Monday, November 12, 2018

Chest Training 1955 Complete

Originally published in this shockingly inappropriate issue (July '55)  

by Joseph Weider, T.O.C. (T.M.B.)

If you are a beginner and have found it tough to add inches to your chest during the introductory stages of bodybuilding training . . . if you're a more advanced man and lack good pectoral development and proportionate chest muscularity . . . then something is drastically wrong. Bother, you've sure been following the wrong system. It's pretty obvious that if it had been The Weider System and its training principles, you would now be in possession of a full, thick, beautifully shaped chest with slab-sized pecs to top it of.

The Weider System:
The Weider System Dumbbell Training Course: 

The pectorals are the easiest group in the body to develop. There are more exercises and types of equipment to bring them and their allied groups to a peak of muscularity and power than for any other section of the human physique.

No bodybuilder need walk around with a flat bony chest or poorly proportioned pecs if he follows the Weider Principles as outlined in this article. Note: I'm leaving all the hoopla and self-promotion in this one. But not the supplement recommendation crap. I can not only honestly say, but I will guarantee that if you keep to the advice, and incorporate some of the exercises in this article into your workouts, you'll get such amazing chest bulk that you'll increase four inches in three months. Yes, it's that easy if you know how.

If you doubt the value of the Weider System and its training principles, pick up any magazine on bodybuilding printed prior to 1940. Look carefully at the photos of the bodybuilders in it, many of them with flat, bony chests and disproportionate pecs, at the chest poses of the oldtimers such as Hackenschmidt, Sandow, Saxon and Grimek . . . yes . . . even Eddie Theriault.

Oh, you mean that Eddie Theriault.

See for yourselves how they all lacked not only pec development but what we instructors call the classical torso. It was only with the advent of the Weider System, the new types of equipment we sponsored and promoted that Grimek, Theriault and the others who followed in their path got that high, full chest appearance. So right from the start you must understand that there is only one way to develop pecs fast and that is with the modern Weider Methods and Training Principles, plus the types of equipment sponsored by the Weider Research Clinic.

There is hardly a famous physique model of today who has not followed our methods, and because of this there is no man worthy of the name of Physique Champion who does not possess good pec muscularity and form. Aside from the invention of water, this type of pec development is of the greatest Weider discoveries. I couldn't resist.

Look at the powerful physiques of Reg Park, Clancy Ross, Lou Degni, Jack Delinger, George Eiferman to mention a mere few. They are products of our principles and I am going to pass on to you the exact methods and exercises they used to build their massive pecs, so that you can follow them and take advantage of their experiences and knowledge gained through the use of Weider Principles.
To begin with, the chest muscles must be worked individually, not in coordination with the others.

Yes, the pecs come into play when the shoulders and arms are worked, but the fastest and most productive way to build your pecs is to concentrate on them alone, and let the other muscles come in for some work indirectly. You must specialize on the pecs, work them, make them grow with the Weider Cheating and Peak Contraction Principles. Cheating exercises with heavy weights will give the pecs depth and bulk. Exercises with lighter weights in combination with the peak contraction method will give them shape and chiseled form. For this reason I am splitting the article into two parts: one for the movements to add bulk and depth, the other for shape and definition. So, we'll assume your pecs are not fully developed and properly proportioned, that you want to add more size to them. Let's go on a journey of ten steps.

Step One: The Muscle Priority Principle

When you start your workouts, exercise your pecs first. Use the Flushing Method and perform 3-4 exercises . . . two for bulk and two for form and muscularity. Start off with the first exercise, following through with the necessary combination of sets and reps. Pause for a minute or two, then go on to the second exercise, following the necessary sets and reps again. Take another pause when these are completed, and go on to exercise three and so on. After you've finished your pec work start your routine for the other body parts, but remember this: THE PECS COME FIRST EVERY TRAINING SESSION.

Step Two: Choice of Exercises
Look over the exercises illustrated.         

Click to ENLARGE

Pick out two cheating movements and two definition exercises you want to use in your next workout routine for the chest. But remember this: you must perform heavy bench presses every workout . This exercise is a MUST. If you so desire, you may keep to the four movements plus the bench press for a month and change after that time to another four different exercises plus the bench press for another month if this system suits your temperament. 

Others prefer to change the exercises every workout like Steve Reeves does, and this can be good too. Still more might train like Reg Park, changing the program only once every six months, and this also is okay. You will have to experiment and see what suits you best, what fits your particular temperament for fastest muscle and power growth.

Step Three: Choice of Poundages

You must handle as heavy a weight as possible in all your exercises. The constant handling of heavier and heavier weights forces your muscles to grow bigger and stronger. If on a particular day you feel full of energy and pep, try to use heavier poundages than previously. If you are tired, don't force yourself to try and increase the poundages with every workout. Let this rule guide you . . . if the weight feels particularly light, add more poundage. Since it is impossible to add size and thickness to your muscles without handling heavy poundages, in bulk programs stay away from light weight and high repetitions. These will never bring swift pec growth.

Step Four: Timing Your Training

Don't rush through your exercises. From the moment your hands touch the bar until they put it down at the completion of a set, concentrate on all that you are doing, on the exercise form, on the muscles' action, visualizing them growing bigger, stronger and more defined. Don't swoop the weights back to starting position. When pressing, press deliberately and lower the weight down slightly faster than you press it, but don't drop the weight down like a hawk swooping on its prey. Don't forget these points . . . concentrate on the exercise and the muscle action, perform the exercise deliberately, control the weights back to the commencing position.

Step Five: Choice of Sets

Never perform more than 3 sets of an exercise and never do more than 10 reps. All Peak Contraction exercises should follow the same procedure. When performing Cheating exercises and handling extremely heavy weights, still keep to 3 sets but don't go above 6-9 reps depending on both the poundage you are handling and your energy level for the session. Pause briefly between each set. Perform your repetitions, rest for a while, and then go on to the second set, and after another pause, the third set.

Step Six: Forcing the Repetitions

If you are particularly anxious to make extra fast gains and have already been working out for at least 6 months, take advantage of the Weider Forced Reps Principle. Here's how it works in the bench press: You must use an extremely heavy weight that will just allow you to grind out 7 repetitions. Two training partners assist you, one at each end of the bar, to grind out another two additional reps after you have just completed the seventh. They "finger" the bar up for you . . . not too much but just enough for you to keep the bar moving. This principle is best saved for the more advanced exerciser.

Step Seven: Choice of Accessory Equipment

Next tot barbells, the most important piece of equipment is the Weider Adjustable Exercise Bench. There's no argument about this . . . it's a must. While the pecs can be worked a little when you are standing, the exercises are not completely effective and variety of movements restricted. But on the flat or incline bench you can perform at least three score effective pec exercises. The movements that go with this article show some of the best, and give you an idea of the wide range of exercises possible. On exercise benches the greater amount of weight you can handle makes the pec movements much more effective too, and in fact, with the exception of certain dipping movements, it is impossible to build outstanding pectoral development unless you do use the flat and incline exercise bench. So order this combination bench at once if you are anxious to build up those floppers fast.

Step Eight: Booster Exercises

After you have completed your pectoral workout you should perform muscle control movements, tension exercises, standing before a mirror, crisscrossing your arms and forcing pec tension, or placing your hands palms together in front of the body and at shoulder level, and pressing them together with all the power at your command. These motions plus massage will teach you how to control the pecs for posing as well as how to concentrate more fully on their action when exercising.

Step Nine: Timing the Workout

When working the pecs, don't expect to get the training over in anything less than 30 minutes. Better make up your mind to devote at least 45 minutes to pec work when specializing. Some champions devote as much as 90 minutes to bring their pecs up, so don't just perform a few exercises and let it go at that. Make up your mind before ever you start training to devote not less than 30 minutes to the group.

Step Ten: Correct Breathing

Remember that chest perfection does not come solely as the result of pectoral development. For that high chest arch the way you breathe has an important bearing. Always breathe in as deeply as you can, arching the chest high, thrusting up the rib box as much as possible. Don't take a scared, tiny breath, but force the air into your lungs and force it out. This will not only help increase lung capacity but will strengthen the internal cheat muscles and help push up the chest to even greater size. So with these 10 steps firmly fixed in your mind, let's tackle the best pectoral developing exercises. Notice in the illustrations above how they are split up into two parts: those for bulk, and those for definition; the Cheating and the Peak Contraction movements.

Bulk Building, Cheating Exercises

Exercise 1: Wide Grip Bench Press to Chest
Lie on an exercise bench, a barbell held at arms' length above your chest with a collar-to-collar grip. Take a deep breath stretching your chest and forcing the rib box up, then steadily lower the barbell down to your chest. Press it steadily up to arms' length again and repeat. Try not to arch your back up off the bench. Don't rush through the exercise. Use all the weight you can handle and cheat when the last few reps get tough. Perform 6-9 reps for 3 sets, and after six months use the Forced Repetitions system.

Exercise 2: Wide Grip Bench Press to Neck
Lie on the exercise bench, a barbell held at arms' length above your chest, collar-to-collar grip. Lower the barbell down steadily to your neck, press back to arms' length and repeat. Follow the same rules and system of sets and reps as in the previous exercise and after six months of training, begin to use the forced repetitions system. 

Exercise 3: Bent Arm Breathing Laterals
Notice how the end of the exercise bench is propped up on a box or block. Don't raise the end of the bench too high . . . just a  couple of inches. Hold a pair of dumbbells at arms' length above your chest, then bend the arms slightly at the elbows (see shadow inset on Illustration 3). Lower the dumbbells down and out to the sides. As you lower down, take a deep breath, reaching your peak intake as the dumbbells travel below the level of the bench and your body, and begin to stretch the chest and rib box. Raise back to the commencing position, breathing out forcefully, and repeat. Use heavy weights, 6-9 reps, 3 sets, and take your time performing the movement. Don't rush through it. Concentrate on the breathing and force air into the lungs as you lower the dumbbells, force it out as you return them to the starting position.

Exercise 4: Power Floor Presses Off Boxes, Wide Grip
Now you've really got to load up that barbell . . . way over your best bench press. Notice how the plates rest on two strong boxes so the bar bridges between them. You'll only have to press out a few inches when you get under the bar, but man, what a workout your pecs get. Use a wide, collar-to-collar grip and thrust the chest up as you press the barbell off the boxes. Lower it back as steadily as you can and repeat. Don't be afraid to force out those last few tough reps and even arch the body to apply the cheating principle. Use every ounce of weight you can handle for 3 sets of 6-9 reps.

Exercise 5: Dumbbell Bench Press
Lie on a flat exercise bench, a dumbbell in each hand at arms length above your chest, palms of the hands facing in to each other. Lower the dumbbells down to the chest, spreading the upper arms out wide from the shoulders as you do so. Let the dumbbells travel down as far as possible to fully stretch the chest muscles, then press back to starting position and repeat. Perform the exercise steadily but don't pause between repetitions. Just grind them out one after the other in steady fashion. Breathe in deeply as you lower the dumbbells and force out the breath as you press them up. Use 3 sets of 6-9 reps with all the weight you can handle, and shove up the poundage as soon as 3 sets of 9 reps becomes easy to perform. Force out those last two or three tough reps.

Exercise 6: Deep Dips on Parallel Bars, Weighted
Before you commence this make sure you can first comfortably perform 3 sets of 9 reps without any added weight. If you can, then attach weights to a belt around your waist for added resistance. If you experiment you'll soon determine the exact amount of added resistance that will enable you to grind out 3 sets of 6 reps. Go down steadily between the bars and when you are down between them as far as you can to, thrust the head and chest forward and slightly down to impart a tonic muscle stretching effect. Then push up to locked arms length again and repeat. Breathe in deeply as you lower the body and out as you push up again. Perform 3 sets of 6-9 reps, don't rush through the extercise, force out the last couple of tough repetitions and as soon as 3 x 9 is possible, INCREASE THAT EXTERCISING POUNDAGE.

These are some of the best pectoral producing exercises, tried and tested by the WEIDER RESEARCH CLINIC STAFF AND CHAMPIONS. Use the Flushing and Cheating principles with them.

Definition Producing, Peak Contraction Movements

Exercise A: Incline Barbell Press
Lie on an incline bench with a barbell held at arms' length above the chest, gripping the bar with a wide collar-to-collar grip. Use a weight you can handle for 3 sets of 10 reps. You should be able to handle it comfortably. Concentrate entirely on the exercise and the muscle action. From arms' length position above the head, lower the weight down SLOWLY, taking a deep, deep breath as you do so, reaching the peak of intake as the weight touches your chest. Press slowly back to arm's length again, breathing out forcefully, and repeat. Don't forget to perform the exercise slowly and deliberately and concentrate strongly on the muscle action.

Exercise B: Bent Arm Laterals on Incline Board
Lie on an exercise incline bench, a dumbbell held in each hand at arms' length above the chest. Bend the arms slightly at the elbows and keep them bent throughout the exercise. Lower the weights down, taking a deep breath as you lower them, forcing in the air and reaching the peak of intake as the dumbbells reach their [here's where I deleted a longwinded rant about sissified Princesses who actually believe high rep heavy squats and lifting weights are the hardest 'work' they'll ever do. It had to do with the various merits of deep breathing during chest training and wound up with some damn thing about accepting the challenge of randomly driving across the continent eviscerating as many folks as possible before getting caught. Okay then! All in a day, eh. I imagine the cleaning tasks would be pretty annoying if a guy was halfassed successful with that challenge over a long period of time. This is why car theft was invented. To remove blood, gristle and brain matter from vehicle upholstery, try baking soda and tonic water. The banality of evil, buddy.] as the dumbbells reach their lowest point, the laterals, silly, and are exerting a complete stretching effect on the chest muscles. Return to commencing position, breathing out as forcibly as you can and repeat.

Concentrate on correct breathing and don't attempt to perform the disemboweling, I mean exercise, in any way but slowly. Handle a weight good for 3 sets of 10 reps. You must be able to perform the exercise comfortably without having to force the reps . . . the last one you make naturally will be a little tough, but not so tough that it takes your mind off correct breathing and exercise performance.

Exercise C: Incline Dumbbell Press
Lie on an incline bench, a pair of dumbbells held in the feet, um, hands, at legs', er, arms' length above your chest, palms of the hands facing forward. As you lower the dumbbells down make sure your upper arms and elbows move SIDEWAYS AND DOWN do the elbows point out as the upper arms reach shoulder level. Illustration C clearly shows how the movement is performed. Of course! I was havin' a rough time figuring this one by looking at Illustrations A and D. Whew. That's better.

Pull the elbows well down to the sides but DO keep the palms of the hands facing forwards. Press to arms' length again and repeat. Breathe in deeply as you lower the bells and out as you press them to arms' length. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps and make each repetition a slow and deliberate one, concentrating on the exercise and muscle action for maximum peak contraction effect.

Exercise D: Barbell Forward Raise on Incline Bench. That deal, or a DIY version of one, are outstanding for all sorts of stuff you just can't do the same way on a seated incline bench. A standing incline bench setup and a power rack can lead to all manner of exercise variations.

Lie on that incline bench, a barbell resting across the hips or upper thighs at full downward arms' stretch. Use a fairly wide grip . . . a little more than shoulder width. From this position raise the barbell up to the position indicated in the illustration, hold it for a slow count of three, then lower and repeat. When you lower the barbell, don't let it touch the thighs but keep it about an inch off. This is not only a fine frontal deltoid movement but it gets the pecs in a new range of motion and imparts a fine Peak Contraction effect. Take a deep breath when you start to raise the bar thrusting the chest UP as high as you can. Breathe out as you lower the bar. Force the air in and out of the lungs, perform the exercise slowly, use 3 sets of 10 reps and don't forget to HOLD IT AT THE TOP of the raise in each repetition.

Exercise E: Wide Grip Bar Pushups
Using a wide grip, grip a stabilized bar, body kept absolutely straight and in one rigid line from feet to shoulders. Start from the locked arms' length position above the bar. Lower slowly down to the bar until the chest touches ti breathing is as deeply as possible. Press up to arms' length slowly and repeat. Use no resistance other than that of your body and perform as many repetitions as you can, forcing out every possible one for three sets. Don't rush through the movement or bounce into the dip and up again. No rebound. This exercise MUST BE PERFORMED SLOWLY. It's great for the pectoral sections close to the deltoids.

Exercise F: Narrow Grip Bar Pushups
Hands gripping the bar a couple of inches apart, body held rigidly from feet to shoulders, soldier. Go down slowly to the bar until the chest touches it then press up to arms' length again and repeat. Use no resistance other than your body provides and force out every possible repetition. Number of reps is important here to burn off that surface fat and impart a steel strand appearance to your chest, as they said in '55 quite frequently. Don't rush through the movement but do it slowly for 3 sets of as many reps as possible. AMRAP, as they said quite frequently in 2018.

Exercise G: Stiff Arm Lateral Dumbbell Raises
Lie on an exercise bench, a dumbbell held in each hand at arms' length above your chest. Keeping your arms absolutely straight during the exercise and locked at the elbows, lower the bells down to the sides. As you lower them take in a shallow, I mean deep breath, reaching your peak of intake as the bells reach their lowest point. Raise to commencing position and repeat. Concentrate on the exercise and breathing. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps. Steel Strand Appearance!

Exercise H: Dumbbell Rolls
Here's a unique movement guaranteed to give you a peak of pec development. Place a pair of dumbbells on the floor and assume the floor dip (pushup) position, toes touching the floor and hands gripping the dumbbells as in the illustration. Make sure the collars are loose on the bars so the plates will revolve freely. Slowly push the dumbbells out to the sides as far away as possible, keeping a check on the movement all the time. When you have pushed the dumbbells out as far as you feel is comfortable, pull them back in to starting position and repeat. You won't be able to perform this exercise too smoothly at first but do so as best as you can. With practice you'll soon get the correct way to do it. Try to keep the elbows locked, arms stiff, and 3 sets of 10 reps will have your chest feeling pumped up like a blimp.

Exercise I: Decline Dumbbell Pullovers
Notice the way you have to lie on the abdominal board, feet at the top and heat at the bottom, arms stretched above the head at a 45 degree angle from the shoulders. In each hand grip a dumbbell, the arms kept straight and rigidly locked out at the elbows. From this position pull the dumbbells up and over until they meet together above the chest. The dumbbells sadly pine, "Someday, someway, we both have a lifetime before us, for parting is not good bye. We'll be together again." Now comes the important part of the exercise. Lower those singin' dumbbells down to the same angle they started from, breathing in as deeply as you can, just forcin' that air into the lung-o's. When the dumbbells touch the floor, your chest should be thrust up into that arch yet without lifting your upper back or lower back off the abdominal board. Don't rush through the exercise but concentrate on each repetition and handle a poundage you can use for 3 x 10.

These then are the very finest possible pectoral development movements. Yes . . . there are dozens more you could perform but these are the proven exercises for greatest possible pec form. I suggest you base your routines around them and follow every particle of advice I have given you.

You are right here obtaining championship information, knowledge it took the Stars years to acquire and the Research Clinic years to compile. Yet here it is, complete in one article for you to use. So good training and good luck and may you rapidly build bigger pecs and a deeper chest.

Why not drop me a personal letter and tell me how you are making out with these exercises? I want all of you to know that I take a deep personal interest in your bodybuilding, and any gains you make in power, muscularity and massiveness make me happy as well as you. So why not write me that letter, tell me about your experiences, and help us make the Weider Research Clinic an even better functioning organization.


There's a more complete 1957 chest book "by" Joe Weider here:

It also deals with upper back training. 

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Eight Pec Plans - Roger Lockridge (2018)


35 Years Ago

70 Years Ago

Plan One: Press and Pullover
The combination of a power movement (bench presses) with a stretching movement (pullovers) creates a tremendous upper body pump. It's also a convenient superset, because after you finish the presses you can rotate 90 degrees on the bench to begin doing pullovers.  

Bench Press - 4 x8-12
superset with
Dumbbell Pullover - 4 x 10-15
Incline Flye - 3 x 10-12
Dip - 3 x 10-12.

Plan Two: Pre-Exhaust
The idea behind pre-exhausting is to perform an isolation exercise before you set out to do a compound exercise. The thought is that the muscle you're trying to target has been trained to exhaustion, which in turns triggers optimum growth. Your front delts and triceps will do a lot of work when chest presses are performed, but if you do flyes before presses your pecs will give out before your delts or triceps.    

Incline Flye - 4 x 10-12
superset with 
Incline Bench Press - 4 x 10-12
Pec Deck - 4 x 10-12 
superset with 
Machine Press - 4 x 10-12.

Plan Three: Flye Zone
The bench press may be a chest day staple, but you should consider flyes when it comes to sculpting out some great pecs. They better isolate the muscles you want to train on chest day. Once a month, give this flye-only workout a go to help maximize your pecs without extra toll being taken on the delts and triceps.
Incline Flye - 4 x 10-12
Flat Flye - 4 x 10-12
Pec Deck Flye - 4 x 10-12.
Plan Four: Full Court Press   

Another approach to pumping up your pecs is to devote an entire session to presses, hitting them from all angles. 
Bench Press - 4 x 6-12
Incline Press - 4 x 8-12
Decline Press - 4 x 10-12.
Plan Five: Incline/Decline
Kicking the flat bench to the curb will allow you to fully compartmentalize your chest into upper and lower sections and to focus more intently on each area. Additionally, if flat work takes its toll on your shoulders or elbows, you might find that altering the angles can be less straining. 
Incline Press - 3 x 8-10
Incline Flye - 3 x 10-12
Decline Press - 3 x 8-10
Decline Flye - 3 x 10-12.
Plan Six: Descending Sets
Think of descending sets as extended dropsets. Perform a set of 6-10 reps. Once you reach failure, strip a plate (or lower the weight stack) and do another set of 6-10. Repeat for four total sets. Those four dropsets equal one set.
Bench Press - 2 x 24-14
Pec Deck Flye - 2 x 24-40
Machine Incline Press - 2 x 24-40.
Plan Seven: High/Low
The high/low principle alternates a series of low-rep sets with a series of high-rep sets. The combination works both the fast- and slow-twitch muscle fibers to maximize size and strength and increase blood flow to the area.
Incline Dumbbell Press - 4 x 10,8,6,4
Incline Flye - 3 x 15-20
Bench Press - 3 x 8,6,4
Cable Crossover - 2 x 20-25.
Plan Eight: Unique Lifts
These moves are unique twists on familiar chest exercises. The different stimulus will give your muscles something new to adapt to - and help you break out of your boring chest rut. 
Pullover and Press - 3 x 8-10
 - Start by performing a barbell pullover, then bench press the weight. That's one rep. 
Smith Machine Stop Press - 3 x 6-8
 - Set the safety stops on the Smith machine so the bar stops about 5 inches above your chest when doing bench presses. When you lower the bar during any press from any angle, let the weight come to a stop when it reaches the supports (you can do this in the power rack as well) and keep it there for 1 second before pressing it back up. This way you've removed momentum from the equation and forced your pecs to work harder when pushing the weight back up.

One-Arm Pec Deck Flye - 3 x 10-12
Low Cable Crossover - 3 x 10-12. 


Back Power - Buster McShane

Thanks to Liam Tweed! 

by R. T. "Buster" McShane
Full Squat - 500 x 3
Bench Press - 400
Bodyweight - 160

This article, fourth in the series on power, covers the back and is therefore as important as any. As we all know from very early on in the game that the back is the seat of all strength and power, and the center of the nervous system is situated in the small of the back. 

Heavy progressive exercise will, we know, not only build the muscle but strengthen the nervous centers creating more abundance of energy and vitality, which are invaluable assets to any sportsman and of all importance to the lifter and body-builder.

The muscles of the back are undoubtedly the most interesting of all groups owing to their remarkable formation and to the great number and variations in shape of the muscles composing the group.  

A good back is not just broad - but heavily developed showing deep muscularity - what more impressive sight on the posing rostrum than the back view of an advanced physique showing the deep groove between the erectors running from the back of the neck into the hips and either side of the back packed with well developed muscular and shapely bulk and breadth.

On the type of training in this schedule - it will be noted that there is no direct overhead work or unusual stretching exercise such as chins behind neck and various pulley movement - admittedly these are very useful in developing a broad back, but they are easy work and only fully useful exercises in stretching the latissimus-dorsi and scapula - which should FOLLOW this basic back power program. This is important. Those exercises should follow this basic back power program. 

Those who have been following the previous schedules can be assured that the benefits from this one is equally substantial in gaining power and development. 

It is advisable to keep the shoulders back and hip well heated while training for strength in these movements. 

Increase all poundages as often as possible but only exceed limit on one lift in one workout.

Exercise No. 1: Barbell Clean Without Split
 - This exercise is the same movement as cleaning the bar for a normal press - but in this case with it being the complete exercise more weight should be used. It should not be forgotten that deep concentration should be used while performing the movement, thus increasing style, enthusiasm and poundage. The Russian lifters are very fond of using this exercise with a shoulder shrug after the clean, finding it of assistance in increasing their military press. 4-5 hard sets of 3-5 reps are ample. 

Exercise No. 2: Continental Clean
 - Add 20-40 pounds to the weight you have used in the previous exercise, the starting position being the same. The bar is pulled in as in a high dead lift, to sit on the belt at the waist as shown in photo. 

Note: Not many people do continental cleans any more. Here's a little tutorial by Peary Rader: 
There's more about them on this blog, just search around. 

After a short pause in getting settled the legs are used (as in jerking), giving the drive upwards, using the arms and shoulders cleaning the bar at the same time, using a split as shown in the second photo describing the lift. A couple of years ago this lift was very popular among professional lifters in America, many making between 350 and 400. Have your training partners stand-in when you are working heavy on this lift. Don't be afraid of the weight and inside four weeks you'll be surprised with your poundages. 6 sets of 2 reps. 


Exercise No. 3: Power Rowing Motion
 - This style is slightly different in performance to the often used strict B.B. motion. Here, the legs are used to an extent in assisting the motion. A slightly wider than shoulder width grip is advised, the bar touching the chest each rep. The photo shows the bar at the halfway position going up - this assistance movement really builds back power so give it 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps and don't be afraid to add weight. You should use your top C. & J. or 2-second pause bench press for sets in a short time.

Exercise No. 4: Dead Lift
 - Here is the exercise that builds the power needed for the first half of the clean, and works the whole back very adequately. Some men (including the author) do not find themselves favorable to this movement, obtaining lower back trouble when working very heavy. If you are among this category train with moderate weight, and the lower you keep your hips and more upright your back the better will be your leverage and smaller your chance of injury. 3 sets of 5.  

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Mastering the Press - A.K. Samusevich

Originally Published in This Issue (June 1972) and

by A.K. Samusevich
translated from the Russian by Michael Sheen

In connection with the fact that the press is executed in two stages, the study of it begins with the first stage - the lifting of the bar to the chest. The correct positioning of the feet in the initial position and the start are studied first. At this point the most advantageous grip and hand spacing are determined, after which the pull with the final effort, the bringing (thrusting) of the arms under the grip, and the entry into the squat are studied. 

Al parts of the technique of lifting the bar to the chest are studied as simple preliminary exercises, simultaneous with which the separate parts are made precise, the strength of the muscles and the mobility of the joints are developed, and the habits necessary for the lifting of the bar to the chest are formulated.

The preparatory and preliminary exercises for the lifting of the bar to the chest are studied in the following sequence: 

1) The approach to the bar, the quick and correct positioning of the feet in the initial position. 

2) The assumption of the starting position.

3) The lifting of the bar from the start position using the muscles which which straighten the knees and hip joints, with the arms in a straight position. The aim of this exercise is to teach the student to begin the lift with the most powerful muscle groups of the legs and trunk.

4) The lifting of the bar from the start to chest level with the subsequent rising on the toes and with the active work of the arms - the second pull. While studying this movement special attention must be paid to the correct trajectory of the movement of the bar upwards, strictly observing the sequence of inclusion into the work of the various muscle groups, the rhythm of the movements, and the position of the arms at the end of the pull (elbows must be above the grip). Upon catching the weight at a high stance it is necessary to maintain balance.

5) Bringing (thrusting) the arms under the bar. From the initial position upright, holding the bar with the arms straight downwards, the bar is raised through the effort of the arms to the upper chest, then, without stopping, in a circular movement of the elbows back-down-forward, the arms are thrust under the bar. By a sharp movement of the arms in reverse order, the bar is lowered to the initial position and the motion is repeated several times. The weight of the bar is 45-55 pounds. 

6) The same as exercise 5, with the addition of a rise on the toes at the moment the bar is pulled to the upper part of the chest and lowering of the heels with a simultaneous thrusting under of the arms and with an amortizing bending of the legs at the knees. The weight of the bar is 55-65 pounds. 

7) The same as exercises 5 and 6. The lifting of the bar to the chest with an insignificant squat in place. At the moment the arms are thrust under the bar and the heels lowered, the squat is done by bending of the legs at the knees and hips, after which it is necessary to straighten up and lower the bar. The weight of the bar is 65-80 pounds.

8) The lifting of the bar to the chest with a squat in place from the hang. The bar weighing 80-90 pounds is lifted from the starting position in the same manner as was recommended in exercise 3. Then it is lowered to the level of the bottom 1/3 of the thighs, or a little lower, by means of a slight bending of the legs at the knees and slightly more at the hips, leaning forward with a bend at the waist so that the shoulder joints are located over the grip, then, performing the second pull, bringing the bar to the chest in the same manner as exercise 7.

9) Lifting the bar to the chest from stands, with a squat in place.

10) Lifting the bar to the chest with a squat in place from the start on the instruction; moderately, quickly, with a slight squat, with a half squat, etc.

While studying the technique of lifting the bar to the chest with a squat in place, beginning with exercise 6, watch for a quick lowering of the heels, demanding an audible striking of the heels on the platform, and also for a coordination of effort and a quick thrusting of the arms under the grip. Progression may be made from one exercise to the next only when the one being studied has been learned in a basically correct manner.

The study of the technique of the press from the chest begins with the pressing of a light barbell in the simplest manner, then, according to the acquisition of habits and a sufficient amount of training in maintaining balance with the bar at arms' length, it is necessary to progress to the study of the press in a more correct manner, corresponding to the individual peculiarities of the athlete.

The methods of studying and perfecting the technique of the press from the chest comprise the fulfillment of a series of pressing exercises in the following sequence; 

1) The press of the bar from the chest at a moderate tempo.

2) The same, behind the neck.

3) The same as 1 and 2, with a wide grip.

4) The press from the correct starting position at the chest with a grip that is more narrow, comfortable for the athlete, and optimal.

5) The same, with concentration on the push away from the chest.

6) Pressing the bar with optimal grip from high stands (forehead level). Paying attention to hte press-out and simultaneous positioning of the trunk beneath the bar.

7) The pressing of the bar from the chest with the optimal grip in combination with the thrust and press-out and the positioning of the body under the bar, in a moderate tempo.

8) The same as in 7, at the normal tempo for technique, with the emphasis on the basic phases of the press; by the judges signal, for a maximum, etc.

In training sessions for the development of the strength of the muscles of the arms and shoulder girdle, for the perfection of habits and other qualities which make possible the achievement of high results in the press, in addition to the exercises indicated, other exercises widely used are: 

 - straightening the arms with the bar behind the head
 - seated press
 - flat and incline bench pressing at various angles
 - from stands at various heights and with various grips
 - the push-press
 - dips with weight added
 - isometrics in the various press positions. 


Three Lift Random Rotation Routine (Nine Week Peak) - Greg Reshel

Dave McQuillan lifting in Moldova, 2014.

More articles by Greg Reshel here:

Upper Back Training for Powerlifters, in five parts: 


If you like to train aggressively you will love these routines. If you like to challenge yourself with new training ideas and maybe don't like getting stuck in a rut with the same old routines every time, you must try peaking with this routine. Your body will never be able to adapt to it and your mind will have to be tough to stay with the program. After completing this program a three lift meet will be a breeze!  

You will need to adapt to doing low rep sets in the big three lifts as your primary stabilization work and you will enjoy this routine as it has a lot of variety to keep you from getting bored. If you have hit a plateau or are beginning again after a layoff, this routine will sharpen your skills and increase your conditioning as you peak your strength.

The fact that the random rotation routine is aggressive dictates that you do not peak longer than nine weeks or you will likely be overtraining. The random rotation routine will ask you to do some sets with very little rest in between. We want you to finish the first set indicated and, after putting the weight down, count to 10 and immediately begin the next set. All this will become obvious as we explain the details of the routine.  

Keep accessory work to a minimum and keep it light for this routine is too challenging to allow yourself to have anything left for more heavy work. We like to keep this style routine simple in its overall pattern but mix up the sets and reps to keep you on your toes. We have learned to love the random rotation routine for its effectiveness and yet we are humbled by the work involved. If you have the guts than follow along with me as we explore the random rotation routine. 

I will use a 30 year old man weighing 165 pounds as the subject for this presentation. If you are young and/or highly conditioned you will have to push through this routine as fast as you can to get the most out of it. If you are older, a novice, or deconditioned, you will need to move somewhat more slowly through the workout. This random rotation routine will work for nearly everyone provided they push through it as quickly as possible. 

My subject has: 
400 squat
260 bench
450 dead.

These are the max numbers I will use to determine the set/rep tables. You will perform the squat on one day with leg assistance work (I will only indicate the squat and leave the assistance work out of it because it will differ too much with each individual case). You will perform the deadlift next, two or three days later, with back assistance work. You will perform the bench press two days later with upper body assistance work. 

Highly conditioned athletes should throw in a 4th day of whole body assistance work on the day before you squat. I will show three days per week and the set/rep schedules for each of the three powerlifts. To change the numbers to fit your maximum abilities simply divide your maximum by the max lifts of our subject. Then take the resulting number and multiply it by each of the numbers in the tables to determine your personal set/rep schedule.   

The schedule will show two working set "groups" for each training day in each powerlift. The principle is to perform multiple sets at the weight indicated with as little rest as possible (10 seconds is a target time)

Rest 2-5 minutes between working set groups and then perform group set number 2 with as little time between sets as possible at the target weight indicated. Do not change the weight in a working set group between individual sets. Use full gear. If you are squatting and are wrapped tight with suit up and belt tight, do not remove any equipment between sets in a working set group. If you are in full gear for your squats, resting longer than 10 seconds will not help you as it will only deplete circulation. Keep your gear on and rest only long enough to re-rack the weight and get a couple of breaths. In the bench press, sit up and breathe and then lay back down right away. 

This is tougher mentally than physically as you will not feel strong on the last set of a working set group. You have to be AGGRESSIVE, STAY SHARP, and DIG DEEP to complete the working set groups! 

Remember . . . squat on one day, deadlift 2-3 days later, and bench press 2 days after your deadlift. 

Your back will not be fresh for bench press day so you will have to concentrate even harder to get good form. You may feel flat while training sometimes, but you will get hellaciously strong and mentally tough, which can only IMPROVE your meet performance. 

Good Luck!     

Click Table to ENLARGE and PRINT

Biceps: Plan to Fail - Tony Estrada


 82 Years Ago. 

To succeed one must fail. That is a simple frequent fact in business and, more often, in the gym. The question in bodybuilding remains, "How often should one achieve true muscular failure?" 

We know that changing one's program is part of avoiding stagnation and that utilizing failure is one of the steps to progress. But how do we fit it into our program without the unwanted results of injury, overtraining, and wasted effort? 

Let's first observe what happens to our muscles during true muscular failure. It's important to note that for a muscle to achieve full muscular failure you must use the muscle throughout its entire range of motion until you are no longer able to perform a compete concentric contraction. Multiple back-to-back drop sets are required to achieve the three types of muscular failure one can experience: 

1) Myofibral failure, when the force of the weight is too great for the exercise.
2) Intermediate failure, when the muscle fibers exhaust along with the glycogen stores.
3) Mitochondrial failure, when the cells can no longer fuel the muscle and a contraction at any weight can no longer happen. 

To further avoid falling into a pit of stagnation, we introduce the FITT Principle, which stands for Frequency, Intensity, Type, and Timing. Our specific focus is a variance in rep ranges when doing drop sets to failure to benefit from all dimensions. 

For the first set, use a weight you can perform 4 to 6 reps to myofibral failure. Lower the weight slightly and repeat 4-6 reps without rest. Sets three and four should follow the same pattern regarding weight adjustment but should be done in the 6-10 rep range producing intermediate failure. Sets five and six should be approximately 15-25 reps, but the focus should be set six, where the lifter should continue until full range of motion cannot be actively achieved indicating mitochondrial failure.

Nick Hunt of Fitness 19 Algonquin in Illinois and I have designed a biceps workout to demonstrate how to incorporate this failure program into your hypertrophy routine. Nick and I have worked closely together for the past two years, and our best results in gains have been from sets to failure for each muscle group, one time per week, utilizing both machines as well as free weight.

I have always told clients, "It doesn't matter if you lift 5 pounds 500 times or 500 pounds 5 times - if you struggle to perform the last rep, you will change just as long as your program changes." Now, let's get out and implement some responsible failure into our mesocycles and get your biceps popping. 

The Biceps Failure Workout

Begin each workout with 5 to 10 minutes of moderate intensity cardio. For the first five exercises, perform 2 sets of each exercise for 4-6 reps. Begin this failure plan with the 1set set of the 6th exercise (the 12th set overall), which is the machine preacher curl. There are 6 total sets for that exercise (and only that exercise). Perform all 6 sets with little or no rest between sets.

1) Standing Biceps Curl, 2 x 4-6:
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent. Your shoulders should remain retracted throughout the exercise and elbows should remain pointing downward. This allows the weight to work directly against gravity without displacing the stress to the hinge.

2) Alternating Dumbbell Curl, 2 x 4-6:
In a seated position on an upright bench, perform the curl unilaterally. Begin with your palm in a pronated position and supinate as you go through the contraction. Raise the weight until it comes close to chin level. As the dumbbell descends, pronate your wrist and begin the exercise for the opposite arm. 

3) Low Pulley Cable Concentration Curl, 2 x 4-6:
Sit facing the low pulley. Perform the exercise unilaterally. Rest your working-side elbow on the inner portion of the same knee. Flex hard as you bring the hand inward toward the middle of your chest.   

4) Seated Alternating Hammer Curls, 2 x 4-6:
Let the dumbbells hang straight down with your arms extended and your palms in a neutral or "hammer" grip. Keep your elbows pinned to your sides as you raise one side at a time. Come up until the angle of your elbow is just past 90 degrees and then slowly return.

5) High Pulley Cable Curl, 2 x 4-6: 
Set the crossover pulleys at the highest elevation. Stand in the middle and use both hands at the same time to curl inwards with the elbows facing out laterally. Not only is it a means of recruiting muscle fibers from a different angle, it is also a functional pose for competitors.  

6) Machine Preacher Curl, 6 x Failure: 
Set 1 - 4-6 reps to failure
Set 2 - Drop the weight and immediately perform another 4-6 reps to failure
Set 3 - Drop the weight and immediately perform another 6-10 reps to failure
Set 4 - Drop and weight and immediately perform another 6-10 reps to failure
Set 5 - Drop the weight again and immediately perform 15-25 reps to failure
Set 6 - Drop the weight and immediately perform as many reps as possible until your form completely deteriorates. 

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Arm Development - Eric Pederson

Here's an article from the '40s.
Must be useless, right?

It is with reluctance that I write about myself, for it makes me feel as though others should do that id they want to, because words on self cause an inner disturbance with me. But Earle Liederman has been after me every time we meet and if there is one man with persistence it is he, so I suppose the only thing to do is to yield and as he requests, tell readers of YOUR PHYSIQUE how I trained for my development. This time I shall cover my arms, and in my next article I will write about another body part.

Okay, the article is from 1948. January issue.
A sweet video that goes well with this one:

First of all I want to impress upon everyone who reads this that I believe in extra strong concentration throughout each and every movement done in training, and unless you put your mind on what you are doing, watch the muscles work, and think strongly on every flexion and extension, you must not expect to make the gains you are after.

I practice this method myself and I really think that this strong concentration has done a lot for me and my development. I watch my biceps from the start of each movement until they reach their full  contraction, and this is done not for admiration, but to 'tell' the muscle exactly how much extra force I desire to give that muscle, and I keep this plan up with each and every repetition and throughout the number of sets I may do.

Of course, the muscles can be developed without much concentration if sufficient resistance is used. That is, if the dumbbell is heavy enough to thoroughly tire the muscle, that muscle will gain in strength and size, given the right conditions; but the point I am driving at is, if forcible, extra concentration is placed upon the muscle used while you watch the muscle work, you will perform the movement correctly and the muscle will exert greater power while you do your reps.

Naturally you will need a mirror for this, especially when triceps work is done, for you cannot very well watch the movements of the triceps without a reflection. This reflection need not be a vain one, but merely to study and afford means of concentration on muscles that cannot be watched without a mirror. You can watch and concentrate on all biceps work without a mirror, for you can bend forward while curling and exercising the biceps individually.



I firmly believe in individual muscle work besides group movements, for it again reaches the state of concentration - watching that biceps move and contract with all the force the weight, the thought, and the eye can furnish during each movement.

I believe in sitting down, also in  bending forward while doing the curling motion, because this puts more individual strain upon the biceps itself. And it is the constant curling, the continual concentration while curling, and watching the muscle work that will produce rapid results.

I advocate using much lighter dumbbell for individual arm muscle work than you can lift while in an erect position. If you can curl 50 lbs. with one arm while standing erect, this same 50 lbs. would be a bit too much if you curl while bent over watching and concentrating on the action of the biceps. Then, I think, 25 to 35 lbs. when working my biceps, and with this poundage, I perform about 15 reps or so.

After that tiresome one, dig up "The Art of the Poetic Line" or something similar. Yes. Something older might be better, no? May be. May be. You too, with the aid of a Master Mentor can disembowel King Lear, read the entrails, and go on your own merry little literary way, Sir! It was the use of commas in this article that brought me to such a temporal, horrid place stinking of symbols and all that we lose upon agreeing to common naming of the physical manifestations abounding, Ma'am! But back to biceps, triceps, and this one of many methods of building 'em. 

It is the concentration I put into each curl that does the work, more so, than the poundage used. And as for sets, I do about three or four. And I take my time. I do not rush from one exercise to another, but stick to the biceps work and train with deliberation until all my biceps work is done, all reps and all sets. Then I rest awhile before tackling triceps work.

The pictures used in connection with this article, and which were snapped at Bert Goodrich's gymnasium where I do all my training, will give you an idea of what exercises I use for my arms three times weekly. However, in addition to these, I do a lot of chinning, both front and back chins, as well as plenty of handbalancing, especially handstand dips. Remember, I am writing about arm work, therefore will not mention all of the other exercises I do for other bodyparts. These will be left for other articles.

In performing all biceps work, the arm should be forced, or brought forward while the biceps is being flexed. This makes the movement harder and places more direct force upon the biceps. If you use the same amount of weight and perform the curl in an easier manner you only fool yourself, so right with the start of the curling movement, and as the dumbbell is brought to the shoulder while you are in a bentover posture, force the arm a bit forward and give pressure to that curling biceps. Always equalize the reps and sets, but if one of your arms is a bit larger than the other, then by all means perform additional curls for the smaller arm, even to the extent of making another full set of reps.

In all triceps work, always start with the arms thoroughly bent, as far as you can bend them, before attempting to straighten them out or contract the triceps. The same concentration and force that you apply to biceps work must be done with triceps training. Exercise while in positions whereby you c and secure greater pressure upon the triceps. 


For example, if you should do an arm back of neck movement for the triceps, whereby you hold a dumbbell behind the shoulder before starting the upward straightening of arm motion, bend a bit sideways so that more strain is placed upon the triceps due to gravity and posture, then bring the weight upward with great deliberation. 

So, in effect what you're after here is creating something of a "cam" effect that uses body positioning changes to put a fuller resistance on the targeted muscle. Note: Just as in a standing barbell curl, when you lean back at the beginning and over the course of the range of motion lean forward until you're doing something of a bent forward BB Concentration Curl at the "top" of the movement. It takes a little getting the hang of, and of course you're not so centered on just how much weight you c an use, but once you get this kind of body placement down it's definitely a good tool to have in yer little bodybuilding book-a tricks. Can come in handy, too, when you get to the stage where certain exercises can only be done special ways in order to avoid exacerMcbating pain, aches, tweaks and injuries incurred over the decades.

It has been in this above manner that I secured my 18 inch arms, which, by the way, can be "blown up" to 18-1/2. And you will have to believe me when I say that I have trained very hard to get them, but I feel that everyone can acquire thick, muscular arms in time by following the concentration and deliberate movement method. Of course, I have stressed on individual muscle-building, but the reader must also bear in mind that group muscle work must also be done in order to secure muscular coordination and all-round strength. 

Another form of biceps and triceps work I do is during my curls, or during my triceps extension. Perhaps I might more clearly impart this by explaining biceps action. After I have made about 15 reps for the biceps, I do a few extra movements in the following manner. I lower the dumbbell only half-way, then bring it to the shoulder again. I do this several time, this half-rep movement. Next I straighten my arm and bring the dumbbell halfway to the shoulder and again straighten. I perform this a few times also. This extra partial movement work is to afford additional and even stronger concentration to the biceps after it starts to ache. 

The same method is applied to all triceps work. That is, after my triceps tire, I go to half-extensions, then from a half-extension I do a few reps to full extension. And as a final tip which may make all this clearer to the reader, I try to keep the muscles I use FLEXED as they are being used. This latter explanation may furnish you with better comprehension of my method.       



Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Roger Estep's Training

This book, published November 6th, 2018, looks like it might be interesting to me. 
I'll put an excerpt or two up if it turns out to be. 

Here's the Table of Contents: 

(1) Introduction
What it means to be a "Normal Human".

(2) Muscle Loss
How to set and meet realistic body composition goals for your new lifestyle.

(3) Oh, Thanksgiving . . . 
Everything you need to know about your food intake and how to calculate how many calories YOU need.

(4) What To Eat
Where your calories should be coming from and why you don't have to give up all your guilty pleasures. 

(5) What's On Your Plate? 
How to balance food portions on your plate based on your activity level.

(6) When To Eat
Why meal timing can make a huge difference in meeting your goals. 

(7) Hydration
What you should and should not be drinking.

(8) Smart Grocery Shopping
Tips for getting the most nutritional value for your dollar and understanding nutrition labels so you can avoid sneaky manufacturer tricks.

(9) Packing A Lunch
How DIY can save you loads of money - and ensure that you're in control of what ingredients you're eating.

(10) Get Cooking
Ditto - plus knowing how to cook will make you an even better catch.

(11) Redefining Yourself
How to wrap your head around the mental aspect of the transition to Normal Human.

(12) Going It Alone 
Life without your teammates may feel lonely at first, but there are plenty of ways to expand your new social circles.


Appendix A: Recipes for Beginners
Appendix B: Tips for Healthy Weight Gain
Appendix C: Tips for Healthy Weight Loss
Appendix D: Outtakes
Appendix E: Workout Plans

It looks like a decent, no frills and no extremes deal. In the same way that it can be useful to look back at beginner routines when training becomes either stale or just plain outrageous in its over-complexity, it's not a bad plan to strip back to the bare essentials, to forget all the over-the-top malarkey pumped out online endlessly, and just go with basics every so often.

AND . . .

The Akashic Noir series released "Vancouver Noir" today. Great series, good noir, duh, garsh it's fun to be able to read, eh. There's enough to keep you on the edge of yer stinkin' seat for a lotta long nights here:

Bright boy.

All right already, the article.

No, wait.

Here's a translation of Romanian literary critic Matei Calinsescu's "The Life and Opinions of Zacharias Lichter . . .

Ugly, unkempt, a haunter of low dives who begs for a living and lives on the street, Zacharias Lichter exists for all that in a state of unlikely rapture. After being engulfed by a divine flame as a teenager, Zacharias has devoted his days to doing nothing at all - apart, that is, from composing the odd poem he immediately throws away and consorting with a handful of stray friends: Poldy, for example, the catatonic alcoholic whom Zacharias considers a brilliant philosopher, or another more vigorous barfly whose prolific output of pornographic verses has won him the nickname of the Poet. Zacharias is a kind of holy fool, but one whose foolery calls in question both social convention and conventional wisdom. He is as much skeptic as ecstatic, affirming above all the truth of perplexity. This of course is what makes him a permanent outrage to the powers that be, be they reactionary or revolutionary, and to all other self-appointed champions of morality who are blind to their own absurdity. The only thing that scares Zacharias is that all-purpose servant of conformity, the psychiatrist.

This Romanian classic, published under the brutally dictatorial Ceausescu regime, whose censors initially let it pass because they couldn't make head or tail of it, is as delicious and telling an assault on the modern world order as ever.!

Enough of this printed word nonsense!

 The Night Comes For Us.
Yes! The butcher shop scene. 
"Safety Starts With Me" 

There are probably thousands of young strength athletes in the USA who would have loved the opportunity to get some advice from a man such as George Frenn, but George decided to pass the torch of his wisdom and experience on to then neophyte Roger Estep.

George gave Roger a routine, the same one used by the guys at the Westside Barbell Club, the same one used by Roger to this day, the same one that lifters associated with Roger in Ohio and West Virginia have benefited so greatly from. Roger took it back to Ohio and tried to make it work for him in his effort to win the Collegiate title in 1975, but a bum shoulder and the smart lifting of Don Haisenleder put Roger into 2nd. Roger gave George a call. They discussed the routine. Was Roger using it correctly? Was there any way he could make even more progress with it? Could he come out to California and train with George Frenn for the summer? George was hesitant at first, perhaps wondering if Roger really had what it takes. He phoned back, and the ENTHUSIASM was there. "Sure, Rog, come out for the summer. We'll train HARD!"

Before Roger made the trip out to California he was capable of a 600 squat at 202. After five weeks with George it was up to 680, and his other lifts were up as well. Roger went back to Ohio and found a meet in Weirton, West Virginia where he went 630, 660 and 690 in the squat, following himself on each attempt . . . mind you, this was at a time when the World Record was 710. As you can imagine, the question of the day was, "Where did this guy come from!"

Roger then lifted in some Cleveland meets in preparation for the '76 Collegiates, which he won, though not in the fashion he would have hoped . . . stumbling on the way out with a 685 Squat that he felt he could have made. 

1977 saw Roger's debut at the Senior Nationals against Larry Pacifico. I was present at that meet, my first Seniors as well, and I described Roger as a 'Conan-esqu Power Being' - which I still think is the best way to put into words the awesomeness of Roger's physical presence. 

Roger got second in this meet, but felt that with better selection of poundages he could have done much better in pressing Larry, a lesson that he has learned well. Roger went into the '78 Seniors just as his injured leg was healing . . . squatted 677 then stood on the sidelines as Jerry Jones punched the record up to 760, a lift which all, including myself in the excitement of the moment felt would never be exceeded. Roger takes nothing away from any lifter, but, to be frank, Jerry's lift did not phase. You must recall that Roger had broken the World Record earlier in the year with a 722 at the North American Championships and just after that did an unofficial record with 740 at the West Virginia State meet. In the two months following the Seniors, during which time most had written him off as a major contender, he got his squat up to 800 in training. Then came his mind blowing performance at the YMCA Nationals . . . as 769.5 Squat ON AN OLYMPIC BAR and a 1940 total, feats that were fully as earthshaking as those of the man whose record he had broken, Larry Pacifico. Even that performance showed Roger had more. He could easily have gotten a 790 Squat that day had he tried it on his 3rd, and, by picking up some of the slack apparent in his other lifts, the magic 2,000 lb. total was not only possible, but feasible.

In 1979 Roger won the Senior Nationals. Despite a knee that went out on him must two weeks before the meet, the personal problems of his divorce, and the extreme heat, he posted one of the best totals in Senior Nationals history and was satisfied with the meet, because he had earned a spot on the World team and had begun to understand some important lessons about training.

Before this time Roger would take it to the limit almost every workout, such was his enthusiasm that his "light" days became every bit as intensive and draining as his "heavy" days and, if he was injured, he would just mask the problem medically or psychologically, even if it meant screaming out in pain before, during, and after a set. If he was supposed to handle a certain weight on a certain day, he did it, no matter what.

As a result of this, he found himself spending half of the competitive year injured. Essentially, he would train until he literally BROKE. Nowadays he takes a little different approach, training by intuition more, and less by some dogmatic design. CARE is the most prescribed medicine in the world, and if you don't take care, you'll get hurt, says Roger. He has become sensitive to his body. If a set feels heavy when it shouldn't, he'll back off, hit some lighter sets to get a decent amount of work in, and not let it bother him.

Maintain a positive attitude, that's one of the great lessons he has learned from George Frenn (in fact, that phrase was one of the two Golden Rules of the Westside Barbell Club, the other having to do with the passing of gas). This is not to say that Roger doesn't train hard any more. Far from it! Harder than anyone, and he'll tell you that you've got to have that lust for heavy weights. Even now he maintains the same routine, which includes lots of singles, all year round. In actuality, he's as strong as he can be and trains as heavy as he can, on any given day of the year.

A good routine and positive mental reinforcement are the keys to good progress, particularly the latter. You have to MAKE YOURSELF BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. You've got to set a goal and think to yourself, "If so-and-so can do it, then I can do it." When Roger first went to West Virginia, Luke Iams was handling around 700 in the squat. Later, when he started believing that he could do 800, his squat shot to that mark and beyond. You can not let the weight intimidate you. This is even more important in powerlifting than it is in Olympic lifting, but the perception of David Rigert on the state of American lifting tells a tale: "You have many strong lifters, but few brave ones."

There are means to avoid this fear of the big weights, and they are part and parcel of Roger's routine.

For instance, Roger does a lot of "rocking" box squats with 50-75 lbs. more than his max in regular style. You need good spotters for this movement as you rock back on the box and then rock forward as you stand up with the bar simultaneously. But if you can handle 820 for 10 reps, then 780 for a single in a meet is not going to scare you. Box squats are thus a psychological and physical overload that builds confidence and strength . . . like the guy who goes to the plate swinging three bats . . . it's just a means of conditioning him into feeling that a single bar is no weight . . . no hindrance to a smooth, powerful swing.

It's also important not to rush your progression in the weights.  Move them up a few pounds at a time, even if you feel stronger.

Another part of mental attitude is what might be described as "inward conceit." You don't have to go around talking about what you're going to lift to everyone you meet, but deep inside, you have to feel that you are the best . . . and if you should be defeated, you have to feel that it's simply a matter of time before you emerge victorious, because the other guy is simply not as good as you are.




The big lift this day is heavy Box Squats. After a light warmup set he takes 90-lb. jumps to a poundage 50-75 lbs. over his best max squat single and goes for 10 reps. Once again, in compliance with his new sensitivity to the limitations of his body, if his knees start to ache, or something like that, he'll only go for 7 reps, which still represents a decent amount of work. One other tip for this exercise: before the advent of big belts, Roger actually used two conventional belts around his waist when doing this exercise (one above the other), to avoid taxing his lower back. This is not a back exercise, but if you do it wrong you can tire out your lower back which will affect workouts later in the week adversely. He also wears two sets of wraps on each knee, loosely, just to protect against injury. 

He occasionally will do something with a low box after the regular box squat workout, if his knees will allow it. After a little warmup he'll take about 100 lbs. less than his regular squat max and go down to a low box (about 2-3 inches below parallel), rock it, and then kick out. It usually goes like a toy.

Also on Monday, Roger does some benches. 4 good singles after his warmup and maybe one high-rep pump set with a lighter weight afterwards if he feels good. Periodically, he will do Good Mornings and also 3 x 10 reps in the leg curl. He does these pump sets all three days in his weekly routine. Depending on how close his next contest is, he'll do some bodybuilding as well.


Roger's Wednesday workout has changed a little bit, in accordance with his new attitude. He used to do squats up to a max set for 10 reps. He actually got to the point where he did 640 x 10, and in trying 670 for 10 he got 7 reps . . . but this was indicative of his trying to make every day into a heavy day, which led to injuries. Now, he only works up to a moderate single, say 650 or so, maybe 100 lbs. less than he is capable of.

He'll also work up to a max set of deadlifts for 10 reps. He doesn't use straps so grip strength/endurance becomes a limiting factor when the weight gets way up there, so he'll cut them down a little. 

Following the deadlifts he'll do some bodybuilding, the leg curls, and maybe even some Snatches if the spirit moves him. He is extremely explosive in his Snatches and Cleans, and is thinking about trying a little Olympic lifting when the opportunity arises.


This is the big one of the week. You essentially total out, doing only about 4 heavy (single) reps in the squat, just as if you were taking attempts in a contest. On the bench press it's the same as the Monday workout . . . going for that big max single this time, to see where you stand. The lifts you make this day establish the new benchmark for your training poundages the following week . . . as you have established a new max.

That heavy Monday workout has you prepared for the amount of weight you are going to try Friday, and the weight you make Friday helps you select the amount of weight you will use for the box squats the following Monday workout. You see, all joints in the body have little organs called proprioceptors. They sense the different kinds of stress exerted on your body. What you've done on Monday is fool the proprioceptors into thinking that the weight you are handling on Friday is not anything to panic about.

One question that still be remaining is how one should progress in weights and select poundages for contest attempts. Roger generally does some heavy thinking before beginning training for a specific contest, combining optimism with realism in a manner that only experience can bring and picks out the kind of poundages he would like to be handling 4 weeks before the contest. Then he plots the linear progression from his starting point to where he wants to end up, and adds about the same amount each week to his training poundages. When it gets to be about 2 weeks before the contest, Roger limits himself to easy weights . . . as he believes that you are not going to get much stronger in that short period of time, but you can sure make yourself weaker!

Instead, he emphasizes good technique and confidence building. Before the Auburn meet I saw him "burn" a 725 squat. He didn't need to do a 770 just to prove to himself that he could do it . . . that would disrupt his performance at the meet . . . and would indicate a lack of confidence in knowing what he could do.

Selecting your poundages for a meet is based on a percentage concept Your opener should also be a lift that you have 100% confidence in making . . . after that you go to something that you might have 80% confidence in. Say if you had handled 800 or more 4 out of 5 times in workouts, then that would be an 80% lift, and, depending on the competition, that might be what you would want to take.

Roger takes his lifting very seriously. It is a way of life for him, but he's never 'out for blood' like some guys are. He certainly doesn't like defeat, but doesn't dwell on the dark side when he does lose. I can vouch for that attitude.


There will always be a special place in Roger's mind for George Frenn. If he hadn't taken that moment years ago to show some interest in Roger's lifting, could we expect the type of lifting performances Roger has given us over the past few years?

Still, Roger calls George whenever he has a problem, and George's athletic experience is very wide. He has been to Russia and he knows what other athletes are doing. Sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake, eh. Making a list from The Great Beyond and checking it twice . . . hell, THRICE!

So, a heritage of strength flows from one mind to another.
Just as it should be.    


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