Monday, October 29, 2018

Bruce Wilhelm Profile/Interview (Complete) - Herb Glossbrenner

Bruce Wilhelm was unleashed on the world on July 13, 1945 in Watsonville, CA. Coincidentally, three days later in the white sands 50 miles NW of Alamogordo, a city in Southern New Mexico - the first atomic bomb was detonated. Was it a belated announcement of the Iron Game's most outspoken strongman? Watsonville, a quiet community in Northern California registered her protest 45 years later. It was the epicenter of the devastating Loma Prieta earthquake. 

Bruce's unquenchable thirst to acquire great athletic strength became, through the years, a sounding board for his exuberant, extroverted personality. Some found his brash manner offensive. In the Iron World of patronizing politicians and wishy-washy wimps, I find his "tell it like it is" attitude a breath of fresh air.

It was March 1985 when fate intervened. It was after Bruce had retired from the combat arena, leafing his indelible mark in the annals of strengthdom. He was in Hawaii commiserating his terminated marriage. Cupid harpooned the great white whale - it was love at first sight. A poolside beauty grabbed his attention. Bruce, never known to be shy with the ladies, got her attention immediately. Moby Dick flopped down on the concrete beside her. His persuasiveness paid off. Yumi soon became his lovely Japanese wife. She is now 31 and Bruce is 49 (1993). Beauty soothes the savage beast. They are the proud parents today of two children; Jennifer (6) and Brian (8). Family life has mellowed the strongman and changed his perspective on life. 

As a competitive athlete he was the center of his own world. Now he revolves around his family. Every great athlete can become a legend in his own mind if not his own time. After all the years of shelling oysters, Bruce finally found his prize pearl. Bruce, who once kept company with crude dudes, distanced himself from former associates. The Japanese culture refined Bruce. "I'm not the easiest person to live with. Her tolerance made me want to change," Bruce confided. "I find myself never cussing around the house. I respect my family too much." These days his co-existence with others is much more bearable.

He proudly tells that both his kids, at age 5, could do 5 complete pullups (something the average red-blooded 14 year old American boy can't do. Both like soccer. He does not encourage them to take up the weights. Pictures of his own lifting days grace the living room in full view. Both have watched his World's Strongest Man video tapes numerous times. They have found it outrageously funny. "Just in case they might be so inclined," Bruce explained, "they can be anything they want in life with my blessings, as long as it's not a (expletive)."

Bruce thrived on athletic achievement. His older brother Bob and younger Steve made it a family affair. In Jr. High he grappled, swam and threw the shot, and punched a few mugs. In 1959, at age 15, he got his first barbell. He quickly outgrew his beginner's set and got into it heavy duty. He stood a shade over 6' and weighed 180 when he started. By his senior year he reached his full height - 6'3" - and filled out to 240. He did it all: water polo, shot, discus and wrestling. He was All American in both athletics and wrestling. 

When just a freshman he threw the shot further like a baseball than via the conventional style. This style hurt his elbow. In his senior year, after learning proper technique, he sailed the 12-lb. ball 65'8". Bruce saw his idols, O'Brien and Long, throw in the '60 Olympic trials and later on witnessed Gubner and Long at the '62 US/USSR Dual Meet in California.

So, it was no surprise that Bruce picked Stanford as his collegiate choice among numerous scholastic offers. He won the PAC Hwt. wrestling title there, going undefeated. An elephant never forgets. Bruce recognized an opponent as one who'd beaten him in high school. The guy was then pinned in a whirlwind 16 seconds - a school record. He later transferred to OSU to concentrate on wrestling. He was national runner-up in Greco Roman grappling and 3rd in the Nationals - freestyle. He made the World Team, but untimely injuries kept him out of the spotlight (torn knee cartilage, sprained ankle and separated shoulder). 

So, back to the shotput. Bruce, always a southpaw, chucked the 16-lb. iron ball 66' 1/4", at the time a left-handed World Record. His best ever throw was 68' 9" in an impromptu competition. He bettered that by 1/4" in practice and threw the hammer (only two turns) 179 feet. He also spun the discus an impressive 205' 9". By 1970 his bodyweight climbed to 275 and he'd taken up weightlifting. Wilhelm also tried a few power meets and won, but never trained on them. 

Uncle Sam interrupted his education and he was stationed at Ft. Benjamin, Harrison, outside Indianapolis, IN. Bruce made contact with Winston Binney, Indiana's strongest man (1st teenager in the world to Clean 400 lbs./1961). They made connections and Binney drove down from South Bend. Announcing their arrival beforehand they pulled into the driveway at Ron Hale's garage gym in New Castle (Hale was the 1969 165-lb. Sr. National PL Champ). Our usual Sunday afternoon workout became an important event. Winston put on quite a show and clean and jerked 400 lbs. Bruce, whose best at the time was 375, was equally impressed. Bruce predicted that not only would he be doing that amount in the clean and jerk soon, but someday he'd snatch it!

A boisterous outburst of a prophecy? I wasn't sure at the time but I never forgot it.  

Weightlifting soon became the full time focus of his talents. He improved by leaps and bounds. In 1974 he was Senior National runner-up by just 11 lbs. (330 - 419 for a 749 total). The following year (1975) he won his first National title (336 - 430 = 766) by a 22 lb. margin. Bruce earned a trip to the World Championships in Moscow and improved dramatically.

He snatched 369 and jerked 441 for a 7th place finish. The Pan Ams in Mexico came shortly thereafter. Bruce developed a bad case of dysentery (don't drink the water) and spent three miserable days before he lifted, not expecting to earn the crown. Two bottles of Pepto later, Bruce rose to the occasion and met his Cuban opponent - Fernandez. It was like two runaway locomotives coming head on. Bruce lifted excellently, especially in his weakened condition. He snatched 363 and jerked a personal best - 468! He was only 5-1/2 lbs. shy of the gold medal, but earned a great deal of respect for his courageous performance. His 832 total moved him up several notches on the world SHW ladder. 

Olympic year rolled around. At a meet in Glendale, Ca, he made his all time best Clean and Jerk - 485 on May 1st. Bruce won the Nationals by a 49.5 lb. margin over Texan Sam Walker. He lifted a 374 snatch and 474 clean and jerk for an 848 total. His landslide victory earned him a coveted berth on the Olympic team going to Montreal, Canada.

At the Games he gained a surprise silver medal in the snatch event with a tremendous lift of 380-1/4 lbs. Bruce clean and jerked 474 in the second event and was in 5th with an aggregate of 854 lbs. During the lift he strained a knee ligament. He valiantly tried a PR equaling 485 going for the overall bronze medal finish. He cleaned it, but couldn't exercise full strength in the second phase.Due to the injury, he missed the jerk. So, Bruce took home one medal instead of two, as well as a badly swollen knee. Nevertheless, it was a remarkable demonstration of intestinal fortitude.

Following the Olympics, Bruce underwent knee surgery. He was born with Osgood-Slaughter's Disease, a congenital bone defect. It caused a painful protuberance of the knee called a tibular tuberosity. It was removed and they reattached the patella tendon, but he may have pushed his recovery a bit too fast.

Bruce was physically unable to defend his National title in 1977, re-injuring himself in a tuneup meet. Earlier in the year he traveled to Vilnius, Lithuania for the Friendship Cup Tournament. He placed 2nd there with 358 and 452. It was there his knee problem flared up again. By August he'd healed sufficiently to eclipse Patera's longstanding (5 years) American snatch record of 386.5, when he lifted 391.3. Later that year he became the first American to snatch 400 (402.3) at Bakersfield, CA. I vividly recalled his forecast of only seven years earlier. 

Wilhelm held himself together long enough to earn a high 5th place finish at the Worlds that Fall in Stuttgart. His showing drew considerable attention and he was invited to participate in the World's Strongest Man competition ("Strength is his realm and none could overcome Wilhelm").

He came  out the winner and turned more than a few heads. He was voted Strength & Health magazine's Lifter of the Year, winning the tally be a considerable margin. Bruce retired from active W/L competition due to recurring elbow and knee problems, but defended his WSM title in July 1978.

The competition was even tougher the second time around. Bruce was at full strength and big as a house at 326. It came down to the final event - the tug-o-war. His semifinal pull against Sweden's massive Lars ("Large") Hedlund was extraordinary. Bruce won and both men required oxygen after due to the smog, heat and exhaustion. Wilhelm faced the the Levittown Leviathan in the final pull. It was Son Reinhoudt, 5 times World Powerlifting Champion. At 6'3"/344 he was the biggest man in the contest (18 lbs. heavier than Bruce). He was a most formidable foe and a bit miffed as well.

Bruce had been chiding him for the benefit of the TV cameras. It was a titanic struggle. Bruce figured that Don may have underestimated him, and Bruce - an opportunist from the word go - rose to the occasion. Wilhelm overwhelmed and took home all the marbles. Don trained like a demon his mind on revenge for 1979. The rematch between these two superstars never transpired. Bruce had his elbow operated on and was unable to participate. Don won the WSM the next time around and we can speculate until the cows come home as to what might have been.

HG: Bruce, you are one strong (expletive)! What made you decide to concentrate on weightlifting and not on powerlifting?

BW: The main reason was that I wanted to go to the Olympics. Weightlifting is an Olympic sport, powerlifting is not. I was best suited for explosive movements. Heavy squats and deadlifts for prolonged periods could have wrecked my knee sooner. I couldn't have beaten Reinhoudt on the powerlifts anyway.

HG: Neither could anyone else. What were your powerlifts? Did you ever try a max on them?

BW: Yes, at different times over the years. In 1973 I Oly squatted (bar high on neck) 775. Power-style with knee wraps I did 800. I never practiced deadlifts, but had a lot of back strength from power cleans (best 462). When my knees were really bothering me, I resorted to this style. In 1977 I did a 793 deadlift. It was a one time deal. I benched 562 with a pause in 1980 after specializing on it a while. That's 2155 - no big deal for a SHW, but not too shabby for an Olympic lifter.

HG: No, indeed. what were some of your other best lifts?

BW: 485 press on an incline bench of about 40 degrees. Unassisted, I cleaned a pair of 207.5 lb. dumbbells and pressed them for 5 consecutive reps on a 45 degree incline bench. I did a pair of 187.5's for 13! Front squat - 515 x 3. Rack jerk - 551, jerk behind the neck - 573.

HG: Who is the best superheavy powerlifter of all time?

BW: No question in my mind - it's Reinhoudt.

His 2420 lasted seven years. Kaz beat it by only 5 pounds. Don wore no belt or wraps or any of today's supportive gear. Kazmaier did. Remember, Don had nobody to push him. If they'd met, head to head, Don would've creamed Bill. I may have ruffled Reinhoudt's feathers at the WSM, but I'll credit where credit is due - he was the BEST.

The section on Don Reinhoudt from Terry Todd's "Inside Powerlifting" is here:

HG: What about Cole? Is he the greatest amateur athletic strongman of all time?

BW: Using your criteria of combined W/L and P/L total, the proof is in the pudding. Stats don't lie. He deserves that title. I have no problem with that.

A four part article about Jon Cole, here:

Cole weighed 283. Don broke his 2370 by 50 lbs. but he was 70 lbs. heavier. If Jon could have weighed 300, he'd have done 975-625-925! That's my opinion.

HG: What about Anderson.

BW: Come on, Herb. I've previously told you I can't compare anyone with Paul. The Mega Monarch of Might was one of a kind. He's in a class all his own. If anyone has a problem with that let their Id tussle with their Ego until Turkish prisons become tourist resorts!

HG: Who are your other favorite powerlifters?

BW: Two were Hugh Cassidy and James (Gene) Roberson. Roberson weighed only 280 and blew Terry Todd off the map - high bar squat, no wraps and he quit at age 23. If he'd continued, he would have done 2300. After a 30 year layoff, he's back now, winning World Masters titles.

An article by Terry Todd on Roberson, here:

Cassidy beat Williams and won the '71 World Power meet. He had balanced lifts - good in all of them. His form was impeccable, bottomed out on the squats and wore no supportive stuff.

HG: Who do you admire most in weightlifting?

BW: Schemansky, Vlasov, and Patera.

 Schemansky's career lasted 25 years. When he retired at 46 he could still C&J 400. He was the only guy in W/L to win four medals in four different Olympics. He set 29 USA records and 24 World records and was National, World, and Olympic champ. After three major back operations returned at age 38 and broke the World Record snatch with 362. He almost beat Vlasov in '62, a man 11 years younger than himself.

Note: Schemansky, as a real hero, is important to America, because America was founded on ideals. An ideal is a standard of perfection for all men, a model of excellence. An image is an illusion, pseudo ideal. The hero reflects ideals. A hero is a human figure who has shown greatness in some achievements. He is a man of great deeds. A celebrity or punk hero reflects illusions. The hero created himself. The punk hero is created by publicity and mass media. The celebrity is a big name, the hero a big man.

Vlasov was the first streamlined SHW with great muscularity. He was a scholar as well - five times World and Olympic champ, six times European champ and he set 32 World records. If it were not for the changing of the guard, he'd have won the '64 Olympics in Tokyo. If you believe that B.S. story that Zhabo outsmarted him you must still believe in the tooth fairy.

Yuri later became a writer and was very outspoken about the oppression of the Russian people under Communist rule.


Patera was one of the strongest men of all time.

He set 18 USA records and was Pan Am and National champ. He had the highest 3 lift total of all time behind Alexeev - 1397-3/4! He was 2nd to Vasily at the '71 World Championships in Peru and won the bronze medal in the Press at the '72 Munich Olympics. He was the first man in the world gto clean 500 (503 - Nov. '69) before Alexeev did it. Injuries kept him from reaching his full potential. His 485 Press at the '72 California State meet was, in my opinion, the greatest strict press EVER. He quit weightlifting after the '72 Games and spent the next 20 years pro-wrestling because you can't make diddly in amateur weightlifting.

HG:What about Alexeev?

BW: He was one strong mother. His will was indomitable.He intimidated everyone but me. I really got cranked training with him.

HG: Why couldn't you beat him?

BW: Because of my (expletive) knees, you knucklehead. What are you, another Bob Beatty?

HG: Speaking of him - what about your color commentator days on the tube? Were those guys a bit slow grasping things?

BW: Oh, man! How many times do you have to tell them what a kilo is? Beatty didn't give a (expletive) about W/L. His mind was off in the French Alps skiing somewhere. Mussberger was too patronizing. At the WSM I heard him telling a colleague to get it finished before we fall apart or drop dead of heat exhaustion. Lynn Swann was the worst.

HG: I got the feeling they enjoyed ridiculing the lifters.

BW: Yeah, they got off showing the lifters falling on their asses, grunting loudly with wide open mouths like a fish on dry land trying to suck oxygen. They played up Paul Jordan's injury to the public - big time - showing it over and over. Paul even was invited to their 25th anniversary show. They know the public gobbles that stuff up like . . .

HG: Steve Neece eon a Dodger dog?

BW: You took the words right out of my mouth.

HG: What killed title coverage of W/L and P/L on TV?

BW: At the Tokyo World Cup, the IWF got 165 grand. It was too costly for ABC to pay.

HG: What did the athletes get?

BW: A royal fucking!

HG: What of Terry Todd?

BW: Very odd. The only guy I know who has a vendetta trying to discredit a legend. He has surpassed me - in one category - a whole lot more enemies.

HG: Sri Chinmoy?

BW: Ole Sly Chimney Boy - what a farce that old geezer was. The sooner we all forget all that shit the better off we'll be.

HG: Isn't it true all his followers went broke buying knee pads?

BW: You're starting to sound like me.

HG: You are one of my idols, Bruce.

BW: I think there may be some hope for you after all.

HG: Tony Fitton?

BW: A great guy. He's welcome at my house for sushi and a bowl of rice pudding anytime - you too!

HG: I've got some herb tea I can bring. It's a brew that will knock your socks off.

BW: Sounds good. Where did you find it?

HG: John Ford got it for me while he was in Vietnam. The guy didn't want to give it up. John buried him in a rice paddy overlooking Saigon. Before I forget - what did Alexeev do on the powerlifts?

BW: I could never pin him down on that subject. He was evasive.

HG: However, you did pin him in arm wrestling. Moby Dick struck again, silent and deadly like a thief in the night.

BW: Surprised the big puppy - I did. He strained his milk or something and couldn't lift in the Record Makers at Vegas. I really felt bad about it.

HG: Some claim you sidewinded him. You told me the particulars. Mike would censor it if I printed it.

BW: Fuck! I'd never do anything so despicable. What I told you is the way it really happened. Do I lie?

HG: No sir! Never! Could a powerlifter switch to W/L and become successful?

BW: Absolutely: Ikei and Henry already have. It proves you can. A good coach is essential.

HG: What about Ed Coan?

BW: Unquestionably the best P/L, probably ever. He'll be the first to do 2500, but he'll be 242.With a 425x2 power clean he claims, he'd be very successful at W/L. If he'd allow me I'd be glad to train him. He's be doing 396 Snatch and 484 C&J in 6 months - guaranteed!

HG: Why has W/L died while powerlifting has flourished?

BW: P/L is more accessible. O/L is being run by self-serving people. They are nearsighted to the big picture. We need 25,000 doing W/L. W/L's biggest hold-back is discouraging powerlifters or other athletes from coming into it. Powerlifters have been brainwashed into believing it's too complex to learn - it's not! Some may try it on their own and become discouraged. A knowledgeable coach is important to show them how - correctly. They've been told W/L takes great coordination and technique. Powerlifting takes more coordination. Backing out of the rack with 1000 pounds takes the utmost control . . . making sure you don't get the bar oscillating. It could cause a bad vibration that makes the teeth rattle and could cause your spine to drop through asshole and break your neck. It takes great coordination to time the bar's whip and control it down and back up. If you get out of the groove - forget it, you're dog meat. Technique? Wrapping is a real technique. You got to get 'em on and off before you lose circulation and gangrene sets in. Powerlifting takes more concentrated thought for a long duration than W/L. An explosive movement like a Snatch is so fast you don't have time to think. Boom! It's done.

HG: It sounds strange to hear a top weightlifter defending powerlifting.

BW: Bruce speaks the truth. You don't win World W/L titles with technique alone. My closest buddies are power people. Take Cole and Patera for example. You don't get any stronger than them. The bottom line is power. That's what it's all about. The USWF doesn't have anyone that is really strong anymore - except Henry, and he has nobody to push him to improve. That's why weightlifting has gone to the dogs. 

HG: What about Antonio Krastev?    


  BW: The USWF blew it - big time! They had a golden opportunity. They didn't want him. Somebody had a cockamamie idea that he was a troublemaker, a disruptive influence, undisciplined? Bullshit! Here's a guy who snatched 476 and Clean & Jerked 556 officially. He did 485 and 573 in practice and jerked 600 from the rack! He's also capable of beating any superheavy powerlifter in the world had he given it a chance. A great athlete, 385 lbs. and strong as a bull! I had a sponsor lined up for him - George Steinbrenner. George pulled strings and got him citizenship pronto with his big bucks for backing. He'd have been a sure medalist in Atlanta. Can you imagine the inspiration he'd have given our guys at the Olympic Training Center? It would have lit a fire under Henry and spurred him. Weightlifting is singing its swan song and some want it that way. Blame a small group of people with close political ties with (Tamas) Ajan. Anyone who crosses the IWF hierarchy is politically beheaded. Now Krastev has flow the coop to Canada. We've lost the goose who lays golden eggs. Our loss is not necessarily their gain. Canada has killed off their lifters with drug testing fanaticism. It's a crying shame.

HG: Could powerlifting ever be in the Olympics?

BW: Sure it could, but not the way it is now. All the supportive suits, wraps and shirts would have to go. You couldn't have nine guys on stage hovering over you as you squat. No crazy theatrics like headbutting, slapping and yelling. The present circus atmosphere would not set well with the IOC. The IPF must not align with the IWF. That would be a disaster. They would not be satisfied until they absorbed powerlifting and took control. The first step would be for the USPF to absorb all the lesser organizations within. United we stand, divided we fall. All the squabbles, petty jealousies and differences must be shelved (easier said than done). That would be a big step in the right direction.

HG: Bruce, thanks for your enlightening honesty.

BW: I just call it like it is. I can take the heat and I'd like to see somebody try to get me out of the kitchen.         

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Biceps with a Twist and a Tilt - Frank Love

Robby Robinson

Granted, you may have read a ton on training biceps. Since no one has yet to reinvent the wheel, you might safely assume that any article on biceps is just another rewarming of old material. However, the variables attached to those exercises - the many ways of altering a workout - can change the entire face of the same old fare. It can also add new muscle to your upper arms . . .

There are numerous ways to alter a workout and improve the benefits of any given exercise. Whether you vary the pace, weight, apparatus, repetitions or sets, incorporating these variables can make the difference between a candy-ass workout and a complete dismantling of everything meek and mild about your biceps.

After all, you're in the gym to get bigger, aren't you? You wouldn't spend all the time and energy you expend on some half-assed workout (is halfassed hyphonated?) that might . . . quite possibly . . . if you're lucky . . . every other Sunday on even days . . . maybe make you bigger. Why do it otherwise? To look like some underwear model in the Sunday Times? Yeah, right.

The only problem is which variable you should choose and when. During which workout? And with which weight and apparatus? Well, no one can possibly provide that information for you. Even though the sincerest form of flattery is imitation, not even that will provide a meter for your own body. No matter who sets forth a workout to follow, you'll still have to try it for yourself for a while and determine its worth. That can take years.

There is, however, one way you can assure yourself that your biceps will respond to any variable and stimulus. Sure, you have to change apparatus occasionally like everyone else (and we all know that variety is still the only game in town regardless of what activity you're talking about). But, this is something you can do to enhance any style of workout. This technique in combination with a deliberate choice of other variables should make your workouts better than ever.

The idea may not seem new because it's one of the basics you learn as you are being baptized into gym life. It's not magic. But think about it. When you learned the importance of variety in training, did you ever really find out why it is beneficial to your workouts? Past the first year have you faithfully applied it on a regular basis?

This technique we're speaking of is the rotation, twist, and angle applied to each rep of each set. It may sound insipid and totally worthless to a person who looks only for the newest and most complicated way to train the body, but give it a chance - once you find out more of the facts about it.

One of the best ways to look at rotation - the twisting and turning of the joints while resistance is applied - is to consider the feet while a person runs. You've certainly heard of supination and pronation if you've ever stopped into a local athletic footwear store and stood for any length of time in the shoe section. These are common terms, most people assume, applicable only to running and the feet.

They also apply to bodybuilding in many ways.

Supination and pronation indicate the turning in or turning out of a joint, or, in the case of a hand or foot, the appendage connected to any joint. Changing the angle of a joint by the tilt or twist of he wrist seems such a simple device. That it might have a large impact on the muscle group is almost inconceivable to some people, but twisting and turning the wrist while working biceps can drastically affect the part of the biceps being targeted. [This can be applied to other bodyparts.] What's more, it will still allow you to work the entire surface of the muscle group while focusing on one specific part at the top or bottom of the movement. This is an advantage because you many not want to spend all day working your biceps.

In fact, working the biceps too long and hard can cause the opposite effect of what was originally desired. The smaller the muscle group (and the biceps are among the smaller ones), the more easily you can overtrain it. If you were to work the biceps through a routine of "plain vanilla" exercises and were always to lift the weights with a flat wrist, then move on to more complex combined movements, the stress would be too much for your biceps to handle and they might actually lose size instead of growing.

Combining as much technique as possible into one movement is crucial to any good workout, but it's particularly critical for those muscle groups which cannot handle excessive sets. Reps, however, are a different story. In this workout you are advised to use a high rep scheme because there is invariably more than one angle from which to work the muscle. Using only one angle per workout limits growth and development. Instead, employing two or three angles per exercise can enhance your workout every time.

The angle of the elbow joint also contributes to the effectiveness of various twists and turns during a biceps exercise. [You're going to try to find ways to apply this to other bodyparts, right] Not only can you effect change during each exercise by altering the position and angle of the wrist, but you can also create a completely different center of gravity. This exercise then becomes different again.

For example, the first exercise in this sample workout is Seated DB Curls. After a warmup of light alternating dumbbell curls the next step is to raise your elbows so that instead of keeping them close to your rib cage they move up and out, causing a new angle. Think of your arm as a sort of whip. The angles change as the arm moves upward, and those twists and turns travel along the locus of the whip to create a different effect nearly every inch of the way. Because the angle of the twist of the elbow and wrist are always changing, the exercise is optimally effective.

Sit upright, either with your back against a support or by maintaining good posture, and lift your elbows as the biceps curl the weight. Keep that angle changing at all times. Turn the thumbs out at the top, and either turn them back in as you lower the weight or keep them turned out and lower the weight slowly.

Do 2 x 10-15 slowly and deliberately, getting full benefit of the difference in angles.

Move next to seated barbell curls. Though it may seem like overkill to do a similar exercise with a different apparatus, the barbell allows you to vary hand grip and elbow placement. When you're set with a comfortable weight that will accommodate these changes, you're ready to begin. Let the bar rest in the palms of your hands and grip it with your fingertips instead of fingers and thumbs. Start with the bar lower than your knees, and curl slightly out in front of your knees and shins. When you get to the top of the movement, hold the weight and make certain that your wrists and bent backwards so that the bar is cradled securely in your palms. When you are secure with the weight, slide your grip out about 12 inches on either side. Bring your thumbs around and your wrists back toward your body before lowering the weight slowly. In the second set take a moderate to wide standard grip with the wrists broken away from the body. As you lift, gradually bring your elbows up gradually. At the halfway point curl your wrists toward your face while exaggerating your thumbs outward as if you had dumbbells in hand. Lower the weight back. Keep them flat.

Do 2 x 12-15 slowly and with plenty of contraction.

The final exercise is one-arm biceps curls with a cable. This is a more obvious application of using different angles of the wrist to effect change. The elbow can become involved in much the same way as it has in the other exercises. Cables have the advantage of providing a reverse pull on the biceps through the movement. Dumbbells and barbells supply gravity resistance, but cables give a constant tension that you don't get with other apparatus.

Crouch two or three feet away from a low cable pulley and grip a handle. In the first set break your wrist back and bring your elbow high so that the heel of your hand is level with your forehead. Squeeze at the top. In the second set flex your wrist forward. Alternate turning it in and out for supination and pronation. Alternating in this manner allows you to get a feel of the inner biceps head and the outer brachialis.

Do 2 x 12-15 slowly and deliberately, using moderate weight.

So . . .

. . . a few simple tips to help you build the biceps you've always wanted without overtraining. By combining several techniques into one movement, you add to the effectiveness of your workout. You don't want to work the biceps too long and too hard.

Remember, a simple twist (and tilt) of fate in your workout is all you need to experience new growth from old, familiar exercises. 

Mechanics of the Deadlift - Don Cundy (1970)

Courtesy of Liam Tweed

Originally Published in This Issue (October 1970)
48 years ago! 

Most of the powerlifters I have talked with agree that the taller lifter has an advantage over the shorter man when it comes to deadlifting. However, ask them why this is the case and you will get various replies. 

While I have to agree that taller men do seem to make out best at deadlifting, I feel the advantage stems not from the height alone but from certain other leverage factors usually associated with tall men.

It is accepted that short arms are an advantage for bench pressing and it is obvious the man with short legs has an easier time of squatting. 

In deadlifting, the longer the arms of the lifter, the less he needs to bend over to grasp the bar at the start of the lift, and the shorter the distance will be from floor to erect position. Another factor that many lifters ignore, but which is nevertheless important, is the length of the back.

A few years ago, many were surprised at Terry Todd's deadlifting prowess when he had such short arms. For a while, I too was puzzled. It was not until I had studied Terry's physique and observed that he possessed a relatively short back, a fact that allowed him good pulling leverage for the last part of the deadlift when the bar has passed the knees and the legs are almost straight. That's when the back takes over most of the strain. 

In my opinion, there are two basic deadlifting styles - the "hump-back" and the nearly straight-back. I employ the latter. While I oppose the first method because of the strain it puts on the spine, this style has helped many increase deadlift poundages. And this is especially true in the case of lifters with long backs. The "hump-back" affords better leverage by shortening the lifter's back. But there is also a big disadvantage. If the lifter does not keep his back straight at the start of the deadlift most of that starting thrust of the legs and hips will be absorbed by the rounding back and starting power is lost. This is why so many lifters who hump their backs at the start of the deadlift have such slow starts. 

I have found that the best way to perform a successful deadlift with heavy poundages is to begin the lift with a relatively straight back so as to get maximum starting drive from the hips and legs. As the bar reaches knee height, it might help some lifters to round their backs slightly for better leverage. 

It is a common mistake to straighten the legs at a more rapid rate than the back, thereby throwing the full strain of the lift on the back muscles. The back and leg muscles should work together for maximum pulling power in the deadlift.

 Click Pic to ENLARGE

Since the short-armed person has the hardest time getting the weight started off the floor, and a relatively easy time once the bar reaches knee height, he requires a different kind of training from that employed by the tall lifter with long arms. 

The short man needs to powerize the lower back area in his training. And the best exercise for building lower back strength is the stiff-legged deadlift, performed while standing on a block. Regular deadlifts should also be done since you obviously cannot handle maximum poundages in the stiff-legged style. And the only way to get the feel of heavy poundages is to train with heavy poundages. 

For the long-armed, long-backed lifter, exercises that bomb the upper back and trapezius will help prevent him losing the lift just as the bar reaches the above knee position. Partial deadlifts from two inches below the knee on a power rack, and high pull power cleans will work wonders. Since very heavy weights can be handled in the partial deadlift, the grip is also strengthened. Power cleans develop explosive power, keep the lower back strong and activate the traps violently.

There is no magic exercise or special wonder combination of sets and reps. That which works for one might not work for the next. The general training principles described here are important. 

Probably the best advice anyone can give you to improve your lifting is to keep your eyes and ears open and learn about yourself.     


Training on the Deadlift - Don Cundy (1973)

Thanks to Bob Wildes for This! 

In my experience, training the deadlift for competition in powerlifting has always been a difficult job. Not only is the exercise itself a very exhausting one, but factors such as the number of sets and reps, number and type of assistance exercises, how heavy to train, and the frequency or timing of the workouts complicate training procedures tremendously. 

Since the lifter will win or lose the contest on the basis of the TOTAL poundage lifted, the training schedule adopted for one lift must be carefully planned so that it doesn't detract from the progress of the other two lifts. Ideally the training routine for the three lifts should complement each other, particularly on the squat and deadlift - something that is easier said than done.

It is my opinion that while the types of exercises used in strengthening the muscles for a lift are important, the SPACING of the workouts to insure sufficient time for the body to rest and rebuild worn out tissue is of equal, if not more importance. Probably one of the most common mistakes of powerlifters (as well as Olympic lifters and bodybuilders) is OVERTRAINING, usually resulting from efforts not to undertrain. As most successful weightlifters and bodybuilders already know, any type of physical exercise tears down the muscular tissues involved and it is only during the periods of rest between workouts that the body gets a chance to concentrate on repairing worn out tissue and building more. If the lifter does not allow enough time between workouts, the body may not be able to get the rebuilding job done. When this happens the lifter "goes stale" and may even get weaker.

When planning a workout schedule I consider three main factors: 

1) What exercises work the area best.

2) How do I space the exercises for a particular lift (in this case the deadlift) to allow sufficient time for the muscles involved to recuperate.

3) How should I space the exercises for all the lifts so that my general energy level will be high for the days I try limit poundages. 

While it should be emphasized that every lifter is different and consequently needs different amounts of rest between workouts to maximize his gains, the rest of the article will describe the system that I have found works best for me. 

Over the years I have found that I recover comparatively slowly from a workout and therefore have to allow a considerable amount of rest time between heavy training sessions. The system I have worked out to give me the rest time I need is is a program where the muscles involved doing the three powerlifts are worked twice a week, once heavy with single repetitions and once light for a fairly high number of repetitions. More specifically it goes something like this: 

Saturday: heavy benches and shoulder work, followed by moderately heavy squats and repetition power cleans in sets of 6 until I reach close to my limit for that number of sets and reps. This is followed by some sort of tricep and bicep work.

Monday: medium benches and some light shoulder and lat work - no leg or back work.

Wednesday - heavy squats and deadlifts for limit singles.

The Wednesday squat and deadlift workout warrants some further explanation. As anybody who has done these lifts knows, squats and deadlifts both work the back and leg muscles heavily and I find that if I do my limit on one I can't reach my maximum on the other in the same workout session or for several days thereafter. To get around this problem I do BOTH heavy squats and deadlifts on Wednesday but I alternate them ever week so that one week I do deadlifts first and the next week squats first. This allows me to see what my real limits are on each lift every other week and at the same time by doing both together I obtain added endurance for contest situations. With this schedule I can go heavy on each lift once a week and get from four to five days rest between the heavy singles workout and the medium repetition session which preceded it. This gives my muscles enough time to rest and lets me keep my overall energy level high.

As I just indicated, I do heavy back work only once each week. The exercise I have found best for building basic deadlifting power is the stiff-legged deadlift while standing on a block. This allows a deeper, fuller movement to be performed, exercising the whole spinal erector area thoroughly. If the lifter keeps his body bent slightly forward to avoid dragging the bar up the thighs the upper back and trapezius will be heavily worked as well. After working up to my limit in the SDL I then remove the block and with the aid of two spotters I take a weight approximately 150 lbs. in excess of my limit in this stiff-legged style and hold the weight in the completed deadlift position for approximately 15-20 seconds, finally lowering the bar to the ground as slowly as I can. By doing this last assistance exercise I accustom my body to weights slightly heavier than I plan on attempting in competition and strengthen my grip at the same time.

Following Wednesday's heavy squat and deadlift workout, I do nothing for my back until Saturday when I do the power cleans. Since my back is still a little fatigued from Wednesday's workout, I do only about 80% of my maximum in the power cleans for 2 sets of around 6 reps. For example, if I think I am capable of 300x6 I will only do 250x6.

The term "power clean" has often been misused so I would like to point out that I consider a power clean to be a smooth continuous pull from the floor until the bar is fixed at the shoulders. There should be no bending of the knees or dropping under the bar of any kind while the lift is being performed. If the lift is done in this manner the traps are worked very heavily and quick explosive starting power is developed for the deadlift. By the way, both deadlifts and power cleans should be performed WITHOUT straps since the use of such aids will tend to weaken the grip.

The above system has worked well for me and will work well for many of you. It should be remembered, however, that it isn't necessary to follow the system exactly. The general principles are the important thing and the individual lifter should feel free to modify it to suit his own personal needs.        


Saturday, October 27, 2018

High Volume Leg Hell


60 years ago . . . November 1958

by Neil "Yoda" Hill (2018) 

My own program, Y3T (Yoda 3 Training) - which I use to train elite level bodybuilders like William Bonac and Flex Lewis - has gained a reputation among even the most hardcore trainees as being, well, absolutely painstakingly savage. 

More specifically, the third week of the program, aka "Hell Week," has gained an infamous reputation because of the high-rep brutality deployed for total muscle annihilation. 

This is not just for effect, though - high rep training within the Y3T cycle is an immensely potent hypertrophy tool that can transform a stubborn muscle group into one that turns heads. Below, I dig deep into the fundamentals of Week 3 of Y3T and how it can help you achieve the best results of your life, along with a leg routine for you to try. But be warned: Shit is about to get serious. 

High Reps and Max Growth

High-rep training is something very few people ever experience, let alone apply correctly for an optimized hypertrophic response. Doing some drop sets at the end of a workout is not my idea of high-rep training. For the best results with high-rep training, your program needs to be periodized.

For instance, in Week One of Y3T the rep ranges are low, but you do more sets. This is less taxing on the central nervous system. In Week Two the rep ranges increase to a moderate load, while the working-set number decreases slightly. Finally, in Week Three the number of working sets is reduced further, yet the overall intensity (not referring here to % of max) goes up significantly for each working set due to the high rep ranges.

Leg Training Explained

There are three leg workouts (quads, hamstrings, calves) I suggest you try included here. The first thing you'll notice is that quads, hamstrings, and calves are broken up into three different days. This is for two reasons. The first being that three training sessions instead of one will grant you the opportunity to release more muscle-building hormones over time. The second reason is that high volume training is so taxing that, by the time you're done training quads, you'll be too fried to hit your hamstrings and calves with the intensity required for this type of training work.

Possibly the biggest mistake people make when applying high-rep training is picking the wrong weight and going too light. As a result, they get to around 80% of the target rep range and start to feel the burn. That's not Y3T high intensity, high rep training. About halfway through the set you should have to use rest-pause to finish. For instance, if the rep range on the leg press is between 20 and 30 reps, at around 10 reps you'll need to pause for a few seconds to recover. From here you might be doing a handful of reps at a time, breaking the set down like this until you're reduced to singles. This accurately describes how each set should feel, a vast difference to what most people perceive to be intense high-rep training. Please make sure you remember this when using Y3T, because it will make the difference between your experiencing the maximum benefits and not.


Leg Extension, 3-4 sets x 12-15 reps, warming up
Leg Extension, 3-4 x 12-15
Leg Extension, 3 x 20-25, perform triple dropsets for each set.
Leg Press, 1-3 x warmup
Leg Press (all the way down, about 3/4 of the way up), 3 x 25-30, perform dropsets after each set.
Dumbbell Walking Lunge, 2 x 20-30
Barbell Squat, 2 x 20-25.


High-Stance Leg Press, 4 x 12-15
Standing One-Leg Curl, 4 x 20-25, perform dropsets after each set
High Stance Leg Press, 3 x 20-30
Barbell Stiff-Legged Deadlift, 3 x15-20.


Seated Calf Raise, 4 x 12-15, 2 seconds up, contract hard, 2-3 second lower
Leg Press Calf Raise, 3 x 20-30, perform dropsets after each set
Seated Calf Raise, 3 x 20-30, perform dropsets after each set. 


Monday, October 22, 2018

Sergio Oliva Seminar - Complete - Roger Metz (1980)

Big Thanks to Liam for this one!

Little has been written on the amazing Sergio Oliva in recent years. So when the opportunity presented itself to have a seminar at the Iron Man's Gym conducted by the former My. Olympia and Mr. Olympus [that'd be Dan Lurie's contest before the ambitions of the Weider Empire overflowed and drowned pretty near everything else], the only man to hold both titles, I jumped at the chance. Let it be known at this point, I am a Sergio fan and have known Sergio for 16 years and have yet to see anyone - in my opinion - equal him in his prime.

I first saw Sergio as a fellow competitor in the Mr. Mid-States contest in Whiting, Indiana in 1964 and all the other contestants might as well have stayed at home. He stole the show! 

Early 60's. 
Wait a minute, he doesn't look a day over 59!

 He has a rare combination of having a large bone structure yet extremely small hips and a waist with an incredible flair at the joints that puts him in a class by himself.

Sergio came into the Iron Man's Gym in the strong arms of the law. Nope, he wasn't under arrest but escorted by Oceanside Detective C.C. Sanders and the guns C.C. was carrying were 19-inchers hanging from his shoulders. C.C. is a respected competitive bodybuilder as well as a top promoter and was co-sponsor of the Iron Man Muscle Classic at which Sergio would guest pose after the seminar. 

To accommodate all the Sergio fans three seminars were conducted over two days so the following info is compiled from all three seminars. Let's pull up a bench and get the straight scoop from the man they call The Myth. Take it away Sergio! 

Sergio (S): Well, I'm going to tell you the story of my life, Sergio Oliva! Don't be afraid. Just ask me anything you want to know.

Q: Can you tell us about your early days in powerlifting? 

S: I never did that! I was in Olympic lifting. I never was a big guy to start with but I was always real powerful. I competed in the 148, 165, and 181 pound classes. This was the way I got out of my country of Cuba and came to the United States in Miami. I started to bodybuild there and I was more powerful from the weightlifting. Three months later I was in the Mr. Florida contest. From there three months later I was beating guys that had been training five and 10 years! So I started training real good and training for the big contests. It was funny! When I was in the A.A.U. I was competing in Olympic lifting and physique contests at the same time. So this is the way it started.

Q: How old were you when you started? 

S: I started in bodybuilding at what I consider a late age. I was 22 at the time. To me the right age to start is around 16. I started late but I made it. I was working hard! I wanted to be the top one and I made it! What really makes me happy is that nobody gave me those titles. I was the winner! Lot of those guys I don't know but those days you had to win it. There were no deals! 

I was working real hard in a factory. It was a foundry and when it was 85 degrees outside it was almost 500 degrees inside! I saw guys twice my size pass out on a regular basis because of the heat. I worked there 12- and 14-hour days and from there I'd to to the gym and work out for three or four hours. Even in those days when I was the top one I didn't make a penny from it. I was the best but I didn't make a penny from it. 

I'm a phony bodybuilder! I eat anything! Now I know my physique and my potential. I don't say you can do it. For you should know yourself and know your limits! I'm the kind of guy that does anything he wants and I don't want you to tell me what to do. How can you tell me what to do when I know my own body better than you do!

I drink Coca Cola. I eat peas and beans and rice, chili, hot dogs! I don't care! I eat anything! Now I don't say I eat like that all the time. When I prepare for a contest I drop all the garbage and eat good but I'm not going to tell you that I spend all of my life eating vitamins and protein because that's bullshit! If I tell you that and one day you see me in a Pancake House eating pancakes you're going to wonder what's going on.

You're the only one that's going to find out the right way for yourself. Nobody has to tell you! 

They used to tell me no way you can eat like you do and improve. You can ask anyone that was against me. How about that crazy Cuban! They'll say he eats any kind of junk! They know! I don't care. This is me! I know what I can do. I know my limits. 

Q: What's your opinion on the use of steroids? 

S: I'll tell you what it is. When I started in this game we didn't use any of that stuff! Nothing! I didn't even know what it was then. Now all the top guys are using it. I see guys come in the gym and only work out for three months and start using steroids. It's wrong! In my personal opinion it's wrong! How can you know how much development you can get on your own without the drugs? You should see the maximum development you can get without it. Maybe some day you'll get to the point where you're going to get into a big contest and have a decision to make about taking the drugs. Some people really don't need it! There's a lot of ways to take it. You can take it through a doctor where you have a thorough checkup and the doctor will show you exactly how to use it and and how much, or you can go out and take it on your own. I don't believe anybody that's only been in the bodybuilding game for one or two years should use it! 

Q: Have you used it?

S: Oh yeah! But I don't believe in the stuff. I only prepared for this show for seven weeks. I was doing squats and pulled the ligaments in my leg. So I needed something to prepare myself quick. However, I know my limit. But I've been in this game a lot of years. You get in the gym and one year later you're using the stuff. You don't know your potential this way! You might find you can have the same development without it. 

Q: What do you believe in sets and reps? Say, like an arm routine? 

S: My routine! It all depends! If I'm trying to gain weight I do less sets and increase the weight and eat anything! Now as a show gets closer I quit eating the garbage, I drop the heavy weight and train light. I increase the reps because I'm trying to burn! Say for instance I'm doing 12 sets when I'm trying to gain weight. Maybe I keep the 12 sets but not heavy anymore. I used light weights and when I used to do 10 reps; maybe I did 30 or 40 or 50 reps! So I work two different ways. Do you follow what I'm saying? I know some guys can go to the gym and do 3 sets and get pumped like hell. All right? Now this guy knows what he has to do. He knows his limits. He doesn't need to do 10 or 20 sets. It's just like vitamins; you only need to take so many. But people think the more you take the bigger you get. Your body can only handle so much protein and vitamins at one time.

I know some guys that 3 sets is all they need. For some guys 3 sets is just a warmup. They have do do a lot of sets to get the same benefit. The sets and reps, training heavy or light all depends upon the individual and how he responds to it. It doesn't make any difference how Mr. Magoo trains! You might never get to look like him. Find out what works for you! It doesn't make any difference if someone else has 23-inch arms. Maybe you can kill yourself for years and never get to look like him with his routine. You follow what I'm saying? Do what works for you! 


Q: Once you feel the pump is this the point to stop?

S: No. Say you do a heavy curl and get a tremendous pump. Then you drop the heavy curls and do some preacher curls and other movements to keep that pump going.

Q: Are you worried about getting robbed wearing that big gold medallion?

S: (A lot of LAUGHTER!) I got that medallion when gold was seven dollars an ounce. Now what's it worth? Maybe $500 an ounce? Hey, there's a lot of crazy dudes out there. If one pulls a gun and puts it to my chest and says give me that chain, he can have it! I'm no Superman! I can't fight bullets! However, once he puts the gun out of my view he's dead! If he lets me talk he's not going to shoot me! I'm not worried about it.

Q: What are your future plans?

S: I would like to keep on competing because I don't consider myself down yet.

Q: What was your maximum bench press?

S: I wasn't too strong in the bench press. The most I ever did was 525. For a bodybuilder that's a lot but for a powerlifter it's nothing. I can do 20 reps with 400.

Q: Is it true that you bench pressed 350 x 50?

S: Yeah, I used to take 315 and do 40-45 reps. I bench press a little different than maybe you guys bench press. I don't lock each rep. I do it at a fast pace of short reps. I lock it every once in a while to release the pressure in my shoulders and chest and then keep going again. Now everybody in Europe benches like that. Somebody asked me why I didn't lock every rep and I said - what for? They said they lock every rep. I said how big is your chest, 32? I wasn't trying to put the guy down. I was trying to explain to him that it worked FOR ME and that's what counts! This is the way I grow so why should I change it? I create my own style of exercise that works for me! I don't know if this made a difference in my development. Maybe I would look the same training in a different way. I don't know! This is the way I'm going to keep training!

Q: Do you do anything special to keep such an incredibly small waistline?

S: My waistline? I'm going to tell you the truth. This is my structure and always the way I was. Even when I was little I had a V-shape. When I prepare for a show I'll do situps and leg raises but maybe 3 or 4 sets but not a lot. These pants I'm wearing are a size 28 waist. I respond immediately to situps and leg raises and my waist gets even smaller.

Q: When you train for a contest do you use the tape and scale a lot or do you go by the mirror?

S: I don't go by either. I judge how my clothes fit me. You can ask my friends, I don't look in the mirror. I never pose in the gym. I pose at home in private.

Q: You've been all over the world putting on seminars and exhibitions. Can you give us some idea of where the most enthusiasm is?

S: There's a lot of enthusiasm all over the world for bodybuilding. Everybody is looking for more knowledge to make improvements.

Q: Besides yourself, who do you think the top bodybuilder is in the world today?

S: To me they're all tops! I said this years back and I say it now. To me they're all tops. It's a lot of sacrifice. I know what it means to be a bodybuilder. I'm talking about the bodybuilders who have a regular job and then go to the gym after work. To go to work and then go into the gym takes a lot of determination.

Q: Do you work a split routine?

S: Yes. Monday I work my chest, back and shoulders.

Tuesday I work shoulders again but a different section and then I work my arms. Wednesday I work my legs. Thursday I do the same as Monday. Friday the Tuesday routine and Saturday the same routine as Wednesday.

More Here:

Monday I do benches and chin-ups. I develop my pectorals and lats at the same time. I do a lot of stuff. Monday is a long routine for me. I do flyes and dips. Dips are one of my favorites. I used to do a lot of dips. The dips are excellent for the whole upper body.

I do a lot of sets in the bench press. I start with 135 and keep adding weight until I'm finally doing singles. Then I work back down on the weight. On declines I do 3 or 4 sets. 2 or 3 sets of inclines, 3 sets of flyes.

Q: Do you do supersets?

S: I do what I call a combination - bench presses with chins. I go at a fast pace. If I sit down and get a drink and rest up, I don't feel like doing anything. So I take a shower and go home. So I go at a fast pace.

For arms I do heavy curls, preacher curls, seated dumbbell curls.

Q: Do you train 4 days a week or 6?

S: It depends how close I am to a show. If a show is close I train 6 days.

Q: What kind of chin-ups do you do?

S: I do wide grips on a V-bar. I do the front, behind the neck and also chin with a close grip. I do lots of reps. Many people hate doing chin-ups but it is excellent for the lats and a V-shape.  

It's like doing squats. Everybody hates squats. Everybody likes to bench press and build a big upper body but if you go to the beach you have to keep your pants on. When you go swimming you have to swim with your pants on! You can't take your pants off because your legs look like spaghetti. 

It's better to train everything because then you'll grow in proportion. For a contest you're going to have to train every body part. The strongest parts of your body are your legs and back.

To me the chin-ups are a must and a tremendous exercise for the back.

Q: What do you do for your thighs? 


S: If you do squats and thigh extensions for the front of the thighs and leg curls for the leg biceps you have a well-rounded routine. Leg presses and hack squats are good too.

Q: Do you do your reps to failure or do you pick a  certain number and do them? 

S: It depends. I base my whole workout on how I feel that day. For example, if I put 300 on the bar Monday and do 45 reps on the bench press it doesn't mean I'm going to do the same thing on Thursday. The weather changes, a problem on the job, family problems; it all affects your mind. If the mind gets weak you're going to be weak.

Q: Do you believe in a workout partner? 

S: Yes I do. I don't like to work out by myself for many reasons. Try to find someone better than you because then you work your ass off to beat him. Look for somebody that's strong and you'll really push each other. If you're looking for tremendous development find somebody better than you and you're going to be motivated. This way you'll work to your maximum.

Also it's very dangerous to work out by yourself. I had a lot of problems before. I worked to my maximum bench press and got stuck. The bar ended up on my  chest and there was nobody in the gym so I had to roll the bar off me and it really scared me. That was the end of me training by myself.

Also with a training partner there's days you don't feel too good but your partner's motivated and pushes you. Then you end up having a good workout that you wouldn't have had.

For a partner to be of benefit it has to be the same routine for both of you no matter what weight you're handling the weight should be the same.

Q: What do you do for the shoulders? 

S: A lot of exercises for the shoulders. For tremendous shoulder development do presses behind the neck. Then do lateral raises to the front, side, and back and you'll get all the shoulder development you want. 

Whatever exercise you do, if you can get a good 12 reps you should use more weight.

Q: What about your biceps routine?

S: Like I said before, curls, preacher curls, dumbbell curls. It's the way I do it, the FORM that counts. We can both do the same exercise and get different results. IT'S ALL INDIVIDUAL! Calves and forearms are hard to develop. If you don't have some natural development it's hard to get them to grow. I don't even work forearms and they're thick all over. 

In my opinion the easy muscles to develop are the chest and biceps. I find the calves and forearms are the hardest to get to grow.

Q: What would you suggest for the forearms?

S: Reverse curls for 10 to 12 reps each set.

Q: How do you do your squats?

S:I use a 4x4 with my heels elevated. I like it better that way and get better development than by doing them flat-footed. I do a full squat and come down all the way. I have my feet at a 45-degree angle in all my squats. I use my legs and nothing else when I squat.

Q: Do you plan on competing again?

S: Oh yeah,j as long as I have about four to five months notice. Sure I'll kill myself for the money and contest as long as I know it will be fair.

Q: Any more advice about the steroids?

S: Like I said before, I personally don't recommend that you use them. I see too many beginners come into the gym and then six months later want to use all the garbage! It's no good for him! A couple of years later it's still no good for you! How do you really know what your potential is without it! The way for you is to go without it!

Then if you're a top man some day and you feel by using it it will give you an increase and you want to try it, then try it. But do it through a doctor and not on your own.

Q: What kind of diet do you go on?

S: I diet for a contest but not a strict diet. I know my metabolism and the type of skin I have. So I know how much time I need to cut up. I don't need to go for months and months. The most I stay on a diet is for two to three weeks. I cannot go for more than that.

Between contests I eat anything! You name it! Rice, beans, chocolate shakes, Coca Cola. Why not? I don't care! But I balance the meals. Like last night I had a pizza so tonight I'll have a steak and salad. "That's the trick! I don't eat junk every day!

Then when I come down for a contest or show I come down slowly. I don't try to rush it.

Q: What do you recommend for intermediate and beginning bodybuilders as far as diet is concerned?

S: You find some beginners that look better than some guys that have been training for years. So what I'm saying is GET TO KNOW YOUR OWN METABOLISM. We all have a different metabolism. If you have a slow metabolism you have to watch what you eat. Everything you eat you gain very rapidly. If you have a fast metabolism you can eat anything!

I personally have a fast metabolism. I have no problem. I know my metabolism, I know whatever I eat today isn't going to stay in me to until tomorrow. I'm going to go in the gym and burn it up.

If you have a slow metabolism then watch what you eat! As far as recommending a diet I leave it to the individual to LEARN HIS OWN BODY. We're all different. I can tell you to eat this and eat that but maybe your metabolism is way different than mine and it wouldn't work for you.

Q: Do you eat anything special before a workout?

S: No, I don't. I eat whatever I feel like eating but I don't eat two hours before I train. I have my breakfast like anybody and my lunch like anybody. Then I go work out. After I work out I have my supper.

Q: What's the latest you have supper?

S: I don't have a set time. Every day it's different. Now it's better for you to have a set time. Sometimes I come into the gym at different hours because of my work, so I have to eat at different times. This doesn't affect me. A different person might be affected by it. I have a friend who has to have all his meals at the same time.

Q: Can you recommend a routine for a beginner or intermediate who wants size?

S: You gain size by the amount of food you eat, the amount of protein and calories you take in every day and by lifting heavy. You have to work heavy and do less sets than you do when you're trying to cut up. Say for instance you bench press with 200 pounds and you're doing 15 to 20 reps. You're not going to gain much size. Add about 20 or 30 pounds and do about 8 to 10 reps. Now you're working for size. Keep adding weight. This is the way you'll gain your size. Also, whatever you can eat, you eat! Train four or five times a week and eat anything but check your metabolism to see if you're burning it up. If you have a very slow metabolism, you have to work on the sets and reps like crazy! While someone else does three sets you might have to do at least 10 sets. There's no secret as to weight or so many sets and reps. Don't let the magazines and books fool you with that kind of garbage! It's bullshit! There's no secrets!!!

Look at all the champs there are! Now find me two physiques in all the world that train the same way exactly! No two even have the same physique! If there is a secret and everybody does the same routine we should all develop the same way but for some reason we don't. Right! It means do your own thing! You can try somebody else's routine but it doesn't mean it will work for you. Eventually you'll find routines that work for you. Not the ones I say! I say that one because it's good for me but it doesn't mean  it will be good for you. You know what I mean? This is the one you have to work on! A titleholder tells you a routine that works for him but he doesn't know if it's going to work for you.


Q: So when you're working for size you should pretty well eat what you want?

S: As long as you balance your meals. Again, base it on your own body. You might gain and gain but get fat. This is not what you want. So you have to see what your metabolism can handle. You want to gain solid muscle size. Don't waste your time by adding a lot of frat. That's not what you want. If you gain 40 pounds of fat and start cutting up you have to drop the 40 pounds and you'll be right back where you started from. You follow? You can't turn fat into muscle.

Bruce Randall went from over 400 and dropped down to under 200 pounds and won the Mr. Universe.

Q: I train at a gym in Riverside where there are no advanced bodybuilders. My training partner and I ave two different theories on building bulk. I say stay with the basic exercises - squats, rows, curls, cleans and so on. He's more into the exotic exercises - hack squats on a machine, this type of thing. What do you say?

S: Here's the trick and the mistake we all make from the beginning. I did it and they all did. If you work only one area of a muscle, say the triceps, you're only working one part of the muscle. This is a mistake! You have to hit the muscle on three different exercises to hit all the sections.

Q: What are some of the exercises you would do for the triceps for example?

S: For example, I do lying triceps extensions with a cable. Then I do seated triceps extensions with a barbell. Then I do a lying French curl with barbell. So I've worked the triceps from all angles. There's plenty of exercises to do. You have to find out the ones that work for you. The mistake is to say to do 10 sets of one exercise for a muscle because you're not working all the parts of the muscle.

Q: Have you worked with any women in bodybuilding?

S: I don't like the ladies with muscles. The muscles are for the men. That's my personal opinion. Okay? I like the women feminine! I dig any lady that's feminine.

There's plenty of exercises the women can do to stay trim and in good shape without getting muscular. That's not for the women! Once you get muscular you lose the feminine look!

Q: Didn't you work in Florida for a while for Arthur Jones? Can you tell us a little about him?

S: He has some good machines but if you take somebody like me who already has the body and put him through the machines you're not going to be able to tell how great the machine really is. The only way you're going to be able to prove how good the machine is would be to put a beginner on it and see what kind of progress he makes with it.

If you put a top bodybuilder on it how can you prove how good it is? I'm already developed from the free weights so who can say what the machines are doing? It's really hard to tell!

Q: Don't you believe everybody develops differently?

S: Definitely. Everybody is going to respond differently to the weights even on the same routine. Everybody has a different metabolism.

Q: What do you think about powdered protein?

S: Yes, you should take protein. If you're training hard you're burning a lot of energy and with the food itself you might not get it all back. So you need the extra supple such as the supplements. Any supplement that has all the amino acids is good. It doesn't make any difference if Mr. McGoo made it. As long as it has all the amino acids in it, it's good.

Q: If somebody squats, do you think full squats are the best or half squats?

S: Full squats. I do squats until I sit on my calves. I use a 4 x 4 piece of wood under my heels. You have to do full squats for complete leg development.

I used to squat between 650 and 750. That's a lot for bodybuilding but for a powerlifter it's nothing. I have a friend in Chicago that's a powerlifter. He weighs 165 and does over 700 in the squat. I'm not a powerlifter. That's not my game. My game is bodybuilding.

Q: How much do you weigh right now?

S: Now? 210 at 5'9". I feel good. I'm light. I hurt my knee so I haven't done any heavy squats lately. I need another 15 to 20 pounds of bodyweight. If you want to look good you have to suffer like in anything.

Q: I heard that your forearms were so big that you couldn't flex your biceps all the way. Is that true?

S: Yes, at one time my forearms were well over 17 inches and they were so thick up high that when I flexed the forearms would hit the biceps.


Q: What's your waist right now?

S: 28 inches. I always have a 28. These pants are a 28.

Q: How do you ever get pants to fit you?

S: It's easy . . . tailor made! My legs were always bigger than my waist. I was the only one to have a smaller waist than thigh. My thighs measured 29 inches. It's my structure. Even when I was skinny I had the V-taper to my body. This was just the way I was even before I touched a weight.

This was a disadvantage for me when I was an Olympic lifter.

I was never good at the Press.

I was good at the Snatch and the Clean and Jerk but not the Press. For the Press you need a big waist. I always had a problem with my back on the Press.

Q: How do you know when you're over-training?

S: When you hit a sticking point on the weights and can't go beyond it for a couple of weeks.

Q: If you work your back today and then work your arms the following day aren't you still using the same muscles?

S: For every exercise you do you're using the arms but not directly. Don't pay attention to the routines in the magazines. They'll drive you crazy! Keep in mind you're an individual and what works for you doesn't always work for someone else.

Q: I read an article that said once you work up to your maximum weight set you shouldn't do any more pumping sets. Do you agree with that?

S: I don't know about that! My theory is a little different. I work on the bench for example. I start off with 135. I warm up and keep adding 20 pounds each set and do as many reps as I can do and hit my maximum weight for what I can do that workout. Then I drop 20 pounds each set and work back down the same way. I do a lot of sets on the bench.

It's up to you to try both ways and see which way works best for you.

Q: I've read where you can cut your forearm training in half by every time you grip the bar in the other exercises to grip the bar real hard. Is this true?

S: It's true but you still have to do forearm work because it's the only thing that will give you maximum development for the forearms.

Q: How long have you been a competitive bodybuilder?

S: I started bodybuilding back in 1964. I made a lot of progress fast because I trained very hard and had been Olympic lifting and had the strength. Most people thought I'd been training for 10 years after I'd been training for two. I had a lot of potential for bodybuilding with my frame and Olympic background.

Q: What was the biggest you had your chest?

S: When I went to Germany to compete in '72 my chest was over 58 inches and I was about 22-3/4 on the arms.


Q: How many sets do you usually do per upper body part?

S: I cannot tell you exactly but I do a lot of sets. Some exercises I do 5 sets, some 2 sets, some 3 sets. It really varies. Put it this way: On Monday I work chest, back and shoulders only. I do a lot of benches but only 3 sets of declines and 3 sets of inclines because I already worked the chest hard with benches. Then I do chin-ups, I do pullovers, I do dips, I do flyes, I do crushes but I only do 3 sets of all of these. The only thing I do a lot of sets on is the bench.

For arms I do the same thing. I do about 4 or 5 sets of heavy curls. I then do 3 sets of a lot of other movements, preacher curls, dumbbell curls, French presses. I do a lot of different exercises but usually only 3 sets.

Q: What kind of work did you do in Cuba?

S: Construction. When I came here I was in meat packing and was working 12 to 14 hours a day. When I finished I'd go to the gym. My boss didn't believe me. He said, "Sergio, are you going home?" I'd say, "No, I'm going to the gym." I tried many sports in Cuba. I was poor and had no money that this was the only way to get out of the country and they don't let you out. I tried baseball, I tried boxing, I was real good and hit real hard. But they had some dude who hit REAL hard so I gave up. I tried running but I was too big for that. I was always really skinny but I always had a small waist with a V-shape even before I know anything about weights. I was at the beach and this instructor passed by and asked if I lifted weights. I said, "Weights? What is weights? The only weights I lift is in construction." He said come to my gym and gave me his card.

Q: How old were you?

S: I was about 18 or 19. That's when I started. I went to the gym then, I was always good in the Snatch and Clean and Jerk from the start but because of my small waist I was never good in the Press.

Q: Did you have flexibility problems?

S: No! No! That's why I was good in the Snatch and Clean. If you don't have flexibility you can't Snatch.

Anyway, I went to the gym and worked on the Olympic lifts and before you know it I beat everybody in Cuba in weightlifting. So I represented Cuba in Olympic lifting and as soon as I got to Jamaica that was it! Adios!

Q: On your Thursday routine for chest, shoulders and arms do you do the same thing?

S: I do the same exercises and the same routine but I drop the weight and train real light.

Here is a good example of a 6-day per week Golden Era bodybuilding routine that has you doing the first three days heavy and the last three days of the split lighter, more supersets, faster training tempo and somewhat lighter weights:

It's time to thank Bill Luttrell again for sharing that one!

Q: What about a lot of forced reps like the Mike Mentzer routine?

S: I don't know anything about the way Mentzer trains. I've never trained with forced reps so I can't make any comment on it. Again my best suggestion to you is to try a routine for a period of 2 to 3 months and see how it works for you. You don't care what Mr. McGoo does. You only care about what's the best for you. Find what works for you!

Now Mr. Oliva says if you do this exercise you'll gain three inches on your arms. You may do the exercise for the rest of your life and never gain an inch. Now here comes Mr. Nobody with a crazy routine. You try it and your arms grow and develop like crazy! Now maybe my routine doesn't work for you because your bone structure and your metabolism has a lot to do with the way you develop. I used to look in the books and magazines and try the different routines of the top guys to find which one worked for me. If I didn't see any or much progress I'd drop it no matter how many titles the guy had won.

I recommend to anybody find the exercises and routines that work for you.

Q: Do you do any movements to enlarge your rib cage?

 S: No. I never did nor ever tried any movement for it.

Q: Did anybody help you with your training?

S: To tell you the truth, nobody. I made it all on my own with real hard work. Even today I'm not a real classy poser because I never took instruction from anyone. I never had the time. I had to work and I had to work out.

Q: Are you financially well of that you don't have to work?

S: No, No, NO! I still work. I take off to go to Europe and around the country for exhibitions but I still work. Bodybuilding is something I can't depend on for the rest of my life.

Q: What kind of work do you do?

S: I'm a police officer.

Q: Sergio,  tel us a little about your experience in 1966 over losing the AAU Mr. America to Bob Gajda.

S: Now, don't get me wrong. I'm going to explain it to you the best way I can. Bob and I were in the gym together but we never trained together like it said in the magazines because he had his way of training and I had mine.

So we went to the Jr. Mr. America together and I won everything, all the body parts, everything. You judge this, right?

They said I couldn't become Mr. America because I don't speak English. That's when I switched over to the IFBB. 

Q: Do you think there'll be another Sergio Oliva? 

S: Sure! THE WORLD IS CRAZY! You see some guys that don't work out that look really good. So you put them in the gym and they train and they'll look tremendous. They'll be better than Sergio.

Q: Is your training intensity up to par now with the way it used to be? 

S: No! I trained for this show but I had pulled the ligaments in my leg. So I trained for this show for only seven weeks. I've been training like crazy and dropping down and everything. If there's nothing coming along I just maintain. If there's not something real big coming along I don't kill myself. I can work out as hard now as I did before! In bodybuilding you constantly improve. In other sports once you get old you're out! In bodybuilding you get older, you get better! 

Q: Do you think you've reached your potential? 

S: I reached my potential in 1970 and then again in Germany and then in Mexico again. I know I can reach it when I really want to. But I'm not going to make that kind of sacrifice and then have Mr. McGoo beat me! 

 '73 Mr. International

Q: Tell us a little about your movie career.

S: I've got three movies out but they're all in Spanish. 

Speakin' of films, here's a guy who I'm certain we'll be seeing some great things from in the future. 
Following the death of his mother, an emotionally unstable cop sees his life slowly unravel in this bracingly uncomfortable tragicomedy . . . THUNDER ROAD 2018.

Writer, director and lead actor Jim Cummings. 

S: People say I'm a good actor. I don't know, I guess I am. It's tremendous, I like it. It's exciting, it's different! The last one I did about three years ago. It was made in Durango, Mexico. It's a Western. That's where John Wayne made a lot of his movies. I had to ride a horse without a saddle!

Wayne films made in Durango:
The Sons of Katie Elder
The War Wagon
The Undefeated
Big Jake
The Train Robbers
Cahill: U.S. Marshall.

Q: Can you ride?

S: Oh yeah! As long as the money is there I'll do anything! That Mother was so fast so I grabbed it by the neck. We only shot that part once, thank God because I don't think I could have repeated it. I got lucky!

Q: Can you give me a routine to really blitz the waistline?

S: There's no secret to it, Baby! The only three exercises I know are the situps, leg raises and twists. There's no secret in that. It's the way you control your diet and doing the exercises. There's no secret! Don't let anyone confuse you! Just do situps, leg raises and twists and control your mouth and you'll have a good waistline.

Q: Just prior to a contest what do you eat?

S: Fish, eggs, steak, that's it! In the last month almost no carbohydrates at all.

Q: Is there any secret to working the back?

S: There's no secret again. I do a lot of different exercises for my back. It's like one guy maybe does nothing but pullups for his back. Along with this you need to do rowing, cleans, which are a tremendous exercise buy most bodybuilders don't like to do cleans because it's hard work. It's just like doing squats. Squats are a tremendous exercise and you need to do squats but they're hard work! If you're going to be in this game you have to do squats. They'll give you a tremendous set of legs, Keep in mind if you have a big chest and big arms and your legs look like spaghetti you're not going to do any good in a contest.

Q: Do you drink?

S: Sure, every once in a while when I go to parties. When I go out I have a ball!

Q: Have you thought of entering the Strongest Man in the World contest?

S: If they call me sure I'll go! I don't say I'm the world's strongest bodybuilder, I say I'll go against anyone as long as the money is there. Don't believe what the magazine says until you see the guy actually doing the lifts he's supposed to be able to do.     




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