was notified that he had been promoted to the top ranking ROTC officer at the university. It was an incredible honor, but it also meant increased responsibilities and duties. The increase, combined with his increasingly difficult academic load meant that he we unable to get to the gym to train as often as he liked. To solve this problem, he visited his parents at Christmas and brought back his Dad’s treasured Olympic bar and an assortment of weights with him. Uncle Henry had an available utility shed and David was able to set up a crude gym in the there. He would often visit his aunt and uncle on weekends, train with the weights and then stay for dinner.

David graduated with honors from Notre Dame in the spring of 1964. He was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the United States Air Force and moved to Texas to begin his flight training. Ten months later, he received orders to a squadron in Vietnam that was part of Operation Rolling Thunder. Lt. Pinkerton flew numerous missions and received both the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Force Commendation medal. One warm fall afternoon, while flying a sortie into route package six-alpha, David’s plane was hit by a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft artillery, sending the bomber into a crash landing. His body was shipped home for burial with military honors the following week.

Several months later, Uncle Henry gathered up the weights that were still sitting neatly in the utility shed and donated them to a local high school, but the bar remained in the shed for nearly twenty-five years, when it was donated to the church for its annual rummage sale. The old rusty bar had a good run but it appeared to be ending. The sale would end at noon and all of the unsold merchandise would end up in at the nearby landfill. Earlier in the day, two teenagers had taken at a look at the bar and had expressed some interest in it. However, they decided against it in lieu of a brand new shiny bar that was available at their local discount store.

At twenty minutes to noon, a young man, whose body was just beginning to show the results of resistance training, lifted the hockey sticks and skates off the bar. He picked up the bar and carefully examined it, in the same way that a jeweler would evaluate a precious stone. The young man turned to Father Everett, who was in charge of collecting the money for the merchandise, and politely asked ‘Excuse me sir, what is the price of this bar”? The Padre walked over to where the teenager was kneeling and looked at the old rusty bar. He said “Well, its kind of rusty, so lets say five dollars” The young man reached into his pockets, knowing that he had less than fifty cents on him, but somehow hoping that he might have the necessary cash to make the purchase. He stood up and said to Father Everett “Wait right here, I will be back in just a minute with the money” He then sprinted off to find his grandfather. He spotted him on the other side of the church. The white haired man was haggling with another elderly man over some mallard duck decoys. “Grandpa, I need to borrow five dollars, I can pay you back next week” His grandfather replied “What are you planning to buy” “It’s a really cool lifting bar,” he said. His grandfather said, “Well, why don’t you show me this bar” The young man led his grandfather over to the blue tarp. He squatted down, picked up the bar, and turned to show it to his grandfather. “The man reached out and touched the bar with his fingertips. “It will take some elbow grease to get this rust off; we should stop at the hardware store on the way home and get some naval jelly.” “Grandpa, does that mean you will loan me the five dollars” His grandfather smiled and said, “No, I won’t loan you the money, but I will give it to you.” He turned to Father Everett who had walked up the edge of the tarp and said I want to buy this bar for my grandson” He reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet. He selected a crisp five-dollar bill and handed it to the priest, who could not help but notice the missing fingers on the grandfather’s right hand.

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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Squat Change Of Pace - By Alfred Page

If you fancy a brief change to your regular set and rep scheme, or just for something a bit different, then give this a go;

The challenge is a 100 rep Squat workout.

Now before the mere thought of squatting 100 reps puts you on you're back- ...STOP! The workout is done in a rest pause manner. Using 70% of your 1 rep max, you are to perform a set of only 2 reps every 30-90 seconds for 50 sets (100 reps in total).

The idea isn't for a super high intensity 1 set workout, which totally annihilates your whole body. It is designed as something radically different to shock and condition your body aswell as for a change. I know Dr. Ken E Leistner has had his victims perform 100 rep squat workouts in the continuous manner...but for now this isnt the purpose.

It will take around 45 minutes to 1 hour to complete and so will require focus and concentration. It is fantastic for learning and memorizing set-up and positioning, as well as squatting grove because you have to rack and unrack the bar so many times. It is more of a fun workout because by using 70% of your 1 RM you wont be at the point of collapse. It is just enough to really feel and practice the movement of squatting. Try it for 1week in place of your regular workout. It relieves the pressures of contant high intensity work and inspires a bit of motivation too.

I tried this last saturday after having had a weeks break from squats and thought it was amazing. I did the first 80 reps in sets of 2 reps, then 2x5 taking me to 90 reps and the last 10 reps in one set. I really started to feel it after about 30 reps and by the end my hams and glutes felt like they were cramping. It took 55 minutes to complete and i was still sore 4 days later.

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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Three Days a Week Full Body Training - By Carlton H. Shedrick, Jr.

Many of you are probably thinking that training the entire body three times a week is too much work. And I might agree if you pushed very hard on all exercises every workout. The following is based on the old heavy, medium and light training programs, but it has a couple spins.

The old way would have you set a side days, say Monday-heavy, Wednesday-light and Friday-medium. Were you would training all exercises on that particular day ether heavy, medium or light. This is not that bad of an approach, however, the one big problem is sustained effort. That is, on a heavy day, how can you push hard on the squats and truly push hard on the deadlifts or any other exercise for that matter?

A better way or a way to improve the old program is to break exercises up were they are trained differently on particular days. First here is a list of exercises in the usual order I perform them. The order of the exercises can be changed. They are in this order because of personal preference explained later.

1.. Clean and presses 2.. Back squats 3.. Floor presses 4.. Deadlifts 5.. Pull-ups 6.. Weighted abdominal 7.. Standing calf raises 8.. Biceps curls 9.. Wrist work

Now after you have your list of basic exercises simply decide what exercise you want to train heavy to start your week. You could train the back squats, pull-ups and abbs-heavy, and the clean and press, floor press, biceps curls- medium, and every thing ells light on the first day. On the second day train the floor press, deadlift, calfs-heavy, and train the clean and press, back squat, pull-ups-light, and everything ells medium. On the third day train the clean and press, bicep curls and wrist work-heavy.

Now I don't actually do all the same exercises in each workout. What I do is use exercises that work on my week points. The week looks like this:


1.. Barbell Clean and presses M-H 2.. Barbell Back squats M-H 3.. Wide grip Floor presses M 4.. Stifflegged Deadlifts M 5.. Pull-ups M-H 6.. Weighted abdominal M 7.. One leg Standing calf raises M-H 8.. Ez bar Biceps curls L-M 9.. Wrist work-wrist roller L-M-H Thursday

1.. Barbell Clean and presses L 2.. Barbell Back squats L 3.. Mid grip Floor presses H 4.. Conventional Deadlifts H 5.. Chin-ups- reverse grip L-M 6.. Stability ball crunches L-M 7.. Standing calf raises L 8.. No curls, only chin pull-ups 9.. Wrist work-wrist flexing, no weight L Saturday

1.. One arm dumbbell Clean and presses M-H 2.. One legged squats L-M 3.. Close grip Floor presses L 4.. Overhead plate goodmornings L 5.. One arm dumbbell rows M-H 6.. Weighted abdominal-side bends and crunch L-M 7.. One leg Standing calf raises L-M 8.. Barbell Biceps curls H 9.. Wrist work-pinch grip and grippers M-H

This still might be a lot of work for some, so doing two workouts a week may be best. You truly must train a lift light when you are scheduled to. My workout might be a bit overworked for some but it has been slowly developed from the basic lifts. Over time I tinker with one particular exercise until I find what works best.

Now I don't think you need to get your recovery just right. In fact having a light workout when you are still recovering gets blood moving through your muscles. Helping with muscle soreness and flushing muscles with all kinds of nourishment. Essentially active rest, kind of an oxy moron, but the point of light workouts is to get muscles warm and lose- not worked. Also it is easy to see that training one or two exercises hard and the rest relatively easy will allow you to be more effective with each heavy exercise in training. Some programs simply change the order of exercises so you can push harder on the beginning exercise. This to is not a bad idea and might be easier then keeping the same order of exercises and verifying efforts. Just remember it is about progress. If you switch too often then progress could be shortchanged.

I hope this article has given you confidence to try a different training approach. Have fun experimenting. Slowly experiment until you get to a point you like.

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