Thursday, January 31, 2008

Eleven Sets of Squats - Bill Anton

For a more detailed look at this squat layout from Grandmaster Bill Keyes
click here ->

Squats -- 3 sets x 8 reps
Add 20 - 40 pounds, then 3 sets x 5 reps.
Add 20 - 40 pounds, then 5 sets x 3 reps

Specialize on this with 2 days between squat days. After a while the gaps will raise to 50 - 60 pounds. Typically rest 60 - 90 seconds between sets. Whenever you get all sets and all reps, add five pounds next time out, but no more. We want success to build on success.

Finish off with two sets of hi-rep leg extensions, 4 x 12 thigh curls, various calf exercises.

There is such a variety of reps in this program that it can be used almost indefinitely.
The temptation, and the downfall, is to move ahead too quickly, particularly in the early stages. The strength gains come so rapidly that there is a tendency for the muscular power to outstrip the capability of connective tissues to cope with the load. So stay 'within yourself' and the gains will continue.

Trapezius Development - Barton Horvath

Don Ross
Bruce Randall
Harold Poole


by Barton Horvath (1947)

While body building and training with weights is not particularly difficult to learn, as in any other enterprise superior results depend to a large extent upon knowledge and the ultimate application of this knowledge in an intelligent manner.

The trapezius muscle is a comparatively easy one to develop, since it is involved in so many different motions that almost any well planned bar bell and dumbell course will produce a satisfactory development of the trapezius.

However, the sincere student of body building should not be satisfied only with incidental results; he should know the reason why these results are obtained and should possess the specialized knowledge to permit him to improve on these results if he should feel that his development requires it.

I well realize that the study of anatomy is a rather dry subject, but for a full understanding of the problem at hand it will be necessary for us to be able to locate the trapezius anatomically as well as to completely understand its anatomical functions. It is to be noted that I have used the plural word “functions” in relation to the trapezius and the reader will be amazed later on as this article progresses at all the varied tasks the trapezius performs, and when fully developed it performs these tasks very proficiently.

The trapezius muscle is situated on the upper half of the back, starting thing at the spine at about the middle of the back and spreading out in a fan-like manner until it practically covers all of the upper back and a portion of it blends right into the shoulder muscles. It then narrows off again as it rises higher and covers much of the back of our neck and continues right up to its final insertion at the base of the skull.

In addition the trapezius is not satisfied to contain itself to the back alone, for a part of it can be seen from the front of the body as well, as it permits that pleasing slope of muscle to be formed from the neck to the shoulders.

If this section of the trapezius is developed out of proportion to the shoulders it will tend to make the shoulders look narrow, but if the shoulder muscles are also highly developed this optical illusion cannot exist.

The muscular function of the trapezius is manifold. It helps to pull the shoulders up to the ears, it helps to move the neck about, it helps to squeeze the upper back together and it helps to pull the shoulders down.

It should be rather obvious at this time that in every upper back motion the trapezius comes into play to some extent. In some movements this assistance is slight, while in others it is great. It is for that reason that many readers will perhaps be surprised when I later on explain the actual motions, in terms of bar bell and dumbell movements which have some effect on the important trapezius muscles.

To further our complete knowledge it should also be explained that the trapezius is actually capable of motion in any one of four separate sections without much immediate influence upon any of the remaining three sections. Section 1 is that high upper section on the rear of the neck. Section 2 is the one that imparts the slope to the shoulders and Section 3 is the one just below section 2 but it is the one that is brought into play in conjunction with any rotary action of the scapula or shoulder bone. Section 4 is the part located down towards the middle of the spine and works mainly in conjunction with the lower back muscles. In effect they form a chain that works in sequence and contributes greatly to making it possible for a person to lift an object from the ground to an overhead position. To locate these four sections readily, I suggest the reader refer to an anatomy text for himself.

Let us now follow through the action from lifting a weight off the ground to above the head. At the start we bend forward and lift the weight off the ground. Section No. 4 comes into play. After we have stood nearly erect we pull our shoulders up towards our ears so that we can obtain the power for the clean of the weight to the shoulders. Section No. 2 comes into play now. Kindly note that we have jumped right over section No. 3 and have gone from section No. 4 to section No. 2. However, we now start raising the weight above the head with a lot of rotary action in the shoulder blade and here is where section No. 3 takes over and finally when the weight is fully extended above the head section No. 1 is contracted. When the weight is held overhead all four sections are contracted, though there is not too much strain on section No. 3 with most of the effort being handled by section No. 2 and No. 4.

I believe that the reader will now have had sufficient technical information to permit him to follow me in a discussion of the various movements which tend to develop the trapezius fully.

Let us start with section No. 4. Obviously, this section works in conjunction with the lower back muscles and therefore all that need be done to develop it fully is to perform lower back exercises such as dead lifts, repetition cleans and so on.

Section No. 3 is the part that is most active when there is a rotary motion at the scapula or shoulder girdle. By rotary action I refer to some action aside from the one that is straight up and down such as in a straight shrugging motion. A rotary action would be one in which the shoulder girdle rotates as in raising the elbow to right angles with the body, one which rotates the scapula or shoulder girdle.

Naturally there are a huge variety of movements that cause this action and almost all active shoulder movements fall into this class. Gymnastic work places a great amount of strain upon this area and as a result many gymnasts have extremely well developed upper sections of the trapezius. Naturally all heavy overhead lifts bring this section into play and as a result most weight lifters show a fine development of the trapezius muscles. Later on I will list actual exercises for full trapezius development, but merely mentioned the two above types of exercises as an illustration.

Section No. 2 of the trapezius muscle is that section that works mainly in drawing the shoulders up to the ears. Naturally the shrugging motion exercise is ideal for developing this area of the trapezius. Section No. 2 and No. 3 also work in conjunction with the latissimus dorsi muscle, another large back muscle, in pushing the shoulders down. The bulk of the work is done by the latissimus dorsi admittedly, but the trapezius does assist and should be credited as a result. Also, sections No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 all work together in pulling the shoulders up and back though here too the latissimus dorsi gets a workout also.

The last section of the trapezius muscle is section No. 1. This section is affected mainly when there is action at the neck and nearly all neck exercises will influence it to some degree.

At this time I should like to bring out a pertinent observation. While in this particular article we are containing ourselves as much to a discussion of one muscle as is possible, it continually becomes necessary to bring out the fact that this muscle either assists another muscle or group of muscles in a particular motion, or in turn is assisted by other muscles itself.

It is important that this fact be emphasized, for it is my contention that good training is not training in which the trainee attempts to limit the movement to any one particular muscle. The very best exercises are those which utilize the largest number of muscles or groups of muscles at the same time. I have made this observation so that when I list those exercises which I feel are the best for fully developing the trapezius the reader will not question the fact that some of them involve many other muscular areas. Indeed it has long been my contention that a complete development of any muscle in the body is dependent to a large extent on the full development of other associated muscles. There are some exceptions to this rule but for the most part this fact is true. Therefore, while this is a course of development for one single muscle, if the reader was to follow the exercises as outlined for this one muscle he would find that he would be following a very nearly complete all round exercise course. This is exactly the way it should be. For any specialized course of instructions to be worthy of its title, the course must not only restrict itself to the most obviously direct movements, but must also consider other general movements in which the muscle that is being specialized on is assisted by other muscular groups.

I believe that the reader should now have a very good working knowledge of the anatomical location of the trapezius along with some idea concerning its full development. Just before we enter into the actual exercise phase of this discussion I should like to point out just one more bit of incidental knowledge. I always like to feel that I have done a thorough job on any subject so I therefore feel that it is in order to bring out the advantages of a well developed trapezius, aside from the obvious advantage of pure muscular strength. I should say the pure primary function of he trapezius is to assist in holding the shoulders square and flat and also the head upright and well placed. In other words a well developed trapezius will do much to eliminate a slouchy posture and enhance a person’s social and business progress. also the No. 1 and No. 2. sections of the trapezius will do much towards keeping one from suffering a fractured neck in the unfortunate event of a severe blow or an accident. These two reasons alone should make us resolve to develop our trapezius even if we have no desire to become “supermen.”

Let us now consider the actual exercises which will develop the trapezius fully. Obviously it should not be expected that one single routine of exercise will serve the requirements of all enthusiasts. All body builders can be broken down into three distinct classes. These three classes are the beginner, the intermediate and the advanced. The beginner is one who has had little or no previous bar bell and dumbell training. The intermediate is one who has had some experience and his body already shows very definite improvement. The advanced trainee is one who has a nearly perfect development, and is just putting on the finishing touches. Naturally each of these three types wil need to train differently for best results. Perhaps the reader never dreamed that there were so many different matters to be considered in weight training, and while to some the entire affair ma appear as being a bit complex, truthfully it really is not and is quite simple to the qualified professional instructor.

However, this is one reason why some beginners do not make the progress that they ought to. They rely upon the advice of well meaning to be sure, but not qualified friends, and as a result waste much valuable time. so take a tip from me an of you readers who are not satisfied with your progress, and procure professional advice either in person or through the pages of any of the fine courses and books that are advertised in this magazine as well as its associate magazine “Your Physique.” Also read all of the articles contained in both of these magazines, for the authors are all qualified and have had vast experience. Don’t ever make the mistake of accepting just any training partner’s advice.

As stated previously, the beginner, the intermediate and the advanced trainee will each need to follow individual training programs. Therefore I will now list a separate course of instruction for each of these three groups.

Exercises for the Beginner

The beginner will have a comparatively simple matter before him so far as showing a definite response as a result of performing a few elementary exercises. Naturally after a while he will have made enough improvement to follow the intermediate exercises but I suggest that he adheres strictly to this preliminary routine for at least several months.

Exercise No. 1. The most direct trapezius movement is the shrug. The beginner should use a barbell. The elbows remain stiff throughout.

Exercise No. 2. Another rather direct trapezius motion is the rowing motion exercise. This exercise involves the other upper back muscles too, but it does influence the trapezius very strongly. Lift the bar to the chest without any motion from the body.

Exercise No. 3. The forward neck strap exercise will develop the upper area of the trapezius. Let there be no motion from the rest of the body and restrict all movement to the neck only.

Exercise No. 4. The two arm overhead barbell press is the final exercise I will list for the beginner.

As a summary let us study just how much of the trapezius muscle has been influenced by these four exercises. The shrug has taken care of the No. 2 section of the trapezius, and also due to the fact that we were forced to lift the weight off the ground to start the movement, the No. 4 section was also involved. The rowing motion went after the No. 2 and 3 areas mainly, though of course there was also some stimulation in the No. 4 area. The forward neck strap lift was a very nearly entire sections No. 1 and 2 exercise, while the overhead press affected all four areas with emphasis on areas No. 2 and No. 3. It is therefore rather apparent that this routine will do much to start you on the road to full trapezius development.

Exercises for the Intermediate

Now that we have gotten the beginner embarked on the road to super trapezius, we can consider the intermediate. It will not be necessary for me to be so detailed in my exercise descriptions since the intermediate ought to know most of the standard exercises by name, and should have some idea of their correct performance.

Exercise No. 1. The intermediate should use the shrug movement as his warm up movement. He can make one variation though, and that is instead of just pulling the shoulders up to the ears, he can perform a sort of a circular movement. By this I mean that he should pull them back to the rear and finally lower, still holding the shoulders to the front and repeat the entire movement. This exercise will vigorously affect all the sections of the trapezius with the exception of section No. 4.

Exercise No. 2. This is the press behind neck. This exercise causes a vigorous contraction of the upper three sections of the trapezius and is a fine movement.

Exercise No. 3. This exercise is the upright rowing motion. Because of the upright position of the body, more strain is thrown upon the trapezius that the standard rowing motion exercise and it should be practiced.

Exercise No. 4. The dumbell side raise is considered by most persons as being a deltoid or shoulder muscle exercise, and while it does affect the rear head of the deltoid a lot, it also exercises the upper sections of the trapezius tremendously. The dumbells are held to the rear of the body at start, are raised to shoulder height with the arms remaining stiff throughout.

Exercise No. 5. The rocking wrestler’s bridge is a swell trapezius developer. Resistance can be added by holding a barbell in the arms extended position.

Exercise No. 6. The repetition clean from the hang position is a great all round exercise but it will place a very heavy demand upon the trapezius muscle and should be practiced by all means. Do not be too particular with the style you use, for this is a muscular exercise and is not intended to be used as a practice for lifting form. Just heave the weight up to the shoulders and lower to the hang position, and then repeat.

Exercise No. 7. The dip between the parallel bars while leaning forward is another fine upper back exercise, as well as being fine for the trapezius.

Exercise No. 8. The chin behind the neck is also a good one for trapezius growth.

Exercise No. 9. Here we have another dandy trapezius exercise. Start the movement standing upright with the arms at either side, holding a light dumb bell in each hand. The palms should be facing directly to the rear. Now raise the arms straight back as far as possible. You will feel this forcibly in the trapezius though you may have to toughen up your arm muscles first before you will be able to perform this exercise correctly.

Exercise No. 10. You can now wind up your work-out with the one arm dumb bell press and when you have you may be certain that you have performed just about every type of trap exercise that an intermediate is ready for. Naturally there are still other exercise I have not mentioned, but in this course there is at least one of each distinct type of intermediate trapezius exercise and other exercises would either be too advanced for you or else would merely be a slight variation of one of the exercises that I have listed and not needed if you follow my suggested routine.

After a while you will advance further in your training and you will be ready for harder work. Don’t try to rush things, for it will be of no value for you to follow advanced methods until you are ready for them.

Advanced Exercises

Well, finally we have reached the point where you advanced trainers and myself can have a talk. I will be able to ‘talk turkey’ to you boys for you surely must understand my language or else you aren’t advanced at all and have no right to think you are.

As an advanced trainee it is to be expected that you have already obtained a much better than average development of the trapezius. But of course you are human and want to go even further. O.K. I’m all for you so let us study advanced methods. Advanced methods will extend all the way from tow extremes. They will need to be very direct and isolated movements as well as exercises which use large masses of muscle.

Let us study the direct methods first. The most direct type of exercise is posing and muscle control. Yes, if you want clean delineation of the trapezius muscle you will need to pose for muscular display and practice muscle control. Get a good book on muscle control and practice those controls that are intended for upper back display.

Less direct methods would be gymnastic movements such as muscle up and kips on the Roman Rings and high bar as well as parallel bar stunts of a similar mature. Hand balancing and certain tumbling movements will also bring out a lot of definition.

While I admit that weight training is far ahead of any other method of physical method of physical training, I know that all perfect men have devoted at least some time to gymnastic moves. Do not make the mistake of becoming too enthused over these gymnastic movements, for they should not comprise more than about one fifth of your work-out time, and it is not even necessary to follow them each workout. Just practice them with a fair amount of regularity and all will be well.

In addition there are some expander and pulley exercises which must not be overlooked. Exercises of this type should also comprise only a very small part of your work out period, and it is to be understood that the bulk of the exercises to be followed are to be with either dumb bells or a bar bell. However, these other exercises have a very distinct place in the routine of the advanced trainee.

Advanced weight exercises are the dumb bell shrug, the shrug wit a bar bell, but with the bar bell held behind the back, the dumb bell upright rowing exercise, the dumb bell alternate press, as well as all the various types of straight arm raises which are mainly associated with shoulder development but in reality play an important role in trapezius development. The advanced trainee will find that he will need to include more and more dumb bell movements in his routine if continued progress is to be made.

The most advanced trapezius exercises are those which utilize large masses of muscles. At the start, even an advanced trainee will need to perform them with a bar bell. However, later on he will find that better results will be forthcoming form following these movements with dumb bells instead. The two arm repetition snatch from the hang position, the two arm repetition clean from the hang position as well as the repetition jerk from the shoulders are all advanced movements. When performed with dumb bells they become so strenuous that none but the most advanced men can follow them.

These are the types of movements to ultimately aim toward, and besides giving your trapezius muscle a severe work out, your all round strength and general health will show a marked improvement.

This is the only way it can be, for no person can really develop only one part of his body to perfection unless all the other parts are exceptional also. So you advanced fellow who wish to specialize on any part of your body, regardless whether it is the trapezius or not, see to it that your routine puts a stress on the desired section, but that in addition it also includes those vital exercises that promote a full all ‘round growth of the entire body. The final result will depend upon just how much you put into it yourself. Good luck to you.

Anthony Ditillo - Leg & Back Bulking Routine


Monday –

(A) Full Squat

(B) Bent Legged Deadlift

(C) Bent Over Row

Tuesday –

(A) Bench Press

(B) Seated Press

(C) Seated Curl

Wednesday –

Complete rest

Thursday –

(A) Half Squat

(B) High Deadlift

(C) Shrug

Friday –

Repeat Tuesday

Saturday and Sunday –

Complete rest

And there you have a complete leg and back bulk building routine. In case you are wondering why I have included an upper body routine to performed two days per week along with the lower body routine which is also to be performed two days per week, it is because of the overall growing effect that such heavy lower body specialization has upon the entire body. This way, by also including some upper body work you will add somewhat to your upper body bulk while you are increasing the mass of your thighs and lower back as well.

I shall outline for you now, in complete lift by lift form, the entire routine. I shall endeavor to explain more fully the individual performance of each exercise and also just what kind of sets and repetitions have proven to me to be most valuable in training.

Monday –

(A) Full Squat

I want you to perform five sets of this exercise. On your first set load the bar up to 50 per cent of your one rep limit. Perform ten repetitions using this light weight for a warm up. Now increase the bar to 75% of your one rep limit. Perform as many repetitions as possible with this weight. Now rest for two minutes. Now increase the weight of the bar to a poundage which is 90% of your one rep limit. Perform three sets of as many repetitions as possible using this weight. Rest for two minutes between each of the three sets.

Proper performance is most important while performing the full squat. Be sure that you take a wide foot stance, as this seems to give the steadiest balance position. Breathe in very deeply before you begin to descend into the squat, and hold the breath until you are almost standing erect. When you arrive at the sticking point, you may then forcibly exhale and strive to stand erect with this weight. Be sure to add weight to the bar whenever you can, as this is the only way for you to be able to keep an accurate check on your progress.

(B) Bent Legged Deadlift

I want you to perform three sets of this exercise. For the first set put 50% of your one rep limit on the bar and perform ten repetitions for a warm-up. Now rest for to minutes. Next increase the weight of the bar to 75% of your one rep limit and perform as many repetitions as possible with this weight. Now rest for two minutes. Finally, put 90% of your one rep limit on the bar and perform one set of as many repetitions as physically possible.

When performing these deadlifts, I want you to be sure and breathe in very deeply when commencing to begin the lift. Then, while performing the lift itself, slowly but surely, exhale all the air out of the lungs. This will prevent possible muscle strains in the lower abdomen and groin area. I would also advise you to wear wrist straps as these will help you in concentrating on the lifting of the weight itself and not worrying about your grip giving out during the lift. I have only advised three sets due to the heaviness of the weight you will have to lift. I do not want you to go stale. Be sure to add weight to the bar whenever you possibly can.

(C) Bent Over Rowing

This last exercise in your Monday routine will bulk up all the muscles of the upper back and I want you to use it here as a tapering off exercise. For the first set use 50% of your one rep limit and perform one set of ten repetitions. Rest for two minutes. Now increase the bar to 75% of your one rep limit and perform three sets of as many reps as you possibly can. Rest for two minutes between each set. Be sure and pull the bar up into the lower abdomen and pause two seconds when it reaches this spot. Use a close grip and be sure to add weight to the bar whenever possible.

This, then, is a step by step description of your Monday bulking routine.

Next on our agenda is a step by step description of the routine you will be following on Tuesday and Friday. These three exercises are for the upper body. Since this is primarily a lower body bulking routine, I shall not go into minute detail concerning these three upper body exercises. They are placed here in this routine only to allow you to continue to gain in the upper body while you are specializing on the lower body. Now since these routines are not for beginners, I feel that all of you readers should know just how to perform these three exercises for best results. However, I shall give you a brief account of sets and reps which I feel will be helpful.

Tuesday and Friday –

(A) Bench Press: 5 sets of 5 reps, add weight whenever possible

(B) Seated Press: 5 sets of 5 reps, add weight whenever possible

(C) Seated Curl: 5 sets of 5 reps, add weight whenever possible

Be sure to perform these sets and reps slowly and correctly for best results. You should rest for two minutes between each set.

Wednesday –

Complete rest. Do no training at all.

Thursday –

(A) Half Squat. Begin this movement by taking your top FULL SQUAT POUNDAGE and perform one set of ten repetitions. You should use a power rack for this movement. BE VERY CAREFUL WHEN PERFORMING THIS MOVEMENT.

Now, rest for two minutes. Next, increase the weight of the bar to a poundage which is heavy enough so that you can’t do more than three repetitions with it. Stay with this poundage until you can perform five sets of three reps with it. Then it is time to add ten pounds to the bar. Rest for two minutes between each set. Remember: when you are able to use the same poundage for five sets of three repetitions, you should increase the weight of the bar by ten pounds the very next workout. This will be the way you can gauge the progress you are making.

(B) Rack Deadlift. begin by using the same weight can deadlift full from the floor one time. Perform one set of ten repetitions in high deadlift, using this poundage. Rest for two minutes. Now increase the weight of the bar to a weight which you can’t possibly do more than three reps with. Stay with this poundage until you can perform five sets of three reps with it. Then on the next training period, increase the bay by ten pounds. Because of the heaviness of the barbell, it will be necessary for you to use wrist straps in order for you to hold onto the bar. Be sure to rest for two minutes between each set of various repetitions.

(C) Shrug. This movement will help develop all the remaining muscles of the upper back and the shoulder area. It is included in this routine more or less as a tapering off exercise movement. I want you to perform one set of ten repetitions using 50% of your one rep limit, then rest for two minutes. Now increase the weight of the bar to 75% of your one rep limit and perform three sets of as many reps as possible, while using this same weight. As soon as you are able to, be sure to increase the poundage. Rest for two minutes between each set. While performing the shoulder shrug, I would also advise you to use wrist straps and get a complete circular motion to the bar as you raise and shrug your shoulders. This will help to fully develop your shoulder group and upper back muscles to their fullest. Be sure to perform the repetitions slowly and correctly for best results.

I hope I have made the execution of this routine simple and easy to follow. I would advise anyone interested to reread this routine over and over again, until they are sure they know just what it is they are to do. Be sure to perform your repetitions slowly and correctly for best results. Be sure to add weight to the bar whenever possible. Try to follow the instructions I have given you just as I have written them up. I have a definite reason for grouping the exercises in this certain way and I would like you to perform this routine just as I have written it up for you.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Paul Anderson - Pulling Power


by Paul Anderson

Just as in the press, when I found I only pressing was not enough to develop my pressing power; my pull did not advance rapidly from just performing the snatch and clean. Not advancing the way I should soon taught me I needed some assistance exercises for the pull as well as the press. I was sure that selecting and developing these movements would be easy, but soon found otherwise.

The first one that came to mind was the dead lift. Before starting the dead lift I consulted several lifters and coaches. Most all of them, including John Davis, said the dead lift would be of no help in developing the snatch and the clean. Luckily, two things kept me from taking this well-intentioned advice. The first was contrary advice given by my friend, Bob Peoples, who holds the world record in the dead lift. The other was the fact that lifters like John Davis and Norbert Schemanski, who had very good pulling power, also excelled in the dead lift. On occasions I had heard of Davis lifting 700 pounds in the dead lift and Schemanski more than 600 pounds. My thought was that maybe there was a connection between these lifts even if they had not recognized it.

So, with the belief that the dead lift would help my pulling power, I started doing many sets and reps in this heavy movement. To say the dead lift helped my pulling power is a gross understatement. My clean and snatch soared and for the first time in my 10 months of training I thought I could become an international lifter.

Although my pulling progress never slowed down after I started the dead lift, I was constantly in search of more helping movements, especially for my second pull. In this search I went through many of the well-known pulling exercises such as high pulls, upright rowing, one hand pull and continental cleans. I felt that all of these had helped my pull, but I still had not found the lift to do for my second pull what the dead lift had done for the first.

As I gave this problem more thought I realized the best second pull exercise I was then doing was a continental clean. The next thought that came to mind was to work into a heavier variation of the continental clean. Putting this idea to work, I tried using weights I was only able to pull high off of my continental belt. This seemed to work, but still was not exactly what I was looking for. Then I made the greatest discovery of my lifting career. To do this exercise I made a steel belt which I will describe in the following paragraph.

The belt was made of thin spring steel and shaped to fit my girth. In front there were two hooks, also of steel, and extended downward about six inches from he bottom of the belt. They were so spaced that one was directly in front of each thigh. Then I covered the belt with leather and attached a buckle. By cinching the belt around my waist I was able to take very heavy weights from a rack onto the hooks, give a great leg heave, pull high with my arms, and then return the weight to the hooks. By repeating this assistance exercise in reps ad sets I was able to handle over 1,000 pounds with the high pulling muscles. I give this exercise credit for the pulling power that has enabled me to snatch 360 and clean 485 pounds. This is the first time I have ever written the details of this the greatest of all my assistance exercises.

This revelation I now gladly explain in the hope it will encourage some young lifter to realize accomplishments beyond his fondest dreams.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Doug Hepburn on the Curl

Here, for Doug Heburn's original book on The Two Hands Curl:

by Doug Hepburn (1952)

Among the half-dozen of so exercises in which I have always been particularly interested, is the two hands curl. I have always maintained that there is a basic movement which can determine the strength of any given section of the physique. For instance, the deep knee bend or squat is a pretty accurate means of measuring the strength of the hips and thighs; the dead lift with one or two hands determines the back strength; while the two hands slow curl gives you a good idea of the power of the arms in one of the two basic movements governed by them.

It is true that I have used a wide variety of exercises in my various curling routines during the past few years, but these were merely for the purpose of change, to provide the necessary stimulation and keep my workouts from becoming monotonous, thereby halting progress. Personal experience has convinced me that to attain maximum power in the biceps of the arms, the two hands slow curl with barbell is the most effective and efficient exercise, not only from the amount of energy expended, but from the standpoint of time in which the maximum results can be obtained. All exercises apart from the actual lift are, as some people call them, “assistance movements,” and only the practice of the curl is important if you are going to break your records in it. If you want to improve the press, you press . . . the dead lift, then dead lift and the curl, then simply work hard, faithfully and with determination, using the two hands slow curl exclusively.

Outstanding ability and power in curling dumbbells, barbells and all kinds of awkward block weights has been the trademark of all the strong men of the past and present eras. 

I am of course referring to those possessed not merely of “specialized” strength by virtue of certain favorable leverage of skeletal factors, but of an “all round basic Power.” The men who come most readily into my mind are these . . . John Davis . . . Arthur Saxon . . . Maurice Jones . . . Louis Cyr . . . Louis “Apollon” Uni . . Al Berger . . . You will notice, that it is if are fully acquainted with the power of these men, that not only did they possess extremely powerful arms, but they also had immensely strong backs and thighs, thus proving that the true foundations of strength lies in those regions.

Of them all, perhaps four stand out as the most powerful in the curl, in my opinion that is. I exclude Louis Cyr because I fell that romance has played a large part in certain of his feats and there is, so far as I can ascertain, no existing proof that some of his lifts were actually performed. John Davis, Al Berger, Maurice Jones and Herman Goerner are to me the greatest curlers we have seen. All these men have curled 200 pounds or over with Herman Goerner heading the list with a two hands slow curl of 222 pounds. It is this record which I have personally worked to equal and then substantially surpass. I came close to doing so at the recent Mr. Eastern America show held by Joe Weider. I feel now that that if I had curled first, instead of having broken records in the deep knee bend, I would have made a 230 curl with little or no trouble. You see, I firmly believe that leg and back strength play just as important a part in the two hands slow curl, as power in the biceps. But I feel confident that if I continue to train along my present lines, utilizing the methods and theories I am submitting to you, I will be more than capable of exceeding Herman Goerner’s great record in the very near future.

At the very beginning of my weight training career, I had absolutely no idea that I was in possession of great power potentials, and I have often wondered how many men there might be, going around with greater potentials for strength than I have recently displayed. I used the regular bodybuilding movements in my training routines, the two hands curl included among them, and I had no thought of training for power, for maximum poundages or record breaking. I just wanted to build myself up, getting what strength I could from these regular movements. But suddenly I realized that I would never be noted for a beauty of physical development. I knew that I would be unable to obtain a proportionate physique such as physical excellence contestants possess, and I then determined that I would go all out for strength. It was at that moment that I formed my personal philosophy of exercise and power and I have kept to it since!
Just as with Goerner the Great, the curl has always been one of my favorite exercises, and as I found the realization growing stronger that I could never own a Mr. America physique, so I found too that I took more readily to a combination of sets, repetitions and poundages that produced strength rather than size, shape, definition and endurance. I was fully aware even then that strenuous efforts in concentrating on the development of maximum power would give me the most gratifying results and this, as I have since found, has proved to be true.

So I changed completely my former methods in which I was concerned only with bodybuilding qualities, to those that would give me the greatest strength in the minimum of time, while wasting as little energy in so doing. I adopted a high-weight low-repetition principle as contrasted to a medium-poundage high-repetition combination. This is, I feel, the first important rule in training for greater strength.
What I call the “Power Principle” is most effective in eliminating a buildup of fatigue products in the blood stream, through eliminating the factor of endurance movements that are part of most bodybuilding programs. Thus the would-be record holder, though he sacrifices some endurance, gains greater returns in strength. This principle, isolating the desired result – in this instance POWER – can be applied effectively to any other form of weight training activity. It is, in fact, used by the world’s champion John Davis. John uses a combination of heavy poundages with few repetitions, repeated for six to eight sets.

Most bodybuilders and weight trainers do not fully appreciate the fact that endurance and strength are two separate qualities, which simply cannot be FULLY obtained by using any one exercise in with one single system of sets and repetitions. It has been my personal experience in barbell training that an exercise, and sets and repetitions combination that effectively produces, say, endurance, does so only by sacrificing power. And the reverse is also true. If you train for power and desire to reap the greatest results, you can only do so by neglecting endurance.

In order to make this opinion a little clearer, I can do so by pointing out it is a popular misconception that to build great size is also to build great power. Most bodybuilding courses are laid out along these lines. They may give you a lot of size in a comparatively short period of time, but they fail to give you a corresponding degree of strength. Most bodybuilding authorities now recognize that great muscle size can be obtained by using high repetitions and sets in combination with a moderate poundage.
One gains both size and a certain amount of endurance but no appreciable degree of power, because the high-rep, moderate poundage principle simply cannot be applied to building power qualities. To gain great power one must constantly handle heavy poundage . . . poundages that are close to the limit of individual strength, repeated constantly with adequate rest periods in between. The normal bodybuilding program concentrates on saturating the muscle fibers with blood, thus maintaining a constant demand for greater size of volume in the individual muscle fibers in order to accommodate this repeated “pumping” up of the muscles. 

Now, I have no quarrel with this training method. Nor do I seek to turn weight trainers away from it. If mere size is what you want, then the high repetitions and sets combined with a moderate poundage will give you size. On the other hand, Strength is obtained most effectively not through a bloating of the muscle tissue with seven, eight or nine sets of fifteen reps, but mainly through a strengthening of the ligaments and tendons as well as the fivers of the muscle, and this can be gained only with the use of a very heavy weight, LOW reps and the strictest style possible

Why the strictest style? Because there are rules to keep when you wish to break, and it is best that you get used to competition methods in your training. Then, when you are actually lifting to break a record, you lift tranquilly and at complete ease, knowing that it will be only be a poundage well above your limit that will gain you disqualification. With this strict style factor, I will deal more fully in the next chapter of this article.

So you see there are very definite reasons why the questions of repetitions, poundages and sets are so important to the man who is seeking power, or endurance or size. Summing up all the foregoing mass of words – one can say that to gain size, one should use high reps and moderate weight, while those who wish to build up strength, whether in the curl or any other movement, must keep strictly to a heavy poundage combined with low reps. Perhaps the greatest and most pleasing combination of both characteristics could be achieved by alternating these tow principles in one’s routine periodically, thus putting each one into effect for not less than the period of one month and not more than three months at the longest. This plan would have the profound effect of supplying the very necessary rest or change of routine, which is, in itself, essential to continued progress in both directions.

Now that I have explained my reasons for the use of the Power Principle in my training, I suggest you give it a try in your workout program. It will not make any great alteration in your type of development or appearance. If you are inclined to muscular definement, it might possibly give you a little more muscularity, but nothing too noticeable. If you are, as I am, inclined to a smooth, fleshy type of musculature, you will remain the same outwardly, but the muscles will harden a great deal. In my next article, I’ll give you some training schedules together with some important tips that will help you bring your curl poundage up and aid you in maintaining correct posture, thus gaining greater success during actual curling attempts.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Box Squats - Garry Benford

Box Squats
by Garry Benford

My primary reason for expounding on the routine that I’m about to give is that my training squat of 505 as a 181 pounder increased to a present (1982) best of 660 at 198 through its use . . . and this gain of 150 pounds was accomplished in only 30 months! Of course, I did manage to increase my bodyweight by 17 pounds during this time, but the gain was in the form of lean body mass as my percentage of body fat has remained at 10%. Simply stated, the box squatting routine to follow gave me very satisfactory results and there is no reason to think that it would not be very result-producing for anyone who tries it.

When box-squatting, the lifter lowers himself to a box of sufficient height to approximate a squat position roughly two inches above parallel, sitting down on the box and coming to a near-dead stop. An arch is kept in the lower back throughout the movement and the lifter then rocks backward and immediately thrusts his hips and buttocks forward, driving to a standing position again.

After this portion of the routine is completed, another box which allows the lifter to reach a position approximately one-half inch below parallel is substituted and the process repeated for a single set and repetition. There is no need to start light and warm up again as this would be self-defeating.

A third box then can be used regularly or occasionally to supplement depth strength. A sub-box, as I call it, equals a squat of roughly two or three inches below parallel and is first-rate for building power to drive out of the ‘hole.’ Again, a single set is performed at this level.

To an individual who is uninitiated in the technique of box squatting, finding the right height for the various positions can be confusing. Placing boards under the box allows for a perfect height adjustment.

To get the most out of the box squat method, assuming the proper stance is important. All weights are taken with a wider-than-normal-stance to utilize the powerful muscles of the hip extensors. The lone exception to this is on the sub-box squat, where one’s regular squatting stance is used.

Notice that I utilize single repetitions after a couple of warmup sets. This permits the usage of tremendous poundages.

2” Above Parallel









½” Below Parallel


2-3” Below Parallel


However, I do not constantly work with maximum poundages, preferring instead to utilize a 16-week cyclical program. The aforementioned poundages are what I reach in the final week. In the beginning of the cycle I start with 640 and 540 respectively as top singles in the box 2” above parallel and ½” below parallel, adding ten pounds weekly.
The 2-3” below parallel segment is worked a bit differently as I begin with 400 for 5 reps and jump 20 pounds weekly for the first six weeks. From that point on to the conclusion of the cycle, I go in 10-pound jumps and drop to triples, doubles and finally singles.

In addition to the box squatting program outlined here, there are also assistance exercises that need to be done to supplement leg, hips and lower back strength. After box squatting, an exercise called the reverse hyperextension should be done. It’s performed with the lifter in a prone position with his upper body on a leg extension machine – or any other surface at least three feet high – and his legs bent and dangling on the floor. He then raises his legs and hips up behind him as high as possible, contracting the lower back and hips. High repetitions (15-20) and additional resistance of 25 to 100 pounds – which can be attached to the ankles – give optimum results. In fact, this exercise alone – even without the use of the box squatting routine – will substantially increase one’s squatting strength!

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