Sunday, July 30, 2017

Hepburn and the 400-lb Clean and Press - Charles A. Smith (1954)

Hollywood Star and Idol of Millions Bill "Peanuts" West
Photo Courtesy of Lydia Tack

This Article Courtesy of Liam Tweed
Thanks Again, Brother! 



Doug Hepburn Says:
"A 400 Pound Clean and Press is Possible . . . 
And I'll Do It!"
by Charles A. Smith (1954)

When Arnold Luhaar of Estonia made the highest clean and jerk of the 1936 Olympics with a poundage of 363, the occasion was cause for applause. And when he created a new world record with 369.3 pounds, way back in 1937, the World of Weights went haywire over the strength of the 5 foot 10, 264 pound Powerhouse from the Baltic. 
 Arnold Luhaar
In those days, feats performed by Luhaar were indeed remarkable. So much so, if anyone had forecast that in the future, well within the lifetime of most fans who had witnessed the lifting at Berlin, a man would come out of obscurity and use that record weight for Repetition Presses, certain gentlemen in white coats would have been promptly called for, and the local mental institution would have had a brand new inmate. 

In fact, a much more sensible prognostication would have been, "One day they'll run the hundred yards in 5 seconds." So impossible of achievement did even a single clean and press with 390 pounds appear. 
Even two years ago, the suggestion that a man would one day be close to a 400 pound clean and press would have called forth the usual "Are you kidding?" or "Yes . . . when nannygoats play the bagpipes."
Only four men in weightlifting have ever officially cleaned and jerked 400 or above . . . Rigoulot . . . Davis . . . Schemansky . . . Anderson. And since weightlifting fans fully appreciate the power it takes to make such a lift, the magnitude of its effort, the skill, speed and timing required, they might well be excused their skepticism. I say that there is a man who will create a 400 clean and press record and in the not too distant future. His name? The present World's heavyweight Lifting Champion and World's Strongest Man, Doug Hepburn of Vancouver. 
It is hard for any beginner to appreciate what it takes to make such a lift. The best way to learn is to try and dead lift this poundage off the floor, and pull a muscle or two. After the novice has made this experiment, he'll not only respect the men who can clean and jerk 400 but he'll realize how fantastic is the power of a man who has already pressed more than this weight from the shoulders. He'll also wonder how on earth any mortal man can raise such a load of iron overhead. 
The lifter or bodybuilder of experience, knowing more about the power of the Old Timers, will respect any man who can perform a 400 pound clean and jerk since he knows that the fabulous greats of the Iron Game, Goerner, Saxon, Cyr, Swoboda, Apollon, men who were among the strongest of all time, never were able to clean and jerk 400 pounds. Not that they didn't have the power; the lacked science and our modern training methods. It is also possible that type of equipment used made a difference to what they could have lifted. 
Charles Rigoulot
Apollon The Mighty (Louis Uni)

But with the press from the shoulders, just sheer power is required, the only section of he lift demanding skill or technique, being the clean. Now Doug Hepburn has always possessed the unusual ability to press whatever he could get to the shoulders. In other words, what he can press according to Olympic lifting rules is limited to what he is able clean. While this might seem a tremendous physical superiority, yet actually it was a disadvantage which I had to help him beat when I first began to train and teach him Quick Lifting. Let us see why it constituted a handicap.

Doug at one time actually disliked the quick lifts because he felt that together with his physical handicap they presented an obstacle he could never climb over. This gradually built up in his mind a negative attitude to snatching and cleaning, a feeling of defeat which made even the thought of training on them somewhat distasteful, yet alone entertaining any ideas of improvement. 

Doug realizes now of course that his attitude was wrong, that the real reason behind his dislike was very obvious, because he was poor in snatching and cleaning, and so considered himself ill-suited to quick lifting. While it is also true that Doug's physical handicap has somewhat restricted his lifting advances, his outlook has so changed that he now enjoys training on the quick lifts, and if he continues to make advances hopes to be able to break the great record total set by John Davis, the man he admires so much.

Once the dislike of the quick lifts was overcome, with the help of my coaching, which incidentally did not begin at the World's championships but started way back in 1950, he made steady advances; so did his ambition rise and he began to think more and more in terms of not merely pressing 400, but of cleaning it and pressing it. 
There is no doubt that Doug's extraordinary deltoid and triceps power, coupled with extremely favorable leverages, led him to concentrate more on pressing feats than on competition lifting. While he was able to improve his press, he had no thoughts of training for Olympic lifting or even entering competition. As soon as his snatch and clean began to improve in power and technique, it not only served to boost his actual clean and press record bit it made him realize what his actual strength potentials were. So far as he is now concerned, the sky is the limit. 
The ambition of the World's strongest man to press 400 pounds was first realized at the Metropolitan AAU's annual Mr. Eastern America show, run for fundraising purposes by Joe Weider. There Doug pressed the colossal poundage of 410 . . . pressed the weight mark you, not jerked it, after the bar had been lifted into position at the shoulders. 
Since this time, so marked has Doug's improvement been on the clean that he has three times broken the worlds clean and press record, once at the Junior Nationals with a poundage of 366.75. Again shortly after during a special tryout for the Canadian AAU with 370, and once more at the World's Championships in Stockholm with 371.5. His best clean stands at 385 and is still showing signs of improvement. Even with a badly injured knee, and his club foot, Doug still beat the greatest collection of heavyweight lifters ever to appear on a platform. 
How the World's Strongest Man is Training for a 400 Pound Clean and Press

Since the most important part of the lift for Doug is the clean, he is devoting almost two-thirds of his training time to that section. The rest of the time he spends practicing movements that will assist the press. 

Note: Doug became something of a Clean and Press specialist at this point. Many men for many decades specialized on their favored lifts, so the Bench specialists of today are certainly in good company, and deserving of the same respect given all who set groundbreaking records. 
Doug commenced with the clean, using a comparatively light poundage for a warm up, and also to perfect his form. Starting off with 270 for 5 repetitions, he jumps 20 to 30 pounds at a time until he is using 360. with his second warm up weight, around 290, he does 3 reps, then 300 x 2, 320 x 2, 340 x 2 and finally 360 x 2, which is his training weight. 
The World's strongest man has always believed that in order to increase strength the heaviest weights must be handled as often as possible. With the 360 he strives to do as many sets of 2 reps as he can, aiming for 8 sets of 2. As soon as he gets the 8 x 2 with 360, he increases the weight, again working up to 8 sets of 2. The first clean is made from the floor, the second from the hang.   

After the cleans are finished Doug rests up for 15 to 20 minutes, then starts his press training. Contrary to the usual practice he does not perform standing presses but sticks to bench presses off the chest. He has found that this movement is more than sufficient to increase overhead pressing if performed correctly, without the arch of back and bounce off the chest. 

But there is another and equally important reason for not performing standing press after a strenuous session of cleans. It way my opinion that the lower back muscles would be subjected to plenty of work by the hang clean .Standing presses place a lot of strain on the lower back, especially during the final stages of the press training when each individual lift is hard and there is a tendency to use a slight back bend.

It is then that there is a strenuous contraction of the muscle groups in the lower lumbar region as they act an effort to maintain an upright position of the trunk. The work entailed in cleaning the bar, not only for actual clean improvement, but also in cleaning for the standing press, might easily cause a condition of staleness and fatigue, and thus hinder or eliminate any gains made.
It was a theory that had to be proved and Doug decided to take the risk when he started to train for the Junior Nationals, and subsequently for the World's championships. So he just cleaned for clean improvement, then used the bench press off the chest to boost the power of his standing press. Once every two weeks I had him set aside a special day on which he would make his limit attempts for the standing press and nothing else. 
At the Junior Nationals the theory was proved a resounding success. Doug smashed three Junior National records, one of which was also a new World record, the clean and press with a poundage of 366.25, and as mentioned before in this article, he subsequently went on to smash the world clean and press record twice, in addition to capturing the World title.
Now that you have the schedule of the World's strongest man for improving the clean, let's see how he goes about maintaining his pressing power. Since we already know that Doug relies on the bench press to preserve and increase his strength in the standing press and why he does so, let us examine his system of sets and repetitions. 
As in the clean, not only does Doug believe in using the heaviest possible poundages but also in thoroughly warming up. First he uses a light poundage of 300, or a little above, for 5 reps. Then he increases the weight 20 or 30 pounds for a secondary warm up, and again for a third warm up. Then he jumps into his regular training poundage which he uses for 6 sets of 3 reps. The poundage he is using at the moment is 430 pounds. It has been with this bench press routine that Doug has recently pushed the record up to 560 pounds, and his one hand military press to 195 pounds. 
The end of the workout comes with heavy squats, a movement which Doug feels every lifter should include in his routine. It is a developer of basic body power, and no matter how much the arm chair scientists of our sport sneer at it, it is the exercise which has enabled so many famous lifters to make steady Olympic lifting advances, men like John Davis. Danny Uhalde, Tommy Kono, Paul Anderson, and of course Doug himself. He does 5 sets of 5 with 560 pounds, going all the way down, not just upper thighs parallel to the floor.
This is the routine the World's strongest man and Olympic lifting champion is using to reach a 400 pound clean and press. Will he do it? There is no doubt in my mind that he will. How soon remains to be seen but I feel it will be some time in 1954, perhaps at the British Empire Games to be held in Vancouver, Canada, in July. 
Recent advances Doug has made speak for themselves. They include the lifts mentioned above, and a 470 pound press jerk. He is aiming for a 600 pound bench press and feels that when he reaches this figure he will be capable of a 500 press jerk, a 450 press from the shoulders and . . . the record he is now so strictly in training for . . . a two hands clean and press with 400 pounds, a record which only another giant of strength, such as Doug is, will be able to approach, perhaps beat.     

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Health, Endurance, and Definition - John McCallum (1967)

Originally Published in This Issue (October 1967) 

So far in this series, the emphasis has been on building bulk and power. If you've followed the series from the beginning, you'll have developed by now a fair degree of size and strength. You'll also have a good grounding in the fundamentals of building a truly herculean body.  

Note: this is the 29th monthly installment in the series. So, if a lifter had been following it as directed, two years and four months would have passed since beginning. 

We're still going to concentrate on bulk and power, but there'll be a drastic difference from now on. We're going to bring in some other factors we haven't mentioned yet, but which are indispensable in producing a perfectly trained and proportioned physique.

Most of you will be ready not for a big advancement in your workout routines and a radical change in your training habits. You'd be wise, even if you haven't been following the series, to give a lot of thought to what's coming. 

We're going to talk about three items. These items are closely related to each other and to your ultimate success in bodybuilding. Properly considered and attended to, they'll add fantastically to your appearance and to your training progress. Two of the three items are seldom, if ever, considered by weight trainees, and the third item is badly misunderstood.

The items are:

1) your health,
2) your endurance, and
3) your definition.

Let's take them one at a time. We'll start with your health.

If you take a look at the cover of this magazine, you'll see that it refers to two factors of physical excellence - "Strength" and "Health." That last word isn't just tacked on to use up space. The editors of this magazine have been in the business a long time. They consider health important. So should you.

Most trainees think about their strength. Some of them think about nothing else. But very, very few give any consideration to their health. You can take my word for it that time spent on improving your health is time well spent. Good health is your biggest single asset. It's got money backed right off the map. It's infinitely more important than strength in the long run.

Good health is a relative term. It means different things to different people.

To the average guy on the street, good health means four colds a year and the flu every winter. It means a major illness once in five years and a major operation once in ten. It means two hours of misery in the dentist's chair every six months or so. It means pills so his head won't ache. It means pills to make him sleep and pills to keep him awake. It means an upset gut when he eats anything stronger than breaded veal cutlets and frazzled nerves when Billy leaves his bike in the driveway. It means giving up his teeth at thirty, his hair at forty, and the ghost at fifty.

It means, in short, a condition more to be endured than enjoyed. Good health to the average man isn't really all that good. It's nothing like the kind of health he could have with a little intelligent exercise.

Good health, in the sense I'm talking about, means something much better. It means an abundance of energy during your waking hours, and deep, untroubled sleep at night. It means the complete absence of all disease, including minor colds and headaches. It means teeth like concrete blocks and never seeing the inside of a hospital except to visit sick friends. It means nerves like a wooden Indian and the digestion of a sword swallower.

It means, in short, a very desirable state of being.

You can acquire this type of health if you plan for it, eat for it, and train for it.

A healthy heart is the most important single factor in any consideration of your health. Heart disease is the big killer today. You could stock a small country with the premature victims of heart disease. If you're old enough to vote, you're certain to know someone who died of a heart attack. If you're old enough to vote sensibly, you're probably a good candidate for one yourself.

We're going to consider the heart very strongly in our discussion of good health.

Weightlifters are pretty healthy as a rule, but they aren't immune to sickness and they aren't immune to heart disease. We like to think we are, but we're only kidding ourselves. Check around. You'll find lots of lifters who've been sick and some who've suffered heart attacks.

Old rumors to the contrary, weight training won't make you sick, and it won't promote heart attacks. Unfortunately, unless you train properly, it won't do much to prevent them either. Haphazard training is better for your heart and your health than no training at all, but it's nowhere as good as training that's properly planned for that particular purpose.

The key is proper, as distinguished from improper, training. Proper training will give you the type of good health I mentioned earlier. Most important of all, it'll give you a heart as sound and lasting as a railway man's watch.

We'll get on to the subject of proper training for good health as soon as we touch lightly on the other two of the three items we mentioned earlier.

The second item we're going to talk about is your endurance.

Once you're into the semi-advanced stage, you should start giving some intelligent thought to your endurance if you're really serious about building up good health and a herculean body. Endurance, from the standpoint of a healthy body and particularly a healthy heart, is more important than just strength alone. Training for strength helps your heart and your health a little. Training for a high degree of endurance helps a lot. The sensible plan is to combine the two. There's no reason why you can't be strong and enduring as well.

Don't underestimate the importance of a reasonable degree of endurance. If you're all strength you're taking quite a gamble. If you can Press 300 puff from walking up the stairs into the gym, then you're in trouble and you'd better do something about it.

When I was just a kid, I watched a pretty good heavyweight lifter working out. He was doing presses in sets of two. He collapsed on the bench after every set and puffed for five minutes.

After four sets he dropped to singles. He didn't increase the weight, he just cut the reps in half. He did three more singles with at least five minutes after each one and then he missed his next Press.

He explained why and at least he was honest about it.

"No endurance," he said.

I asked him about it.

"I'm not worried about endurance," he said. "Just strength."

"You'd lift better with a little more endurance, though, wouldn't you?" I asked.

"I doubt it," he said. "Endurance is one thing, strength is another."

"What about your health, though?" I said. "Wouldn't you be healthier if you had some endurance?"

He got annoyed at me. "Listen," he said. "I'm healthy as a horse right now." He wiped sweat off his face and sat down again. "I never had a sick day in my life."

He got his sick day when he was thirty-eight years old.

He was hanging a picture for his wife. He dropped the picture and grabbed his chest. He grimaced, took two steps toward the bathroom, and fell over. The autopsy report said that he was probably dead when he hit the floor.

Quite apart from the health angle, endurance plays a big part in successful bodybuilding. It takes a high degree of endurance to work through the type of program you've got to follow to build a really outstanding body.

Most of today's top bodybuilders are pretty enduring. They have to be. Some of them do programs that would stagger the village blacksmith. They work fast. They go from one exercise to another with very little rest in between. They compress a tremendous amount of constructive effort into each workout. You'll appreciate the absolute necessity of endurance when you get into the real championship bodybuilding routines.

I workout out with one of the top bodybuilders in California a few years ago. I hadn't done any work on endurance. I'd been doing a lot of straight lifting but I wanted to get back into bodybuilding.

We started on his program, taking turn about on the sets. The only rest we took was when the other guy was exercising.

I didn't last too long. I outweighed him by forty pounds and was at least 10 percent stronger. He was better built though. I had the strength, he had the body. He also had the endurance.

A quarter of the way through the program I was puffing so hard I couldn't talk and my insides were doing flip-flops. Two more sets and I'd had it. I lurched into the washroom and threw up my lunch.

He came in and grinned at me. I was bathed in cold sweat and my gut felt like the Bolshoi Ballet had bounced across it. He wasn't even breathing hard.

"How you feel?" he asked.

I gave him a haggard look. "Great," I muttered. "This is really my idea of a fun thing."

"Gonna throw in the towel?"

"Throw in the towel?" I said. "I just threw up both kidneys and about eighteen feet of small intestine. I didn't see no towel."

He patted me on the shoulder. "Man," he said. "You ain't gonna make it with the muscle bit."

"I'll make it," I said. "I'll try again on Wednesday."

"Not in here," he said. "Not with me."

"Why not?"

"Man," he said. "You're liable to drop dead next time. The fuzz could blame me."

I was too sick to argue with him.

"Do an easier program," he said.

I washed my face in cold water.

"Take it a little softer."

"That's no good," I said. "I know I gotta do that kind of program to make it big."

"Right," he said. "But you ain't in shape for it."

I agreed with him.

"You ain't got the endurance for it."

"Yeah," I said. "Like I already figured that." 
"You gotta build up your endurance," he said. "Do it gradually if you have to, but build it up. You'll never get really advanced otherwise." 
A top bodybuilder's physique takes a lot of exercise. You've got to keep the workout rolling right along to stimulate further gains. If you have to stop and rest for five minutes after every set you just won't get the stimulation. You'll lose all the advantages of the multiple set system.
There's another point in favor of endurance. That the time element. If you're doing an advanced program and you have to dawdle your way through it, then you're going to spend more time in the gym than the owner does. You'll also make a social outcast of yourself. Life's pretty short to spend all your time looking at a squat rack.

If you build up the necessary endurance, you can plow through a top line routine and do it fast enough to get the maximum amount out of it. You're also spared the embarrassment of having a friend sneak your welfare cheques into the gym.

We're running out of space. Carry on with your regular training, and next month we'll discuss definition. We'll also talk about how you can incorporate the principles of health, endurance, and definition into your advanced training routines for a greatly improved physique. 

Note: Before you get all carried away thinking you're at the "advanced" level, check your poundages on the exercises, and remember . . .

This is the 29th monthly installment in the series. So, if a lifter had been following it as directed, two years and four months would have passed since beginning.


Thursday, July 27, 2017

A New Wrinkle on Power Rack Training - John McKean (1981)

From this Issue (February, 1981)

More Articles by John McKean:

The Author, John McKean

Interview with John:

Deadlift, Dumbbell, Right Arm, 266.5 lbs:

Thanks BIG for sharing your knowledge and experience, John! 

Back to the Rack: 
A New Wrinkle on Power Rack Training
by John McKean (1981) 

Over the past few years several authors have expounded the virtues of limited movement power rack training: ISOMETRONIC, as Peary Rader calls it . . . and for good reason . . . it works!

Rader Isometronic Course:

Some daring and innovative men, particularly in the early '60s, found they could make great increases in their competitive lifts with work on the rack when their "normal" routines had ceased to produce progress. However, despite its apparent value and the good sense behind its theory, I've witness very few power men actually employ PROPER limited movement training.

Oh sure, some guys do half and quarter squats and a few take the bar off high pins, lower themselves to certain positions and come up. But unless the bar is started from a dead stop and moved to an isometric position four or five inches above, the fantastic gains of the power rack pioneers are not achieved.

Why do so few trainees use the rack incorrectly? Well, for one thing it's damn tough and very little weight can be used at first, especially from the bottom positions. Movements are short and awkward, no 'pump' is created, nor is there the burst of acceleration most lifters enjoy in a standard range exercise.

A very big factor against short-range lifting, though, and the point of this article, is the finish of the movement - that cruel and unusual punishment known as isometrics.

Most weight men are turned off by isometrics. This form of exercise is particularly treacherous when performed with a briefly moved HEAVY barbell - the original isometronic concept. If too little weight is used for the initial lift . . . the bar clangs loudly against the top pin creating vigorous reverberations throughout the unfortunate lifter's body. When a correct weight (heavy enough to prevent speed or acceleration) is employed, it's extremely difficult to concentrate on pushing more forcefully into the cold steel of the upper pins.

I know, I know, you're supposed to pretend you are bending or breaking those upper pins - but in your heart you know it's futile. You are, in effect, banging your head against a brick wall. Most such attempted isometrics become merely supports and much of the desired effect (and desired gains) are lost.

I've developed a simple and very effective solution to the 'dead end' upper pin problem. Since its application I've eliminated the boredom and frustration of a sheer isometric, yet receive all its benefits. My mental attitude and progress have skyrocketed.

Simply stated, I place a cylindrical piece of Styrofoam or rubber of about 3.5 inches in diameter and 6 to 8 inches in length around each top pin. I cut mine from old boat bumpers. They're cheap and the center hole fits perfectly around a 5/8 inch rack pin. When the barbell hits these there is still a bit of movement possible as they yield and compress. THE LIFT NEVER REALLY REACHES A DEAD END, and incentive is there to keep pushing (6 seconds or more) to seek the deepest possible penetration into the pads. It's a lot more comfortable to put forth a truly maximum effort at the top due to the gentle give, and the body is 'tricked' into greater and greater exertion! Eventually, of course, the body reaches ITS limit of push, but it's practically impossible to ever completely squash those pads (especially with a sufficiently heavy barbell).

To implement this bumper rack training into, let's say a squat program, I use three positions:

 - at parallel
 - 3 inches above parallel
 - 3 inches below parallel.

I go for one maximum exertion at each position - after a regular, though limited squat session - or at times devote a workout solely to the rack, using a brief but adequate warmup to get to the top weight. I train twice weekly.

I must emphasize the necessity of only using ONE ALL OUT attempt at each position. If you can do more than a single set at each position you aren't putting forth enough physical and/or mental effort, or the weight is too light.

I use as much weight as I can so I can just get up from each of the three imposed bottom positions to the top bumper pads. I add five pounds to each position every workout. After a few weeks of this progression, when the weight starts getting up there, it's amazing how little push you can apply into the bumpers, but it's always a challenge to try to crush them!

After the six-second push at the top, if I'm not completely burned out, I like to lower the bar to one inch above the bottom pins, hold for six seconds, then try for another push back up into the pads. Believe me, this is such intense work that you'll have no need for further reps or sets. When done with concentration, four max efforts are performed in this compound movement (two starts from the bottom, two finishes at the top).

Start easy on this program and gradually build up to heavier and heavier weights. Eventually you'll have days when the five pound increase will prove just a trifle too much and you won't quite be able to make it up the four inches to the bumpers. Don't let this get you down! In fact, feel good about it- you've truly worked a max rep. In this case simply hold at the stuck position for six seconds or so, trying like crazy the whole time to touch the pads. I've found when this has happened to me that not only could I still add five more pounds the following workout, but also would have gained the strength to reach the top with the increased load!

As an indication of how well this routine has worked for me, before its inception I had a top competition squat of 450 at 148. Within months I set four state records, did an official 530, and made PL USA's top ten in that lift!

Now, I achieved the gains honestly (without drugs), am not a 'natural' or fast gainer (though I do tend to specialize on the squat), and do not have good leverage for the movement (other than being short and having a plump rump!). I'm sure a lot of guys who are better blessed physically could make greater and more rapid gains than I - if they give this new rack wrinkle a try.

I've found sticking points are no longer a problem, proper body position for maximum force is learned, and the all-important drive from bottom is increased tremendously.

Want an honest to goodness shortcut to power? All it takes is a rack, a couple of bumper pads, and enough grit and conviction to give it a try!

To summarize the performance:

1) Hard initial lift from dead stop in the bottom position.
2) Maximum push into the top bumper for 6 seconds.
3) Slowly lower to 1 inch above the bottom pins.
4) Hold at 1 inch above the bottom pins for 6 seconds.
5) Push back to top and into bumper pins.

One  max set at parallel, one at 3 inches above parallel, one at 3 inches below parallel. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Sumo Deadlift - Daniel Belcher (2017)

From the July 2017 issue of Strength & Conditioning Journal.


In the sport of powerlifting, the deadlift is one of the 3 skilled lifts tested in competition. It is also commonly used in strength-based sport training as well. It is described by the IPF Technical Rules Book as a full body compound exercise used to lift a barbell from the floor to a standing erect position.

In powerlifting, 2 deadlift variations, the conventional deadlift (CDL) and sumo deadlift (SDL) are used in competition. Of these 2 variations, the SDL is only described vaguely in the literature and often lacks specific detail on its technical execution. Given the increased risk for injury in powerlifting, because of the testing of maximal loads being the very nature of the sport, proper exercise technique, and coaching should be established.

Sumo Deadlift: EliteFTS Roundtable Discussion:

Choosing a Variation

For athletes such as powerlifters, there are a few factors to consider when choosing which deadlift variation to use. Factors such as anthropometrics (body measurements), mobility, muscular activity, and injury history should be assessed to choose which variation is best suited for the athlete to achieve the heaviest lift possible in competition. 

Anthropometrically, it is suggest by Hales that athletes with elongated arms should use the CDL and those with shorter arms would be better suited to use the SDL. Article: Those with average arm lengths are suited to use both variations. Arm segment lengths are defined as short by being less than or long by greater than 38% of total body height. Article:  

The athlete should also consider flexibility and mobility. The SDL requires greater hip mobility than the CDL to properly get into the starting position; therefore, athletes with reduced hip flexibility should  choose the CDL over the SDL.

Muscular activity should also be considered when choosing a deadlift variation for training programs and achieving maximal strength. Both the SDL and CDL generate similar amounts of large hip extensor moments Articles:  However, the SDL recruits greater quadriceps and knee moments than the CDL in addition to the hip extensor moments. Therefore, athletes seeking to limit excessive quadriceps activity should choose the CDL over the SDL.

An athlete's individual injury history also needs to be examined when selecting a deadlift variation. Because of the excessive trunk lean in the CDL increasing vertebral joint load shear, the SDL may be better suited for athletes with previous spine injuries. Articles:  

The deadlift has often been used in post-surgery ACL rehabilitation because of the co-contraction of the quadriceps and hamstrings. Articles:  Because of the greater involvement of the hamstrings over the quadriceps, the CDL may be a better option in the early stages of ACL reconstruction therapy. Articles:

Athletes with restricted hip mobility due to previous injuries should favor the CDL over the SDL because of the need for greater hip flexibility to properly perform SDL.

To summarize, when selecting a deadlift variation, anthropometrics, flexibility, muscular activity, and previous injuries should be taken into consideration for each individual athlete. Athletes with elongated arms, limited hip mobility, training calls for less quadriceps activity, or previous knee or hip injuries should lean toward choosing the CDL. Those with shorter arms, above average hip mobility, a need for greater quadriceps recruitment, or suffer from back pain or previous vertebral injuries should favor the SDL over the CDL for training and competition.

However, powerlifting athletes should feel open to exploring both variations in their out-of-competition training to find which variation works best for them. These advantages and disadvantages are shown below:

Sumo versus Conventional Deadlift Advantages and Disadvantages


Sumo -
Advantages -
shorter range of motion, less total work needed to complete lift, less lumbar load shear, greater quadriceps activity.

Disadvantages -
requires greater hip mobility, more time spent in the acceleration phase.

Conventional -
Advantages -
generally performed at a high velocity, may be more applicable to traditional sports skills.

Disadvantages -
requires greater work to complete the lift, causes greater lumbar load shear.


Sumo -
Advantages -
may be advantageous to athletes with shorter arms.

Disadvantages -
not advantageous to athletes with longer arms.

Conventional -
Advantages -
may be advantageous to athletes with longer arms.

Disadvantages -
not advantageous to athletes with shorter arms.

Injury History:

Sumo -
Advantages - 
may benefit those with lumbar spine injuries.

Disadvantages -
may not suit athletes with hip injuries.

Conventional -
Advantages -
may be better suited for athletes with knee or hip injuries.

Disadvantages -
may not be suited for athletes with lumbar spine injuries.

Benefits of the Sumo Deadlift

The SDL is a compound movement that can promote an athlete's total body strength. Powerlifters have the choice to use the SDL variation in competition. Powerlifters who wish to increase quadriceps development with exercises outside the squat may benefit from using the SDL during out-of-competition training. However, technique specificity should become more of a priority as they approach competition. Article:

Athletes involved in sports that require strong or rapid back, hip, or knee extension would also benefit from this movement. The SDL often requires less work to perform when compared with the CDL because of the shorter range of motion that is created by the reduced bar to lumbar moment arm and the wider stance associated with the SDL. Article:

Exercise Technique

Starting Position - Preparation.

Once the proper barbell setup is positioned on the floor, the athlete should assume a stance with the feet placed outside shoulder width. Actual foot width may vary to some degree based on the athlete's anthropometrics and mobility. The midfoot should be in line with the bar with the feet turned outward at approximately 40 to 45 degrees with the shins in a near vertical position.

The athlete should then actively squat down and grip the bar. The knees should be in line with the second and third toes of the foot. The arms should hang straight down directly between the knees with the hands gripping the bar in a double overhand (hands pronated), alternated (one hand pronated, one hand supinated), or hook grip (hands pronated with fingers over thumb).

Lower Photo: Schtraps
From: How to Deadlift: The Definitive Guide
from the guys at Stronger by Science

 MASS magazine: 

Set into the starting position by shifting the hips back while maintaining an upright trunk position approximately at or less than 45 degrees. The hips should be positioned slightly higher than the knees, and the spine should be arched in slight lordosis opposing lumbar spine flexion. Excessive lordosis or kyphosis should be avoided. The shoulders should be positioned slightly in front of the bar with the scapula in line vertically with the bar. The latissimus dorsi should then be actively engaged while simultaneously externally rotating the femurs, driving the knees outward.

Before initiating the movement, athlete should take a deep breath to "brace" the abdominal wall for lumbar support and isometrically contract the trunk muscles. This can be achieved by drawing air in through a large breath into the diaphragm. If the athlete is breathing correctly, this can be observed by a distended abdomen. The athlete should be able to "fill the belt and hold it" to reinforce that both the abdominals and erectors are braced properly.

Finally, the athlete should be cued to sit back, keep his chest forward and open with the head facing forward all while pulling the "slack" out of the bar. Hyperextension of the spine should be avoided when keeping the chest up. The cue of "proud chest" may help to avoid this. This will put the athlete in the proper starting position with correct spinal column support and hip height position. In addition, the athlete will be placed in a "tight" body position that will allow the bar to move in the most vertical path possible.

Pulling to the Knees

Just before starting the SDL movement, the athlete should isometrically contract the quadriceps, gluteus muscle group, latissimus dorsi, and back extensors. Abdominal tension and bracing should also be maintained.

To initiate the start of the movement, the athlete should simultaneously begin extension of the knees, hips, and back. Cues should focus on "driving the feet into the ground" and "pushing the feet apart." The knees should continue to be driven outward with femoral external rotation to oppose knee valgus and change in vertical shank angles as the bar leaves the floor and approaches the knees. The bar should "drag" along the anterior portion of the shin to minimize the length of the hip-to-bar moment arm.

Pulling From the Knees to Lockout

As the bar reaches knee height, forceful hip extension should occur to drive the hips into the bar by contracting the gluteus muscles. The cue "hips forward" as the bar passes the knees will assist the athlete in performing this at the correct time. The bar should continue to "drag the body" by staying in close contact with the anterior portion of the thigh. Simultaneously, the knees should continue to extend until full extension is reached. The hips should come to full extension either at the same time as knee extension is achieved or slightly after. Once the back, hips, and knees are all fully extended, "lock out" is achieved and the lift is considered completed.

Technique Checklist


Feet are placed outside shoulder width.
Feet are rotated outward at 40-45 degrees.
Bar is gripped with a double overhand, alternated, or hook grip.
Hips are positioned higher than the knees and trunk is at or less than 45 degrees.
Scapulae are in in line with the bar.
Spine is arched in slight lordosis.
Chest is open and "proud."
Head facing forward.
Athlete is properly braced.

Concentric Execution

Simultaneous knee, hip and back extension.
Knees are continually pushed outward.
Spine is kept rigid and opposing flexion.
Hips are rapidly pushed toward the bar as it passes the knees.
Head is kept facing forward.
Bar maintains contact with the body throughout the execution.

Lock Out

Athlete has fully extended his knees, hips, and back.
Head is kept facing forward.
Excessive hyperextension of the back has not occurred.

Eccentric Lowering of the Bar

Athlete continues to grip the bar until it reaches the floor.
Actively squats to lower the bar.
Bar continues to maintain contact with the anterior portion of the body.
Spinal rigidity and slight lumbar lordosis is maintained.
Once the bar reaches the floor the movement is ended.

Common Errors

The athlete may start the movement with the bar too far away from the body. This may result in increased hip-to-bar moment arm length and excessive forward trunk lean. This can often be seen in a "counter movement" during the start of the SDL, where the athlete will begin to lift the bar, slightly lean back forward, then re-extend the spine continuing to execute the movement. This may be corrected by ensuring that the scapulae are in line with the bar.

The athlete may begin the movement with the hips positioned too low or too high. This may result in greater muscular recruitment of the low back and increased stress on the lumbar spine (hips too high). It may also cause decreases strength by increasing activity of the quadriceps and reducing activity of the hamstrings (hips too low). This can also be the result of not executing triple extension of the knees, hips, and back simultaneously.

The athlete may not keep the bar close to or in contact with the body throughout the movement. This can cause increased vertebral load shear by increasing the hip-to-bar moment arm length.

The athlete's grip can fail because of fatigue or lack of grip strength. This will result in an incomplete lift and can be possibly dangerous. This can be avoided by reducing the weight until the athlete has the proper grip strength to handle higher loads or by using lifting straps or schtraps.

The athlete's knees can "collapse" in knee valgus causing decreased vertical shank angles. This decrease in shank angle during the execution of the movement can cause the knees to "get in the way" of the bar, reducing velocity and resulting in incorrect SDL technique. This can be avoided by keeping the knees pushed outward and by additional strengthening of the gluteus medius.

The athlete may lose spinal position and rigidity at some point during the SDL movement. This can put the athlete in compromising positions and result in injury. Strengthening of the spinal extensors and the latissimus dorsi may help to oppose this error. A reduction in weight may be necessary until the athlete obtains the proper strength needed to perform the lift correctly and safely.    

The athlete may hyperextend his neck at the onset of the SDL when pulling the weight off the floor. This can cause a loss of tension in the erector spinae and lead to neck pain or injury. This may be corrected by cuing the athlete to keep their chest open and "proud" and by ensuring they keep their head and eyes facing directly forward.

Common Errors in the Sumo Deadlift

Counter-movement of the trunk at the start of the lift:
Cause - Bar is positioned too far away from the body.
Correction - Ensure scapula are in line with the bar before execution.

Hips incorrectly position at the start of the lift:
Cause - Hips positioned either too high or too low during the setup.
Correction - Ensure that the hips are above the knees and the trunk is at or less than 45 degrees.

Bar is not kept in contact with the anterior portion of the body:
Cause - Starting bar position is too far away from the athlete; athlete is leaning forward during execution.
Correction - Position bar over the midfoot close to the athlete's shins; ensure knee, hip, and back extension occur simultaneously; cue athlete to "sit back on heels" during execution.

Athlete drops the bar during execution:
Cause - Improper grip; weak grip; use of a load greater than the athlete's ability.
Correction - Consider using an alternating or hook grip; use lifting straps; strengthen grip; reduce load.

Knees (coming in) collapsing in valgus into the bar:
Cause - Athlete is not keeping knees pushed outward; weak hip abductors.
Correction - Cue athlete to "push knees out" during execution; perform additional hip abduction exercises to increase strength.

Loss of spinal rigidity:
Cause - Weak spinal extensors and support; use of a load greater than the athlete's ability.
Correction - Perform additional spine extensor and latissimus dorsi exercises; reduce load.

Hyperextension of the neck:
Cause - Improper cuing or starting position; athlete is looking upward.
Correction - Ensure that the athlete's chest is open and in a "proud" position; ensure the athlete's head is facing directly forward.

Failures when performing the SDL that occur off the floor are the most common and often due ti either a lack of strength or by positioning the hips too low. This can be addressed by ensuring that the hips are positioned at the right height. Additional exercises such as deficit deadlifts may assist the athlete with increasing off-the-floor strength.

Deficit deadlifts are performed by having the athlete stand on an elevated platform or blocks with the weight still placed on the floor. This will increase the total range of motion of the SDL by increasing the length the bar has to travel before lockout.

Failures that occur as the bar passes the knees and through lockout are less common but may still occur. Failures at this point are often due to a lack of hip extensor strength. This may be addressed through additional direct gluteal training or through exercises such as "pin pull deadlifts" or "block pull deadlifts" where the athlete trains the upper portion of the SDL by deadlifting the bar from a heightened position.

Practical Applications

The SDL can be used in year round training cycles with the repetitions and intensities determined by the needs of the athlete and the mesocycyle goals. The SDL may also be used interchangeably with the CDL depending on the specific muscular needs of the athlete's training program. Powerlifters, specifically, should begin to train with the deadlift variation they plan to use in competition in the weeks before competing.

The SDL may have merit in a rehabilitation program for patients suffering from low back pain (LBP). Although the CDL has been used to decrease pain and increase functionality in those who suffer from LBP, Escamilla Article:  reported similar back extensor and trunk-muscle activity between the SDL and CDL. It is possible that the SDL may produce similar results in regard to LBP as the CDL. In addition, the SDL may be a safer option to the CDL for those suffering from LBP, because of the reduction in L4/L5 lumbar shear load as reported by Cholewicki Article:  This is likely the result of the more vertical trunk position of the SDL.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Improved Pressing Power - Suggestions From John Davis

From This Issue (February 1967)

This Article Courtesy of Liam Tweed

 - John Davis was one of the greatest lifters ever produced by America and probably ruled the world heavyweight class longer  than any other man, having won the world title at least seven times and the heavyweight title 12 or 14 times, starting his record making career in 1938 and continuing until 1950 when he was injured while lifting and then retired. 

He was one of the early lifters to make a 1,000 lb. total and made a top total of 1063.25 - perhaps not so high by today's standards, but the greatest in those days. He usually weighed about 210 to 240 and was not a big man by present day heavyweights. 

The comments by Davis on increasing pressing power ought to therefore be worth considerable consideration. Even though this article was originally written some years ago, the way to greater power has not changed. 

You may find some of his recommendations vary from what you will hear others advise. However, remember, this man became a world champion at 17 and was champion as long or longer than any other heavyweight. (Some of his titles were as a light-heavyweight.) We present the following comments of Davis, courtesy of The Australian Weightlifter . . . 

Being a world champion is, of course, a pleasant experience, but it has its difficult moments, aside from close shaves in competition. What I'm getting at is this: Scores of fellows just starting out in the game (and many of those who have been active for a number of years) ask the same question - 

"Davis, how do you train?" 

I HAVE ALWAYS FELT THAT YOU MUST USE EXTREMELY HEAVY POUNDAGES TO MAKE SATISFACTORY GAINS, and that you cannot concern yourself with what kind of form you use in training. 

To deal first of all with the Press. This is the lift that seems to give most of the lifters trouble. Provided you possess all of the natural attributes: leverage, proper mental attitude, etc., there is no reason why you shouldn't make favorable progress. 

Possibly the only factor about my own training method that would not be suitable for many lifters is the following: 

I train on each lift for a week; i.e., I train four days a week and I spend the four days training on the Press. The second week I work on the Snatch, and the third week on the Clean. Sometimes I double up, working on two lifts for a week. In addition to the lifting movements I include a power building exercise such as the squat. 

I perform a minimum of 64 presses a week, and in some instances as many as 80. I do them in sets of 2 reps, 8 sets of 2 in each workout, four workouts a week. When doing 80 reps a week I do 10 sets of 2 in each workout. 

Depending on what kind of condition I'm in at the beginning of a training schedule of about 10 weeks, I make up my mind from the very beginning that I will not go below this poundage for any reason whatsoever. I will do no less than 8 series (sets) of presses, regardless of how sloppy my form may become. 

Here I must caution everyone on an extremely important point. As in singing, you must exercise terrific control in lifting. You must control bad lifting to the point where it no longer can run away with you. If you do incorrect presses in training, you must control them so that you won't do them in a contest. 

Some may not agree with me on this point, but these are my opinions and this is the way I reached a lift in excess of 300 pounds. At some of my training sessions in England and Europe I dragged my head all over the platform trying to press 292 or 303.

These were presses that would not be passed in the most lenient of contests, but come contest time I could control that backbending to such a degree that I could almost always register three white lights from the judges.

To get back to the pressing itself. The principal idea of weightlifting is to build bigger and stronger men. This will not be accomplished if, on every training night you constantly drop back in your training poundages and repetitions. I'm referring, specifically, to the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 system whereby you reduce the number of repetitions employed. Also the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 system in which you reduce the poundage employed. These systems are contrary to basic principles and will not build sustaining power in the pressing muscles. In other words, they do not build "fight and guts" - that something so necessary to get heavy weights through the sticking area without losing control. This has been my system for over a decade. 

The essence of my idea is that if you continually go forward in training, it follows naturally that you will go ahead in a contest. I try to advance my training poundages every second by 2.5 to 10 lbs. If I don't feel that I can advance after this time I am not ashamed to work with the same poundage for another workout or until I can advance. The Press is one lift you cannot force. You just have to wait and take it as it comes.

What to do after having gotten the most out of this system seems to leave most lifters in a dither. Either they lack imagination or they don't sit down and think the problem out rationally. Although I've never known this system by any name, I suppose one might call it the "Set System" - a set number of repetitions and a set training poundage.

In the beginning of my lifting exploits (when 220 was my best Press), I used 175 as a training weight. I would do 10 sets of 5 reps. Eventually my muscles failed to respond to this particular training. Of course I had to find some other system.

By this time I was becoming known and had become an active member of the second team of the world famous York Barbell Club. I noticed that men such as Terlazzo, Terpak, and others, employed basically the same system as I did, except that they did fewer repetitions than I. Bob Hoffman recognized my difficulty and suggested that I try Tony's and John's (Terlazzo and Terpak) system of training on the Press. I cut my repetitions down to 3 and continued to do 10 sets, using 210 lbs. My Press responded immediately. 

When I first went to York, my Press stood at 250 lbs. At this time I had been chosen to represent the USA at the 1938 World Championships to be held in Austria. In the summer of 1939, exactly two years and seven months since I began lifting, and during a workout, weighing 183 lbs., I pressed 295 lbs. I used the above described system until I was able to Press 290.

At this time I ran into another snag and couldn't get ahead in my Press. This time I used my own imagination and starting using sets of 2 reps (10 sets) and sometimes using sets of 3 reps. I started using 200 lbs. and advanced this poundage whenever possible. I would always take a substantial poundage and make 10 single attempts (incidentally, I still do this). At that time, in June of 1941, I made 10 single attempts with 310 lbs. I was soon to find that I could make a fair Press with 320 lbs. I say "fair" because I had to press this weight twice at the 1941 Senior Nationals and although the judges passed it, it was not a perfect Press. I was lucky that day. By the way, I have lifted in front of the most critical judges in the world and if I ever got away with anything (and I certainly have) the blame lies with the officials, not with me.

 I lifting in competition the following year and once again in 1943 with my Press falling off considerably. I then spent nearly four years in the Armed Forces, with little or no training at all. In 1946 I again started using the "set system" of pressing with fair results, but I didn't come along as expected, especially with the increased bodyweight to 240 lbs. (pre-war bodyweight 196-200 lbs.) I could only Press 290 with great difficulty (it would never have been passed).

So once again I changed my training system. I started using 290 lbs. in 10 sets of 2 reps and went directly ahead until I could Press 325 lbs. Here again my progress stalled. I changed my routine to 8 sets of 2 reps, using 280 lbs. which has worked better than any previous method I have ever used.

Late in 1947, at an exhibition, I pressed 340 lbs. and was able to duplicate it with 342 lbs. at the Terlazzo Invitation Meet in 1948.

I have experimented with other systems and have found them to be excellent, but I do not care to use them at this time. I am, more or less, saving them for a rainy day, so to speak.

There is no secret to training on the Press - or any other lift, for that matter. It merely requires a little patience a little imagination, and a good deal of sweat (above all else) with as heavy a weight as you can handle.

There are lifters who claim that all kinds of pressing - supine pressing, alternate pressing, handstand pressing, etc., will build up your pressing ability. I don't believe this. I feel that the energy expended in dumbbell pressing and so on could have been put to much better use in regular presses.

To break the monotony the best alternate movement I can think of is the press while seated. This exercise builds tremendous power at the sticking point and plenty of finishing drive. It also helps to improve the form in regular pressing because there is very little cheating you can do while seated.

Never think that you can Press 200 pounds on your first attempt, but be as sure of it as you are that there is a sky over your head. Because if you miss out on that first Press, chances are that you have missed out on first place in the contest.


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Charles A. Smith [1912-1991] - Joe Roark

Check into Joe Roark's Iron History Forum! 
Megatons of Information Over There.
Note: Your Real Name will be required for registration. 

Thanks to Joe Roark for authoring this article. What follows is a condensed version of what Joe published in his Musclesearch newsletter, issues 25 and 26.

To Stuart McRobert for publishing it 
To Bob Wildes for providing access to it.

Charles A. Smith, 1912-1991
by Joe Roark

"Allow me to introduce myself," his letter began June 14, 1985. "My name is Charles A. Smith and from 1950 to 1958 I was editor of Joe Weider's group of magazines." 

Thus began a relationship between Charles and this author that has been sprinkled with a visit to Austin, Texas, where I was Charles' house guest for a week, hundreds of pages of letters between us and many phone conversations.

And, a friendship.

Charles wasn't perfect. He could be crusty, determined, insistent and stubborn. He lived the final stage of his life in Austin, alone. His wife, Harriet, passed way Christmas Day 1959. His two daughters live in Texas. 

For some time Charles was a research associate at the University of Texas at Austin. He worked with Professor Terry Todd and the School of Physical Education and Health on materials in the Todd-McLean Collection.

Charles worked on all of Joe Weider's magazines except Adonis and Body Beautiful. If you have access to the fifties era of Joe Weider's magazines, buy them, read them. You will conclude that Charles' stint with those publications was indeed a developing period for the business now based in California. 

On current fans' ignorance of history, Charles wrote, "As an example of how little this modern bunch knows of and about the people to whom they are indebted, let me quote you what happened the other day. One of a bunch of students was up in the Collection searching for term papers. One of them held an eight by ten glossy and asked me who it was. I replied it was John Grimek. Oh, she said, just another one of those bodybuilders. Words failed me. I seriously thought of going out and becoming a hatchet murderer. The tragedy of it is that in their ignorance of the past, these kids are robbing their future." 

On his own lifting he had this to say: "I was better at repetitive lifts. That is, my reps were always more notable than my limits. This is perhaps a reflection of my swimming days when I was a middle and distance swimmer. Frinstance (sic) I could easily do 12 reps in the hang clean with 220. By my best ever clean - and I never practiced it much - was only 250. Yet I could squat 30 reps with 300. So there's nothing remarkable about what I've done. By the way, Joe Weider was present when I did the 390 bench press and the one-hand deadlift of 420. The latter was in a contest with Marvin Eder who dropped out at 410. A cambered bar was used, the same bar that Bruce Randall did his good morning exercises on.

"When I did my 500 pound squat, I went all the way down, a la Steinborn. In the old days you not only had to go all the way down but also stay there for a count of 2 before recovering. Right the way down.

"I taught Doug Hepburn how to lift - his style was poor. One might say that through him I indirectly trained Paul Anderson. After Doug had beaten Anderson - and the only man to do so - Doug and Paul corresponded quite a bit. What I asked Doug to do in his training he wrote and told Paul. I understand (although in all fairness I must say I don't know for certain) that Anderson followed the exercise and training I had laid out for Doug. But who knows or cares now?" 

When discovering Musclesearch was to carry a story on him, he wrote, "As for writing my history in one of your reports, this I don't object to. But I don't want it to be laudatory or have verbal laurels heaped my way. Just a plain statement of what I've done.

Now try to imagine my position: simply state what he has done, but make it sound commonplace. Okay. Charles Arthur Smith did nothing for our sport but inject it with essence, and write about the people and event of the fifties in ways that gave a pulse to the heart of the matter. When others sought self-praise and fame, Charles was content to be a journalist. While others these days don't hesitate to accept accolades and titles such as "ultimate" journalist, Charles simple smiled and was amazed at some of the current situations in the Iron Game. Frankly, it angered Charles that men of small talent are gathering large praise.

Is it true that squat machines came into gyms originally because gym-rats were so busy patting themselves on the back for their achievements that they had no free hands to grasp the barbell? 

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power
And all that beauty, and that wealth ere gave
Await alike the inevitable hour
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

Please notice that those who praise themselves are sometimes unworthy of such adulation. But often, writers who have earned our respect (in the muscle field) may go unhonored in formal ceremonies.

Charles A. Smith deserves your attention, your remembrances of his contributions to the literature of our sport, and frankly, your respect.

Sat in Austin, Texas, was a man who enlivened our sport for eight years in the fifties, and who maintained a memory razor sharp. Though he thought his memory was slipping slightly at nearly 80 years of age, I would have traded him anytime for his ability to recall data.

When I visited him in Austin, I took with me a list of hundreds of names I wanted to toss at him for his off-the-cuff thoughts. He would immediately relate stories, filled with dates and with specific lifts that he had seen or participated in. It was computer-like. We were soon through the list and Charles, with his British-determined-countenance, frowned at me and said, "I thought you were going to ask me some questions." I felt ill-prepared. I felt like the collar on a barbell - knowing I was inadequate if all this mass I was trying to control turned out of level.

Perhaps more important than his ability to recall, is his base of knowledge upon which he can discern the worth of new trends, compare those trends with past ones and note that there really is nothing new under the sun. At least nothing of worth. I think part of the frustration Charles felt while evaluating the present situation in our sport is the lack of control he once had. He guided an era when our sport was emerging into the mainstream. Now we are regressing to a tributary due to drug abuse and supplements of no value except interesting names. Truth has a tendency to get in the way of progress. 

There are many side-doors of knowledge and hints to facts that I probably never would have been made aware of had it not been for the kindness and sharing of Chas. I consider Charles the major key to avenues of study that I've undertaken. Thank you.

My association with Charles has been one of the more rewarding in this field. I have a pride in having known Charles, who should be in the Hall of Fame as a contributor. Remember, the reward of a thing well done . . . is to have done it. You did it, Charles. You did it. 

 - Here are some training-related articles by Charles A. Smith, nowadays not the easiest to obtain. These do little more than scratch the surface of his huge output. I would like to thank all those noted who stepped up and helped in making some of them available. Honestly, I'd love to have ALL of Smith's lifting articles available, but lately that Demon Money don't wanna let me do it. 

Enjoy your lifting!


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