Sunday, February 25, 2018

Power & Bulk Training For You - Doug Hepburn/Ray Beck (1957)

Taken From This Issue (November 1957)
Courtesy of Liam Tweed

How the Champions Do It
by Ray Beck (1957) 

 - In this article, Ray Beck, one of the instructors and managers of Hepburn's Gym, tells how Doug applies his methods for giving sensational gains in size and power to pupils at the gym. 

Power training. Mention these two words around Doug Hepburn's Gym and watch what happens. Eyes will brighten and voices will be heard eulogizing the "miracle of power training."

You don't have to push power training on the boys at Hepburn's. Most of 'em have used it. And they are, to put it mildly, convinced of its merits in respect to weight gains and strength gains. Take Rudy, for example. Rudy Richer came to Doug's Gym weighing 160 pounds. He said he had done a bit of training "about a year ago," and now he wanted to train more seriously for strength and bodyweight gains. He said he didn't care how pretty his muscles looked. He just wanted to get big and strong FAST. 

It was fairly evident after a month's training that this guy was a natural. Already he could bench press 200 and squat with 250. So Hepburn took him off the standard beginner's course and put him on a Power Training course. What happened? 

In two more months' time Rudy weighed 185, could squat with 440 and bench press 350. 

Good bodyweight and strength gains were recorded by almost everyone who used the power training system. The only exceptions were a few beginners who, against our advice, went straight into power training. They soon complained of sore muscles and went back to the standard beginner's course. Three months of hard basic training is the prerequisite for power training. The muscles, respiratory system and the metabolism should be ready by then. A longer period of conditioning may be required by some individuals. 

A definition of power training might go like this: 

Power Training a weight training system that incorporates heavy weights, a minimum number of exercises and repetitions, and a maximum number of sets. 

Its purpose is: 

Firstly, to develop physical strength in the major muscle groups, and 
Secondly, when desired, to increase the bodyweight of the trainee. 

Now, other systems of barbell training do these two things BUT NONE CAN DO THEM SO FAST.
This, of course, is my opinion, and it is shared by most of the lifters at Hepburn's Gym.

The history of power training is open to controversy. However, it can be generally agreed that for a long time power training was the property of Olympic weightlifters and strongmen. But, to my mind, it was Doug Hepburn who first showed us how power training could be best used for strength development and bodybuilding. He put his ideas down in a booklet called HOW TO DEVELOP STRENGTH AND BULK.   

Here, some examples of Doug's booklets: 

The people who used the course outlined in the booklet reported fantastic results. Here is one such letter: 

Dear Doug,

For the past two months I've been following your course . . . I am training at Merv Miller's Gym in Calgary. In two months I have gained 20 pounds bodyweight . . . did a 500 pound deadlift and a 400 pound squat . . . increased my bench press from 150 to 250 in that time. 

Ed Thomas.

Now, these are fantastic results, and I wish to make a statement that you may find hard to believe. Of all the cases known to me of individuals who followed such a power training course, only three trainees reported less than a 10 pound bodyweight gain in the first month. We will now pause five minutes for scoffing, sneering, and laughing. 

Finished, doubters? 

Okay then, let's get down to the instructional meat of this article.

First of all, let's examine the important essentials of a power training course designed for quick strength and bodyweight gains. A good power training course should satisfy these four points:

1) A minimum number of exercises are performed during a workout day. Usually not more than three. These should be strength developing movements that exercise the large muscle groups of the legs, back, and chest. 

2) Repetitions are kept to a minimum, averaging out to 3 reps a set.

3) A maximum number of sets are performed on each exercise, usually from 8 to 10 sets. 

4) The amount of food and also the amount of rest the trainee gets is PROGRESSIVELY INCREASED little by little each day during the duration of the power training course. 

Now, you may ask, why such low reps? 

Aside from the fact we know they work, consider these points. You must utilize heavy weights in your training in order to develop larger, quality muscle size. Power training lets you use heavy weights sooner than any other system of training. We know that once a trainee breaks through the "barbell barrier," you might say, and begins exercising with heavy weights, his whole system seems to awaken and respond. 

Trainees at Hepburn's Gym found that power training shook up their whole physical self. Day by day they felt more strength come into their muscles. They found that, even when doing the bench press, their whole upper body was exercised as never before. During the first few weeks of power training their exercise poundages went up at an amazing rate.

Another significant factor explaining why low reps do the trick was brought out in the May '57 issue of Iron Man in an article by Ray Beardsley. He states that only by using heavy weights are all the fibers of a muscle called into action. The number of fibers activated is dependent on the resistance of the weight and also the mental concentration of the trainee.

Here's that article: 

And now, here is the Basic Power Training Course we use at Hepburn's Gym. 

Squat, 8-10 sets of 3-5 reps.

High Pullups, 8-10 x 3-5 reps.
Same starting position as a deadlift . . . overhand grip, take a deep breath, pull weight up . . . as in a deadlift but pull higher . . . up to the region of the pectoral muscles, throwing the head and shoulders back . . . lower the bar and exhale. Pull the weight up quickly but lower it as slowly as possible, fighting the bar down. Do not turn the hands over as in the clean to shoulders. 


Cycle begins again with the Squats. 

The repetitions and poundages used should go something like this. First of all, warm up with a light weight for 10 reps, then take a weight you can move easily for 3 or 4 reps. The second set should see you using at least 10 pounds more, and in the third or fourth set you use your maximum poundage for 3 reps. Decrease the weight 5 pounds and complete the remaining 4 to 6 sets (depending on how you feel). Sometimes you will only make 2 reps in the last one or two sets but that's acceptable. When you can do 5 reps in all the last sets increase the weight by five pounds. This doesn't apply to the first two sets. 

Rest 5 minutes between sets, and rest at least 20 minutes between exercises. 

Drink a quart of milk (or more) during the workout. Use one, or better still, two spotters. This will remove fear of being stuck with the weight. Get your spotters to yell verbal support when you're pushing out the last rep . . . it is better to under-strain than over-strain. 

Your workouts should never make you feel nervous or exhausted. You should be able to relax completely one hour after the training session . . . become conscious of the fact that you are on a weight gaining/strength building program. In that I mean you should, whenever possible, live in a manner advantageous to bodyweight/strength gains. This means extra rest and relaxation, extra food, and a good mental attitude.

Extra attention to your diet program is very important here. And here I refer you to "The Amazing Story of Bruce Randall" in the May 1957 issue of Iron Man. 


This truly amazing story shows what progressive increase in food intake, along with appropriate exercise, can do. Each day Randall would eat a small portion more of each class of food. He drank prodigious amounts of milk. With certain modifications you can adopt this method of increasing your food intake. Just remember -- your diet must be a balanced one.     

All lifters should familiarize themselves with the fundamentals of proper nutrition. A short perusal through library books on diet can be educational and very useful to you. 

Here, then, are the important rules to remember in your diet while on a Power Training course of action:

1) Daily progressive increase in food intake. 

2) Food supplements such as healthy oils, vitamin/mineral supplements and first class protein supplements. 

3) A balanced diet containing meat, various kinds of potatoes, whole wheat products, cooked and raw vegetables, fresh fruit, milk, eggs and other dairy products. 

4) Gradually work up to drinking three or more quarts of milk per day.

5) Endeavor to eat five or six meals per day instead of the customary three. 

Rest and relaxation are where most bodybuilders fall down. Try this power training course on for three months, and during that time be as lazy as possible outside of the gym. Become really active physically only during workouts for the three months. But don't be a boob about it and wind up losing your job, family, friends, place to live and other sundry non-training parts of your life. "Strongest Lonely Man Without A Home" is not a championship title you really want to win. 

Some final words for those who want to make up their own power training routines. Remember that the exercises used in power training are those which work the large muscle groups. The most popular are: 

Bench Press
High Pullup
Heavy Clean
Cheat Rowing Motion

Some trainees have also used barbell curls and standing presses for their deltoids and arms. However, adding these two exercises isn't conducive to best bodyweight gains. 

Other suggested routines [check those links to Hepburn booklets above] could be: 

Squat and Bench Press
Squat and Heavy Clean
Deadlift and Jerk Press (or Push Press)
Squat, Jerk Press and Cheat Barbell Row
Clean & Press and Squat
Deadlift and Bench Press

You can see there are many ways to construct basic power training routines. 



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