The Hise Deltoid Exercise
by Joseph Curtis Hise (1944)
These who are about to die are not asking the editor for a *continued in the next issue* so I have decided to expose the mechanics of the secret deltoid exercise. As I lined up an opus on other undemocratic facts in balancing the muscles of the body I found I had put this last. We would certainly lose our editor if such a thing happened -- there is a limit to what fanatics will put up with, especially those unfortunate fellows who imagine the 2-arm press is an exercise and act accordingly. On a pair of occasions I fled in a cloud of dust from Alliance, Nebraska and Columbus, Ohio ahead of irate posses because I would neither answer questions nor explain it.
In vain I used my brains and hopper bridgework and, outside of discovering a triceps exercise in which one uses a far heavier weight than any other, my efforts were in vain. After "proving" that a rebound in the deltoid exercise was impossible (except in Grimek's rebounding crucifix with kettlebells -- a most torturous exercise for tyros, and the kettlebell flip which i read and practiced years ago from a writeup of Jowett's in 1925). I discovered it in Feb. 1940 by pure accident. I was certain that no one except myself had ever used it and it is decidedly new to weight exercisers. Because of its discovery while trying to prove to Munigoli that all peewees were wrong in wanting to weight more it was readily proved by a mathematical formula that "The bigger the Boob the better" which is the Hise Torso Law of Body Mass -- which has been proved by the thousands by the deep knee bend specialists. But by lucky accident I was the first one to put it in mathematical law -- instead of feeling it in the bones like all of the appreciators of such. Ansorge explains that exercisers are famous for parking their brains when they commence to use weights and that only a few unpark themselves even after months or years of failures. We know of no exceptions to the "Ansorge Law".
You must have a dumbbell. I sincerely hope that the Elder Rader does not add an "e" -- for if he does there is no telling what kind of trouble it will cause the fanatical bachelors -- who, one and all, would grab the nearest dumbbelle (who, alas, turn out very vociferous) if it is printed in the directions to make super deltoids if you have very weak deltoids (you may imagine you have poor leverage if you use that most worthless exercise -- the two-arm press to "develop the deltoids") load the dumbbell to one half the two-arm press exercise.
If one is used to using dumbbells take the weight you use in ordinary dumbbell press as a starter, or a little heavier. Cast thine eye on some solid object -- such as a cold water pipe from floor to ceiling, or door casing or a ladder on a steam locomotive -- something easy to hold onto which is fairly solid. After you see the said object, grab hold of it at about shoulder height, or slightly less, so that the torso is perpendicular or leaning slightly backwards -- which is the way you will finally adopt -- this object is grasped by the non-lifting hand at arm's length -- the elbow may be straight or slightly bent -- it does not matter -- most will prefer the elbow slightly bent. Now, this is the secret of the Hise Deltoid exercise. This non-lifting hand gives the body a solid brace and it was the lack of a braced torso that defeated all my efforts to hop with bridgework as in the straight-legged dead lift exercise.
This non-lifting arm on the immovable object at arm's length and at about shoulder height forms the brace that makes the torso a solid foundation -- all you have to do is press the dumbbell rapidly and as it is lowered rapidly it rebounds from the shoulder (that is, the arm rebounds from the shoulder -- you never hit the body with the dumbbell).
All you have to do is press -- you do not have to hold an adagio act like alternate dumbbell pressing or a wrestling match like in repetition barbell pressing. Successful exercise is where practically all the energy is directed towards effort on the muscles -- and not in "bee fighting" like in the tiresome tho popular exercises.
As long as your torso is braced by the non-lifting hand holding the immovable object, the lifting deltoid does nothing but press. It doesn't spend its effort trying to keep up with the adagio or bee fighting interludes between presses. Without this brace your body is continually changing its center of gravity -- shimmying in several segments like a tremolo note on a violin string. If you don't know what that is just look at anyone repetition pressing with a barbell. The majority of all effort goes on bee fighting, unless you prefer tremoloing. No one ever got a gold medal in a lifting meet for demonstrating the shifting gravity center in two-arm pressing.
If the necessity of using a dumbbell strikes you with horror, remember in the USA the only good deltoids I know owed to two-arm pressing are J. H. Miller's. Grimek's are owed to kettlebells, all others are owed to dumbbell exercise.
Everywhere except the USA dumbbells have a popular reputation for causing stiffness. The fact that they are avoided dooms about 90% of strong men to failure in competition. That 90% must have single-arm motions to develop the deltoid. In quick lifting the deltoid delivers the back strength, if the deltoid is large enough. Without a big deltoid you can never shine in pressing, snatching, cleaning or jerking.
If the deltoid is large, even tho the press leverage is poor the snatching and jerking will be perhaps as good as tho your press leverage was the best ever seen. The secret of success in lifting is a BIG deltoid and a strong back. If you have a strong back, so are your thighs. A heavy deep knee bend is not always necessary. A Saxon man has a normal squat poundage, 50% greater than a Terry man. This is an inherent leverage. If there backs have identical straight-legged dead lift on the hopper poundages, their possibilities in the quick lifts are equal if they both have huge deltoids and weigh the same.
If you use this method of "braced" dumbbell pressing there will be no sign of stiffness. If you really want to become muscle bound practice "round back cleans" for three weeks. When you try your official cleans, presses and cleans, you will fear that you are ruined forever. Lifters use "flat back hangs" which do not do this.
You will need strong collars on the dumbbell. The rapid pressing will shake ordinary collar sets loose. If your back is strong you will need a long dumbbell handle about 30 inches long. Diameter of plates not over 8 inches. In fact this exercise will force the use of lead plates. Abele and such will use around 180 pounds in this exercise. Lifters pointing for a match will use a different style of pressing. They will press in a straight legged semi-jerk style in shoulder rocking motion. This is neither necessary nor desirable for under-deltoided gents.
This is a curative exercise. The worst kind of shoulder sprains that the deltoid is mixed in can be cured in a few short weeks. Any perfect exercise is a curative exercise.
Exercisers with large chests know how many repetitions they need. All others should try 8 to 12. As they advance in poundage they may find 12 impossible to do. Reduce to 8 reps and increase weight when succeeding with 10. Most should use 3 sets for each arm during the exercise period -- the first 2 with standard weight and the 3rd with less (or the reps may be less than 8). Remember, this is only a deltoid exercise. It is not a biceps, triceps or forearm exercise -- other exercises must be done for them.
This exercise is exposed for the benefit of the demon trainers and an exposition of the Hise Law of Torso Body Mass for the same.
Big men and little men do not have the same mechanical advantages. Pound-for-pound argument they are equal in back strength (dead lift is an indication of leverage of the back strength -- and is very seldom the back strength mark of an individual), and equal in squats -- where their thighs and aft hip sides are identical. Saxons are 50% higher in squat poundage than Terrys -- but no better at all in the quick lifts, WHEN THEY WEIGH THE SAME.
The heavier a man is the more strength he will deliver in proportion to his real back strength -- his torso efficiency is higher. It is the weight of the torso -- not necessarily the chest size -- for Saxon's chest is only 1" larger than Klein's -- yet Saxon can one-hand snatch 40% or more of his real back strength and Klein would do real well to do 33%.
If a peewee can stiff-legged dead lift exercise on a hopper 400 pounds, and is an average presser, he will press 35% of this, or 140 pounds. If he gains 10 pounds (with no increase in back strength), he will press 38% or 152 pounds. If he gains 20 pounds (with no increase in back strength), he will press 41% or 164 pounds. In case this horrible slander at the peewee horrifies you -- let us take a real man -- who was once a peewee but who no longer is: Bob Mitchell in his peewee days had a happy time. His back was as strong as Terlazzo's -- 480 pound dead lift -- but his press percentage was poor. Actually it was better than ordinary but, alas, Terlazzo was good. Mitchell sported a press of around 37%. Some months ago Mitchell happily weighed in the 190 or 200 class. His back was still as strong as Terlazzo's circa 520 -- but in all of the lifts Terlazzo looks like he has lumbago compared to the bigger-massed Mitchell. When Mitchell was a peewee if he was lucky he could press 30% of his then-back strength -- now he can cheerfully sling 40% with his eyes shut -- Terlazzo is really hot stuff and can press about 32% of his back. Oh yes, that press. Terlazzo is king of the light weights with around 47% press. Col. Mitchell does 52% then and likely at least 54 or 55 right now. I am afraid that this exposition of the Hise Law of Torso Body Mass, and what is worse using Mitchell as "The Bigger The Boob The Better" is going to cause an insurrection among the peewees and that means that every class above them is going to be annexed by them -- including our new 202 lb. class. Only the dreadnought class -- may -- be safe from their aggression. Increased body weight is a huge temptation, greater efficiency in the pressing besides will be irresistible. The coming invasion will be ferocious, if you weigh less than 220 pounds. If you weigh over this, you can cheer it philosophically.
My percent presses are defined as follows: that which an exerciser can press in free style or what skilled men can press in that horrible Olympic Military Press, both using one-and-one-sixteenth Jackson Jackrabbit bar -- which is good for about 30 more pounds for the old timers -- just in spring alone. If Saxon's 252 on a club was transferred to a Jackson Jackrabbit outfit it would be about 282 or over in a rapid perfect military and about 290 or 300 in the stick 'em out belly hold shoulders perpendicular style known as an Olympic press. You can see and feel the thousands of witnesses shudder when they see a good Olympic MP stick 'em out belly style -- nothing is worse unless it is sawing on your vertebrae.
Average presses are about as follows: Feathers 34% of the straight legged dead lift exercise on the hopper repetitions between 5 and 20, whichever suits the type. Lightweights 38%. Middleweights 42%. Light heavyweights 46%. 202 class 50%. Dreadnoughts 54%. The ordinary deviation among those with large deltoids appears to be 10% plus or minus -- that is 28% to 48% for lightweights -- Klein is appr 50%, Grimek and Manger press 60% or better.
Terry 37%, Abele and Stanko 52%, Davis 54% are not "good" pressers,tho better than average. Manger and Grimek over 60%, J. H. Miller 54%, Terlazzo 47%, Terpak 50% and Munigoli 45% are "good" ones. Paschall is the worst in the world and he is 37% as a lightheavy. Eels is 42% -- the worst heavyweight with a big deltoid -- altho Rigoulot was worse at 210 pounds. Rigoulot 43% at 240 pounds. Ordinarily, any trainer who has a heavy who presses less than 42% of his SLDLEX on hopper may consider him surely deltoid deficient -- even tho it appears of good size. If he has a 42% in the 140's he has a ringtailed whiz.
Most of you will forget the preceding and remember only the following. In May 1939 I straight armed the gravel ballast and sprained the left shoulder. Two arm pressing caused little improvement in the sprain. In Feb. 1940 when I discovered the hop deltoid exercise, my press was 140 pounds using unbalanced grip on the barbell. My SLDLEX on the hopper was 520 pounds. I discovered through tests that sldl poundage will not advance except at the same speed that the thighs are strengthened -- that is, the back will not unbalance from the thighs. The first three weeks my left shoulder "scalped" on every press. I wrote to Mark Berry that this must be the stiffening of the shoulder as is acclaimed in Europe and Egypt as being the Evil of Dumbbells. Berry wrote me that it was worse than that -- he feared that my shoulder was ruined and would never be any better. At the end of the fourth week the sound disappeared. Then I began to pour on the weight. At the end of the sixth week my exercise weights became stationary. I knew that future improvement would be slow without taking up DKB and SLDL exercise. My shoulder was "cured" and my press was 100 pounds higher than six weeks before. I pressed 240 and my SLDLEX was just shy of 420 pounds.
Using ferocious weights and and shoulder-hip rocking had increased it. Using lots of two arm barbell reps my previous highest press was 225 at 540 SLDLEX altho highest SLDL ex. was about 570.