Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Mysterious Hise Shrug, Part One - Fred R. Howell (1986)

Joseph Curtis Hise

More on the Hise Shrug Here: 

These Three Will Give You a Nice Sample of Hise's Writing.
From Roger Eells' "Vim" Magazine (1940-1941): 

The Author, Fred R. Howell

Article Courtesy of LIAM TWEED

It was mentioned briefly in a few issues of Iron Man back in 1948 and 1949. 
  - Note: these articles might be useful -
The Iron Man magazine: 
Vol 8, No 2 - "Cartilage Mass Theory of Growth" - Joseph Curtis Hise
Vol 8, No 3 - "Cartilage Mass Theory of Development" - Joseph Curtis Hise  

Later it was borrowed by a leading barbell company and put in their bulk gaining bulletin. Harry 'Bosco' Paschall thought enough of it as a power builder to include 'the exercise' in his book "Development of Strength."   

Yet, in the past few years it has faded out of sight, a hidden gem put far on the back shelf again. 

THE HISE SHRUG, which doesn't even seem like an exercise at all has the magic to turn a hard gainer into a barbell success and the power to put muscle and measurements onto a broomstick.

Before we go on and tell you what it has done for others who had given up ever gaining muscle or bodyweight, it might be a good idea to explain just what this mysterious exercise is and how it is done. In order to do 'the exercise' you need a solid, safe power rack capable of supporting plenty of weight. The height should be at a point where you only have to lift the bar up an inch to be fully off the racks. Standing firm and tall, lean very slightly forward so your toes grip the floor. As you breathe in, shrug your shoulders up by the power of the trapezius and then exhale as you relax. The barbell will travel from a 1/2 inch to an inch or more according to the amount of weight on the bar. 

But before we go into the mechanics and technicalities of the shrug let us first journey to Independence, Missouri and visit with one of the original guinea pigs of the Hise Shrug, Dr. George W. Kelling, D.C. 

Note - A quote from Jim Douglass: "I was always sort of a guinea pig for his (J.C. Hise's) ideas, and as Dr. G. W. Kelling once said, 'People may think he is crazy, but when he is right, he is so right.'”

Doc had been using weights for over two years and had gained a grand total of three pounds! Doc, at the time was a musician and had irregular sleeping hours. Plus, as Doc said, "Worry was my hobby!" 

He became acquainted with Joe Hise thru the pages of Iron Man and Joe soon had him doing the shrug. At a height of 6 feet and weighing about 155 pounds, Doc was an ideal candidate for shrug experimentation. 

Note - Hise, as was true of Roger Eels, had a tendency to use the harder gainers as his guinea pigs. He knew what applying his ideas had accomplished on his own body and was interested is helping those who were not 'ideal' candidates for gaining strength and bulk. In his articles and in developing his methods, the genetic superiors were not the object of determining success or failure of his new developments. We should remember, looking back from our time in history, that his ideas were new, individual, and were not simply plagiarized versions of what came before him. A close reading of even just those three articles from "Vim" will give you some indication of his 'standalone' thinking, and a look at how he incorporated more than just the lifting of weights in his published writings. It is so, so very easy for us today to take for granted the mountain of training knowledge that's available to us. This was not the case in Hise's day.

At first because he just didn't know how much it was possible for anyone to use in the shrug, Doc Kelling took it easy and used 135 pounds working up to 150. In all fairness to Doc, little was known about how much to use on the bar, and it was such a strange exercise there was nothing in print about it.

Hise learned of the poundage in a letter from George (Kelling) and had a fit! He wrote back to George saying he should be using at least 300 pounds for 20 reps. Hise went on to say, "This exercise can be a real exercise if you use the proper weight and that means as much as you're capable of handling at the moment."

As Doc explained, "My best gains were from using 400 pounds and working up to 650. I did one set of 25 reps with 400 pounds. Then one set of 25 to 27 with 450, 25 to 27 with 500, 25 with 550 to 575, and a final set with 600 to 650 for 25 reps.

Later, when his strength increased, Doc started with 500 pounds, then 600, 700, 800 pounds for reps and finally worked up to doing 10 reps with 905 and 5 with 950. As Doc said, "The extra heavy weight was mostly an ego thing to prove that a 6 foot tall, 174 pound skinny guy could at least in one exercise lift a heavy weight like the big boys! If I could stand up with it, I could shrug it! This used to drive the heavyweights crazy for they just couldn't understand where I hid all that power!"

His reward for all that hard work with the Hise Shrug was a 22 pound gain in bodyweight, 3.75 inches on his chest, a thigh gain of 1.5 inches and a .5 inch gain on his calf in just nine weeks. Doc worked out twice a week. Besides the Hise Shrug, he did breathing pullovers for 20 reps; slide lift deadlifts, 4 x 20 off a knee high bench using 80 to 120 pounds; 3 x 10 with 80 pounds in the upright rowing; the reverse curl using 90 pounds for 3 x 10 and a neck exercise for 3 x 20.  

Now a chiropractor with a full time practice and a health studio, Dr. Kelling has had some remarkable results using the Hise Shrug in his work. As he explained, "One case I will never forget was a baseball and football player 15 years of age. He was about 6'4" tall and weighed 210 pounds. He was a very good athlete but he had no stamina. He could play about half a game and then would run out of steam. Along with very low energy he had asthma to add to his troubles.

"We really had a problem with him and he wasn't too thrilled with exercise. He thought he got plenty of exercise playing the two sports and didn't need more burning up his low energy. The one break we had was that he wanted to play a full game so bad he was willing to try anything!

"So we started him doing 4 sets of Hise Shrugs, and pullovers for 4 sets of 20 reps. He worked up to using 350 to 400 for 20 reps and his asthma became low key, then said goodbye. To our joy and his surprise, he could now play the entire game of baseball and football with energy to spare. In just two summers, four months each, his vertical jump went from 17" to 27.5" via trunk extensions.

"Then I will long remember a young lad 15 years old that was 6'3" tall, weighed 140 pounds, and was an extreme introvert. Before he came to us he wanted to quit high school. He jut would not socialize and had a bad inferiority complex.

"The school principal and coach sent him to me. I started him on the Magic Circle shrugs with an empty circle. I guess the one we use tips the scale at about 85 pounds. I had him do 4 sets of 20 reps. 

 Photo From this article by Carl Miller on using the Magic Circle for Olympic Lift Training:

"In three months he was using 300 pounds for 4 sets of 20 reps and in six months had progressed to using 400, doing 4 x 20. This type of work helped the glands normalize themselves and by the time he had reached 400 pounds, the young man had a different personality.

"Today he is a high school teacher and has an outgoing personality. He coaches the debating team plus the girls' softball team and is married to a great person.

"This is one of my greatest shoulder shrug successes. How much did he gain in pounds and inches? I don't know and couldn't care less. It wasn't important. His life changed and he enjoyed high school. He never cared to become a bodybuilder or get into the barbell game in any way, but just wanted to be a normal kid!

- Note - And isn't this interesting, this view of lifting as yet another way of helping others do more important things, the view that lifting is a useful tool, something of an 'accessory' and a supplemental action adding to our lives. We have traveled so far from this perception of what we do with the bar. The belief that a certain level of strength or a specific body size, type, and quality will in itself have great impact on our lives. And it's sold to us everywhere, we who don't quite yet see what it is that truly draws others to us, that quality beyond, inside, that doesn't necessarily come with the gaining of muscles and might. Interesting, isn't it. From what little I have been able to learn about J.C. Hise I see a man who, yes, enjoyed building himself up physically (as well as intellectually), enjoyed it immensely. But I also perceive a person who knew that, just that building up, that alone, was not the answer to a well lived life of fulfillment. Hence, his strong desire to share what he learned, and the need to see others change themselves in and out with what little he could offer in that regard. There are still many people in the lifting game (or is it called a business now) who reflect these very same qualities, and I recommend that you seek them out, harvest what they have to offer, see the wheat and scrap the chaff.

Part Two will continue from here.

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