Monday, January 28, 2019

How It All Began, Part Three - Larry Scott

Parts One and Two are Here:

It gradually dawned on me. I would have to leave Idaho if I was ever going to get anywhere in bodybuilding. I needed to make my way to California, the mecca of bodybuilding, if I was going to continue to make progress. I just had to have some excuse for going, besides just wanting to learn more about bodybuilding. My dad was already fed up with my obsession with training. "Get out there and get that lawn mowed," he would say.

"I've got to work out, Dad. I'll do it when I get back."

"What do you need all that working out for anyway? I never worked out and it turned out alright.."

I couldn't argue. My dad had farmed most of his life and was used to hard work. His forearms were still bigger than my upper arms after almost two years of training. "If you don't stop all this nonsense with the workouts you are going to end up being a bum," he promised.

With all this "super" support for my bodybuilding efforts, I had to have some "legitimate" excuse for heading south. It came one day on the back of a book of matches. "Earn big bucks in the rising field of electronics," I read. "Enroll now in California Air College and assure your future." The school was located in  Hollywood, California. It was perfect. My Dad and Mom had no idea that California was perfect for bodybuilding objectives. I could continue my education and, at the same time, pick up training tips from the championship bodybuilders.

After a good selling job on my parents, I started to work on my friend Don. Before long I had him interested in heading to California to learn a new trade. I finished the summer washing dishes at the Pocatello Country Club, and various odd jobs. I didn't care if I was washing walls and cleaning yards for $1.75 an hour, I was saving for something I really wanted. After a 17-hour train ride we ended up in Hollywood, California, on Vine Street at the Elaine Apartment Hotel right across from the Hollywood Ranch Market. It was HEAVEN. This was actually Hollywood California! I dreamed of being "discovered" and becoming famous.

We didn't have any wheels but we were within walking distance of the school and just a half mile from Bert Goodrich's Health Club on Hollywood Boulevard. As soon as we unpacked, I headed for the gym. The place was jammed with people of every description. There were lots of impressive looking guys who had obviously been training for years. Many who were just training to keep fit. Quite a few bit-part actors and a few of an entirely different species known as fags (my first encounter with homosexuals).

But the guy that really took my breath away was a fellow by the name of

Lou Degni

 He was immense! I had never seen anything like him in the flesh. His chest and back were, and still are, the most impressive I have ever seen. His waist was 29 inches and his abdominals were about an inch-an-a-half deep. His arms taped 19 inches cold, when his bodyweight was on 185. His legs were his weak point or he would have won all the top physique contests. On top of that, he had terrific white teeth set in a great looking face. Lou was the perfect ladies man.

Lou trained in a large pink dress shirt which was unbuttoned down the front and a pair of sweat pants which were soon drenched with sweat. He had dark curly hair and even in his exercise agony he looked attractive.

Here I was, fresh in from Idaho spud country with a funny looking flattop haircut, weighing in at a not-so-fabulous 150 pounds, training alongside Lou Degni.

Other than Steve Reeves, Lou was and still is the most impressive bodybuilder I have ever seen. Oh yes, I have seen lots of guys that were bigger, but when you add up all the attributes of physique and facial characteristics and total impact, Lou was hard to beat.

His back was not V-shaped but actually came out heart-shaped from his waist before it started up. His pectorals were so thick it took almost the full length of your finger to hit his sternum bone. He was way ahead of his time. Indeed, his training knowledge was so far ahead of everybody that, even now, many of his training concepts are misunderstood.

Lou must have seen something in me similar to the Zen master who selects a young student from amongst the many aspiring novices. He could see I was devoted. I couldn't have shown much promise at this stage. But there was no doubt, I was dedicated.

For me, every pound was a stubborn battle. My lack of shoulder width continued to plague me. Lou took me under his wing and began to teach me things which I had never read or even considered. Things like how to get the most out of back work by hanging on the bar with the wrist, rather than the fingers, so as to almost completely deactivate the biceps and work only the back (chinning straps work even better today). He showed me the secret of his incredible lower latissimus with an amazing Hanging Scapula Rotation exercise which is so effective you can get a lip under the lower lats from just doing a couple of sets. He introduced me to lower biceps and how to work them in a way that, while posing, one could display a stunning arm even when the arm was in a straight out position which no one would dare.

Bob Delmonteque, the famous staff photographer from Weider, came by Goodrich's club one day and offered to take a few photos of me and Don with a couple of the other guys on the roof of the building next door. One of the fellows, Don Howorth, later became a good friend and also won Mr. America.

I was ecstatic. This was big time. I knew Bob from the Weider magazines. Bob said, "I think we can get your shots in a book called Tomorrow's Man. It was a sort of semi-gay magazine, featuring models who were a mixture of serious bodybuilders and delicate looking guys. I didn't care, so long as I could get my picture in a physique magazine.

Note: Before any of you get all high-and-mighty about this kind of posing, do some research on just who posed for these mags and when. Thanks to  Joe Roark's IronHistory website and David C. New

I learned that Arnold, yes that Arnold posed for several as a young man. Body Beautiful, Manual, Tomorrow's Man, and others. Par for the course, just in case you didn't know it. The main thing here is . . . Check Out IronHistory . . . there's more info, data, photos, members' very rare weightlifting equipment on display, etc., than you'll be able to assimilate in ages.

The article continues:

I didn't expect to start right out in the Weider magazines anyway. A couple of months later, sure enough, there I was - the little kid from Idaho on the pages of a physique magazine. It was heady stuff for me at the time.

My heart set on training rather than schooling made it difficult to concentrate on electronics. I soon ran out of money and had to quit school after one semester and return home to Idaho. Frustrated as I was at having had to return to Idaho, now that I was home again I had to find a place to train. I didn't want to go back to the YMCA, so I made friends with a former classmate by the name of Roger Pugmire, who lived over on the rich side of town. Roger had a workout room in his basement, which was a big improvement over the Y. Gradually Roger and I grew into good friends and training partners. His home gym was okay but it lacked much of the equipment to which I had now become accustomed.

About this time a wonderful thing happened. The Sillowette Health Club group came into town and converted an old carpet discount house into a Health Club. Both Roger and I switched over the the Health Club. What an improvement! They had all kinds of machines and lots of weights. Roger and I soon settled into a steady training program and began to give advice to the other trainers. After all, I had been to California and had been in a magazine! After a time, the owners offered me a job as a salesman/instructor. Things weren't going so bad. I was training hard and had a job, but my heart was still set on getting back to California. After several months the owners announced they were going to hold a Mr. Idaho contest in Boise, Idaho.

I received the news with a lot of excitement. I wanted to compete but I wasn't sure I was ready for a physique contest. I didn't know the first thing about posing, but as the date of the show drew near everyone's training picked up. The idea of being on stage and flexing in front of an audience laced my training with more intensity.

My lifelong friend Don and I had since parted company. He decided it was time to get on with life. He gave up bodybuilding and began to get serious about his career. Don returned to California after semester break and left me in Idaho. About this time he also developed an interest in a new girlfriend. I couldn't believe he would ever desert bodybuilding. It was inconceivable to me. I was not only bugged at him giving up training, I was bugged at his new girlfriend for coming between us. We finally quarreled and stopped spending time with each other. I was sorry to lose a long time friend, but he had found his woman and I had found my mission in life.

I was going to become Mr. America.       



Motivation and Determination

The Author, Jim Schmitz

We each lift weights for varying reasons, and I am often asked. why and when did I start weightlifting? It was June 27th, 1960. I took up weightlifting in order to build myself up to be better for football, basketball, and baseball.  I noticed that the best athletes also had the best bodies and were bigger, stronger, and faster than the rest of us. 

In those days very few people lifted weights as it was thought to make one slow and to develop large muscles that weren't supple and mobile, commonly called "muscle-bound." Here it is 57 years later and more people, men, women, and children are lifting weights than ever before. It's long been proven that weight training, and especially Olympic-style weightlifting, only enhances athletic performance. 

However, many things influence why we lift the way we do. Why do some prefer CrossFit, powerlifting, bodybuilding, strongman, Highland Games, Olympic-style weightlifting, or any other sport that tests and requires great strength? Some of the reasons are to be physically better for a chosen sport, to look better, and to be healthier. But why choose one training method over another? Just as we are all different physically, mentally and emotionally, we have different tastes, likes and dislikes. That's why there are so many different sports and physical activities. 

The main reasons for choosing a certain sport over another are that you like the sport because you are good at it, it's fun, you feel good doing it and you like the challenge - or maybe by chance you were introduced to it. Consider the new popularity of Olympic-style weightlifting. Many people are doing it just because they like it, it makes them feel and look good. Now, I think this reasoning is true for all the strength sports, but I'm g to concentrate on Olympic-style weightlifting here. 

Many years ago there was a competition called the U.S. Olympic Festival put on by the United States Olympic Committee for all the Olympic sports. It was a fantastic, week-long event and was held annually from 1978 until 1995. The top four weightlifters per weight class were invited to participate, plus coaches and officials, all expenses paid. One year, I think it was 1979, we brought in the Hungarian national coach (I can't recall his name) for a series of clinics, and he shared a lot of great training information. What I remember most was what he said the most important motivating factor for the Hungarian and Eastern European weightlifters, was: 

Money. They do it for the money. It's their job.

Also, at the 1979 World Weightlifting Championships in Thessaloniki, Greece, at the closing banquet, the U.S. team shared a table with the Chinese team. Its 82.5 kg. lifter, Ma Wenguang, was very interested in weightlifting in the U.S. Through an interpreter, we talked about many things and he asked, "How much do U.S. weightlifters get paid?" When I told him, "Nothing," he was shocked. He said in China weightlifters get paid about the same as a school teacher, but with bonuses for successes and records. He wondered why the U.S. lifters lifted if they were not getting paid. Ma Wenguang, by the way, competed in the 1984 Olympics and then went on to be the president of the Chinese Weightlifting Federation and the Asian Weightlifting Federation and the secretary general of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF).

Up until around 1992, the U.S. had pretty strict amateur rules. Some of our lifters would get a small stipend of about $100 per month from the York Barbell Company, plus travel and lodging at national championships. My club, the

would hold fundraisers to help defer some of the costs to the various championships. I remember at my first meeting on the IWF Executive Board in 1993, the secretary general, Dr. Tamas Ajan, said to tear the page on amateurs out of the rule book. You could now openly get paid to lift and not under the table, as it had been done. 

The good news that now U.S. weightlifters can get paid, and many have sponsors so they can train full time. Also, some colleges offer scholarships for weightlifting. 

The top weightlifters around the world are largely all professional and now the USA is also able to pay its top lifters. 

After money, what motivates someone to want to lift big weights? Even though top lifters are able to get paid, they are a small and elite group. You have to train and compete on your own resources until you reach that high level. I lifted to get bigger, faster, and stronger in order to play football, and it helped. I was able to play at San Francisco State University from 1963 to 1967. I started as a 175-lb. fullback, but was switched to defensive tackle as I bulked up to 200 lbs. and wasn't quite fast enough to be a fullback.

I did a combination of Olympic lifting, powerlifting, bodybuilding, and fitness and conditioning training, but it was Olympic lifting that gave me the power and explosiveness to be quite good. I was defensive team captain, MVP, and All Far Western Conference. A funny thing happened on the NFL draft day in 1968: the Atlanta Falcons called me and said they had drafted me in the seventeenth round. I had to tell them they had called the wrong number, as it was another player on our team with a similar name.

After my senior year, I knew my football days were done and since I had competed in weightlifting a few times in 1966 and 1967, I wanted to pursue weightlifting.

I wasn't motivated to do weightlifting for any other reason that I liked, it felt good to do, and I wanted to see how strong I could be and how much I could lift. No money was there, and I had no chance of being a national champion or an international lifter. That was the prevailing motivating reason for us and why so many of us lifted and tried to lift more back then. We knew that, weightlifting is fun and lifting more weight is fun! We liked it, and our motivation was to set personal goals and try to hit them.

The first goal I remember was being able to clean and press bodyweight at 160 pounds, and then it was a 300 pound bench press and a 400 pound back squat. Once you hit a goal you would move it up. Eventually I wanted to bench press 400 pounds. It took me years and I had to gain a lot of bodyweight, but one day I did it and I wasn't motivated to go any higher. It was very heavy and hard and took a lot of work to get there. After that I was always satisfied with whatever weight came without too much effort - I wasn't motivated to push so hard.

That's what's really important: when the weights get heavy you have to be really determined to give as much as you can to your training to push through the barriers. When you reach your maximum and just can't break through, you might have reached your peak. What you do here is back off, rest, and build back up again and try again and keep trying until your body tells you that is as high as you can go. We all have limits, but you'll never know what they are if you quit or back off with your first or second or even third effort. You must keep trying until your body just won't do it. Hopefully you don't push through to injury. Pain and injury are the indicators that maybe you've reached your potential.

When I start someone in weightlifting, I always just say, let's see how good you can be. I don't say, you'll be a national champion or anything too lofty. I say, let's train hard and smart and see how it goes. I have so many examples . . . Ken Clark, Mario Martinez, David Langon, Than Nguyen, Rachel Silverman, Giselle Shepatin, Anne Lehman, Jo Ann Aita, and one in particular that I want to talk about, John Bergman. I was their first weightlifting coach, whereas Dan Cantore, Ken Patera, Bruce Wilhelm, Tom Stock, Butch Curry, Tom Hirtz, and Carol Cady came to train with me after they had already been coached and lifting for a few years. I always stress:

What do you have to do to lift the weight, don't overthink it, just focus on what you have to do to get that weight over your head (below).

John (above) didn't start out motivated to be a national champion and to compete at World Championships and the Olympics. He took up weightlifting for football and fell in love with weightlifting and never played football again. He was pretty good, he liked it, and when he saw that he could be a national champion and compete at the world championships, it excited and motivated him. This was in the 1980's and there definitely wasn't any money in weightlifting. You had to pay all your training, travel, and competition expenses. He was motivated to see how good he could be, and he enjoyed training and competition.

John could do 175 and 215 with no problem, but when he would go over those weights, his body would just break down with little nagging injuries. It was very frustrating, nothing serious, but enough to slow down or stop progress. We would back down, train light, and build back up, trying to avoid the little tweaks. It was frustrating because he was mentally and athletically capable of really big weights, but his body just couldn't take it. He was motivated and determined to make the 1988 Olympic Team; he might have made the 1984 team, but he couldn't hold the needed weight overhead.

From 1985 to 1988 John plugged along, getting up to the heaviest weights he could handle without causing injury, then backing off, recovering and starting over. Super compensation and periodization, and it worked: he lifted enough to make the 1988 Olympic team. From looking as if he were going on to some really big weights in 1985, he limped along and achieved his goal of making the U.S. Olympic Team in 1988. I would say that due to John's motivation and determination to make the Olympic Team, he endured a lot of painful and disappointing competitions, never achieving what he was capable of - but once an Olympian, always an Olympian, and it is a very worthwhile goal.

Another question I get asked a lot is, what motivates me as a coach and why do I still lift? First, there has never been money in coaching weightlifting. Today, a coach can make some money by charging for coaching, seminars, and clinics. Some may have sponsors or are on the staff of colleges and universities that have weightlifting programs. Many coaches support their weightlifting programs by teaching CrossFit sessions or through running strength and conditioning gyms. For 49+ years, I've supported myself and my weightlifting program by owning and operating a gym/health club and doing personal training.

Why have I done it and continued to do so?

 I have asked myself why so many times and thought, weightlifting must be a disease and I have a chronic case. The answer is, I love it, and it's great for you, it makes you feel great, a I love coaching it and actually still doing it. For years I wondered, what's wrong with me, why am I spending hours in the gym coaching and lifting for almost no money and my contemporaries are out on the golf course? Their vacations were in Hawaii, and Europe, mine were in Russia, Hungary, Cuba, China, Mexico, and about 35 other countries for weightlifting competitions. Actually, my travels and experiences with weightlifting were and continue to be fantastic experiences and 100% worth all the lonely hours in the gym and money spent to travel to competitions. I totally enjoy all those who are new to weightlifting and love it, and I hope it will be as meaningful to their lives as it has been to mine.

Motivation means having a strong reason or incentive to want to accomplish something. Once you've got your motivation, then you need determination to realize your goals. Determination means the quality of being resolute with firmness of purpose and action. In other words, motivation is your incentive - money, fame, being strong, or whatever - and determination is what gets you through hard, painful workouts, competitions, injuries, and setbacks. Two major ingredients of determination are persistence and will power. Once you are motivated, you need the determination - will power and persistence - to achieve your goals. Without persistence and will power, talent and two dollars will get you a cup of coffee.

Lifting more weight, winning competitions, becoming a national champion, representing your country by making an international team, then winning medals at the highest level, the Olympic Games, that's the ultimate. Not everyone can be a champion, but everyone can lift and enjoy it. Maybe you won't be the best, but you must always try your best and you will have a successful weightlifting experience   

Thursday, January 24, 2019

How It All Began, Part Two - Larry Scott

Part One is Here:

 All Right! The Great Scott spends some time with us describing the what's it . . . that mystical experience that strikes the lifter upon discovering his newfound passion . . .

George [Paine] had one of the most impressive triceps ever developed by anyone. His external head was standing out on the outside of his arm like a banana, bursting from under his deltoid, sweeping down the backside of his arm and finally disappearing into his elbow. His triceps had little slices and cuts running cross ways down the length of it. I had never seen anything like it in my life! It almost looked deformed. I forgot everything else in life. Remembering to breathe, I let the outdoors magazines slide out of my hands as my moistened palms began to xerox text onto them.

Flipping through the magazine I could see there were several other photos of this breathtaking person doing exercises which apparently enabled him to become the hero that he was. I drank in the exercises.

Scrambling back to the shelter of our Packard, I told myself, "I can do these exercises. I"ll take down my high bar (I had an old tractor axle we had fixed up for a gymnastic bar), and use it to see if I can make these exercises work.

The drive home met with near disaster, what with one eye on the road and the other trying to get a jump start on my first workout.

I'm not sure why this particular book caught my attention and made me think I could have a hope of success. It wasn't that I hadn't seen a bodybuilder before. In fact, George Eiferman (a former Mr. America) had visited our high school a couple of years before and during an assembly had given us a demonstration of his strength. He had one of the senior class members sit on his shoulders while he did a Russian dance and at the same time blew on a trumpet. He also did a pullover with 200 pounds, all this with his shirt off. A bunch of the more courageous guys had gone up close on stage after the show to get a closer look at him. Looking from the outer edges of those crowding around him, I observed he was impossibly huge. I couldn't imagine I could ever look like him. I remember his pecs looked like hot water bottles to me. He was enormous. I assumed that he was created out of a totally different mold than anyone I had ever seen. I knew I could never hope to look even a little like Eiferman. He was beyond inspiration.

Yet when I saw this picture of George Paine, either I was older and had just a little more faith in myself, or it was the muscularity rather than the size that didn't seem quite so impossible. George Eiferman was huge and I was small, so I knew he was out of reach. But the impact of George Paine was not so much size as it was incredible muscularity. I felt maybe, just maybe, I could get a little more muscular. Certainly nothing like George Paine, but if I could just show a little more muscle it would be worth it.

I took the car home, unhitched the trailer, and began to accumulate the materials to try this experiment. I needed a barbell. One look at my old chinning bar reassured me it would do the job. Being an old tractor axle, it probably weighed about 25 to 30 pounds. It would do, I reasoned. I needed a workout bench. The wood pile was full of them. I pulled out a sun-bleached board that looked like it had fewer slivers than some of the others.

Laying the board on the root cellar and with one eye on the magazine, I started doing some of my first exercises for triceps. I frankly didn't know triceps from biceps but I was going for the "George Paine look" in the book, and it said, "If you want arms like this, you have to do these exercises." I struggled through the strange movements and after 15 or 20 minutes began to feel an unusual sensation in my arms like I had never before felt. They felt sort of heavy. I didn't know what was happening. I quickly went into the house and closed the door to the bathroom to look at myself in the mirror. My arms didn't look much different, except for the veins standing out a little more. But when I raised my arms to comb my hair, I could feel a strange tightness in my triceps that caused my heart to beat faster. I didn't know it was a pump but I knew something was definitely going on. I hurried back out to the root cellar and George Paine. Once again I went through the same exercises, just as I had done the first time. Again I experienced the same thing. This peculiar tightness in the arms. It was like I had found treasure. To say I was thrilled wouldn't have come even close to the exhilaration I was feeling.

I hid the book and made sure I did not do my exercises when any of my friends were around. Soon, however, my best friend, Don Williams, happened to drop by and caught on to what I was doing. He was the youngest in his family, so his parents didn't assign him much in the way of chores, so he was always at our house hanging around while I finished mine. I knew sooner or later he was bound to find out what I was doing, especially with all my brothers and sisters so eager to blab about my secret. He and I always did everything together anyway, so it wasn't long before I invited him to start with me to see what we could accomplish by the time school started in the fall. We both really got into it and gradually saw our arms increase in size. A couple of weeks later we began to look through the magazine stores to see if we could find some exercises for the biceps. We finally located an article by Clancy Ross (King of the Bodybuilders) and began to use both of these exercise programs like fanatics. We didn't know anything about bodybuilding. We were working only the arms, with just these two routines which we got out of Joe Weider's "Muscle Builder" magazine.

The summer wore on and my arms had grown to a fully pumped 12.5 inches. One day a bunch of my friends were over to my house and we were just lying around on the lawn, playing mumble peg, when Bobby Burton the neighborhood hero rode up on his horse. Bobby was everyone's dream of what you wanted to be. He was unassuming, good looking and a terrific athlete. He was always hitting home runs whenever we played out church softball games. I was lucky to get on first. Whereas Bobby not only hit home runs, he would hit them out of the park, over the road and sometimes over the irrigation ditch. He was one cool dude. The girls loved him and he didn't even know it. What made him so neat was even the guys liked him. Bobby tied his horse to our front fenced, hopped over it and came over and sat down on the lawn with us.

As usual, none of us wore shirts during the summer. As soon as the last day of school rolled around, summer attire switched from school clothes to faded 501 Levis, bare backs and raunchy tennis shoes filled with athletes foot ridden feet. Except for Sunday, our shirts would seldom grace our bodies again until school arrived in the fall. You can imagine the tans we would get.

I don't know how the conversation rolled around to exercise but it seemed to come out of nowhere. Bobby asked, "I hear you've been working out Larry. Let's see how strong you are." He then proposed that we have an arm wrestle.

"Oh, no, I haven't been doing anything," I stammered with a mixture of embarrassment and confusion as to what to do. I didn't want to arm wrestle Bobby Burton, the home run king, and have my knuckles buried up to my elbow in the lawn, especially in front of my jeering friends. But on the other hand, I had noticed myself getting stronger and I was curious as to what I could do against another person. I wasn't sure I wanted my opponent to be so formidable though.

No sooner did Bobby hurl down the gauntlet than the other guys began to egg me on.

"Come on, Scott. Let's see what you can do."

I suppose they had seen some change in my attitude and some muscle beginning to appear. They wanted to see a contest of the champ vs. the upstart.

We rolled over on our stomachs and began to test each others mettle. I struggled for a moment or two, but eventually Bobby beat me. Right at the peak of effort when the veins in my head were transforming me into a Martian creature, Larry Halford yelled out, "Hey, look at his muscle!" Having a death stare already fixed on my biceps, I blinked the glaze off my lens and noticed it was sticking up! As a matter of fact, it was sticking up further than I had ever seen it.

Everyone forgot about who won, it being a foregone conclusion, and began to ask me what I was doing to build muscle. "Oh, nothing," I lied. Just a few exercises here and there," I said, pleased with the attention, but not wanting to reveal my secret. After what seemed forever the last of my friends left and I rushed out to the root cellar and the tractor axle. I began to train like a demon, spurred on my the comments of my friends.

My body and brain throbbed with the experience. I had almost beaten Bobby Burton! I couldn't believe it. Not only had I done much better than anyone had expected, I had been the center of attention. They had asked me, little skinny me, for advice on how to get bigger. They really wanted to know. They were not just being polite. They were impressed. I hadn't actually realized it but my arms were bigger. I had been so close to it all, seeing my own image day after day that I hadn't been able to notice the difference. There was no mistaking how impressed the guys were, though.

I told myself, "I am going to train so hard nothing is going to stop me." I felt all my energy focused into one objective. I knew what I wanted. I wanted to be loved, and looked up to. Now, after all these years of being unrecognized I had found a way to do it. I was going to use bodybuilding to capture the things in life I so desperately wanted and felt I was lacking.

I could hardly wait for school to start. I worked out like crazy each day and never would have considered missing a workout. In fact, I had to restrain myself from working out too much. My enthusiasm was miles ahead of my body's ability to keep pace. I hungered for more size. The days ticked by but they were full of excitement. Hot summer days gave way to cool Autumn evenings. Bare backs were covered with shirts and it was time for my senior year to begin. For the first time that I could remember I was excited for school to begin.

By this time, Don and I had graduated from the crude contraptions at home to the crude contraptions in the local YMCA. As I see it now, there really wasn't much equipment at the Y, but for us it was a treasure. They only had a couple of benches and some barbells and dumbbells. We continued to read the Weider magazines and felt we needed more exercise equipment. Lacking any funds, we tried to make a few machines, but after we tore part of the ceiling down trying to attach a homemade calf machine, Mr. Glover, the manager and town grouch, threatened to give us the boot if we didn't stop destroying YMCA property. Rather than being exiled to the root cellar, we managed to limp by with just barbells and dumbbells.

My mother was quite supportive of my efforts and bought me several colored, skin-tight tee shirts to wear to school. My dad, on the other hand, thought it was all a bunch of nonsense. With my form fitting tee shirts and a little sneak flexing I began to get more attention than I had ever gotten in all my other high school years put together. Admittedly, most of it was because of the peculiar way I walked with my lats flexed and my arms out to my sides. I didn't care if others made fun. Any kind of attention was better than not being noticed at all.

My home on 205 East Eldredge Street was three miles away from school and I didn't have a car. Only the rich kids or those with jobs had cars, so I was resigned to being a lowly bus student. The buses always arrived at sch 20 or 30 minutes before school started so we would occupy ourselves by hanging out in the halls or taking the main hall tour several times. Each morning before our first class period most of the students would cruise up and down the main hall until the first bell rang. I would wear my form fitting tee shirts, with my lats flexed a little, and parade along with the flow of traffic, basking in the added attention I was getting.

Poky High had and still has a tradition of recognizing certain individuals in the graduating class. The student body selected those they felt were the most likely to succeed, best looking, best athlete, best built senior and a lot of other recognition awards. Guess which one I had my sights set on.

Gene Hancock was the acknowledged front runner for best built senior. As I remember, all through high school he had a great physique. Gene had one of those naturally good bodies that came without ever hitting the weights. The year before, I would never have considered in even my wildest imagination that I would be running for best built senior. However, as the year progressed my body continued to grow, with arms proving to be my best body part.

Gene ended up getting more votes than I did. So I lost my first contest. I was a little disappointed, but my arms were taping a full 14.5" pumped, and I was moving ahead with a determination I had never before experienced. I didn't really care if I lost to him. I could see the difference in my body with a year of training under my belt. Furthermore, even Gene was beginning to ask me questions about bodybuilding.

One day Ross Rytting, one of my friends, said, "Your arms are getting bigger, but what the purpose of all this training anyway?"

"I want to become Mr. America," I blurted out in a moment of reckless abandon.

"You can never become Mr. America. Those guys are big and besides your shoulders are too narrow. It takes a guy with broader shoulders to ever win Mr. America. You better give up. You're wasting your time."

I listened without a sound in reply. Each of his words stabbed into my heart and turned my face white with fear. It was the same sort of pain I had felt all during my adolescent years. "You are a nobody [Yes, My Name is Nobody]. You will never amount to anything. You are a small, puny kid with no potential. It haunted me. The pain of criticism cut so deep the wound wouldn't heal. I could feel it build a smoldering resolve within me. Not the kind which could be vented with a sudden outburst of rage, but a secret kind of fire which I took home, ate dinner with, and slept with. I kept it with me, not even acknowledging its existence to myself. I basically led a carefree life and tried not to think about things that hurt.

But when I entered the gym and felt the cold steel of a barbell in my palms the hidden hunger came to the surface. Then the demon of frustrated anguish was unleashed. Only the pain of exercise could make me forget the fear of not being able to reach my physical goals. I would leave the gym exhausted. As my pump and the full feeling gradually diminished, the fear of falling back to being a nobody would slowly raise its head again. It made missing a workout unbearable.

Having graduated from good old Poky High, the next year found both Don and I enrolled at Idaho State College, majoring in Physical Education, allegedly to become coaches.

Somehow, I really couldn't get my teeth into preparing to become a coach. I was concerned with my own ignorance of bodybuilding but, compared to the Phys. Ed. instructors I was a genius. Other than not knowing how to build muscle, they still believed the muscle would turn to fat if you ever stopped training. I began to realize my home state was not going to provide me with the resources I needed to continue to make progress.

By this time, as the end of the month rolled around, I was making several trips a week to Marie's Magazine Shop to latch on to any new information in the next issue of Muscle Builder magazine. I was drinking in every word of print. I don't know whether I was more interested in the workout routines, the physiques, or the vision of me basking on the beaches in sunny California while hoards of beautiful women fought over me and my incredible physique.

Each time the magazines came out I became more informed, and at the same time more confused. I didn't know what I was doing.

It gradually dawned on me. I would have to leave Idaho if I was ever going to get anywhere in bodybuilding . . .


Ben Helfgott: The Story of One of the Boys

"This is not just the story of another Holocaust survivor. After all, very few survivors would, just a few years after liberation, become Olympic athletes. It is a story Michael Freedland tells after dozens of interviews with Ben himself, as well as with members of his family, fellow survivors, and residents of his old home town in Poland. Ben grew up in a small Polish town, Pietrkow. His sister, the only other member of his family to survive, said that if she or anyone else needed a protector, Ben was the one to call. When the Nazis came to Pietrkow, his mother and one sister were shot. He and his father managed to survive initilly in the town ghetto by working in a glass factory and a woodwork plant. Before long, they were transported to the infamous Buchenwald concentration camp where his father subsequently died. Taken to Thereisenstadt, Ben was eventually liberated by the Red Army. Before long, he was one of 'The Boys' who came to England. His sporting excellence was recognised when he was selected for two Olympic Games in which he represented Britain as a weightlifter. He became a successful businessman and retired early so that he could make a personal crusade of bringing together other survivors. He founded the famous 45 Aid Society, worked with the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Holocaust Educational Trust. In his mid 80s, Ben is a prominent figure in the Claims Conference, which has awarded billions of dollars to needy survivors. He is a great believer in reconciliation with both Germany and his native Poland and both nations have given him awards in recognition of his work."

Excerpts From Chapter 16 - "Weights" 

Ben Helfgott was not the first Jew to think he could get good at lifting weights - and do very well at it. Until Ben came around the most famous of them was the Pole, Sigmund [Zishe] Breitbart. If that fact surprises, so might the thought of this Jewish strongman also being a Jewish blacksmith. He likely realized that if he could lift a horse's leg, the irons that were the tools of a weight lifter's trade were easy meat. 

In the 1920s Breitbart was regarded as a big star . . . 

. . . Ben, at five-foot, four inches tall, weighing 154 pounds, couldn't compete with Breitbart's achievements, which could be called, in effect, circus shows. What Ben Helfgott had set his sights on was purely sport, one that he took so seriously it was a form of science.

 . . . He was a lightweight (in athletic terms, that is). Prior to a certain meet he had to lose six pounds in three days. "I didn't eat as much." On the Friday before the big competition, he drank three glasses of water, two glasses on the Saturday, and drank or ate nothing on the day of the event until he weighed in. 

Of course, doing without food was no novelty for him. 

But this was different. Just how different he needed to explain . . . 

Chapter 17 - "Olympics" 

When you have done something which you love, you don't stop.
 - Sir Ben Helfgott      


Wednesday, January 23, 2019

How It All Began, Part One - Larry Scott

Note: It seems to me that so many times when a guy first starts out lifting he has this naive, yet very strong passion for the weights. We could all use the occasional reminder of that beautiful, mystical feeling in our training now and then. Back when we did it, and did it 'for the love of it' without concern for a helluva lot else. But there's more to Larry's story here than just the very beginnings, so 

Let's let the Great Scott tell his story . . .

Hidden in a dark corner of the stage, I quietly finished pumping out the last calf raises to put the finishing touches on my legs. I was about to step out into the lights in full view of the audience.

As I stood there, I couldn't help but think to myself of past conversations in which my friends told me, "You will never make it in bodybuilding, Larry. You're too small. Try something else."

It seemed so long ago these taunts were thrown at me. A big change had taken place in my physique over the last eleven years. I was no longer the skinny little 120 pound kid from Pocatello, Idaho. I now carried over 200 pounds of hard muscle. My arms were bigger than most men's thighs. My delts stood out like coconuts. I felt ready for my greatest triumph.

"Lar-rie! Lar-rie! Lar-rie!" the crowd chanted. The sound became a deafening roar. The audience roar was so incredible, Betty Weider was heard to say years later, "Never have I seen anything like it. I have seen most of the Mr. Olympia contests and there has never been the kind of audience frenzy the night Larry won the first Olympia. I was really afraid. It was like they were going to get out of control. They were screaming and some were actually crying, trying to get a look at Larry."

I took one step out from the side of the stage into view. A wave of sound crashed into me along with an explosion of flash bulbs. It was hard to believe the response was for me. Tentatively, I made my way across the stage to the posing platform.

"Slowly, slowly," I cautioned myself. Don't appear arrogant. Show a little lack of confidence. No one likes a showoff. I paused, now at the edge of the posing platform, still outside the posing light.

The audience impatience grew to a frenzy. I waited for the intensity to build without it appearing as if I was savoring or doing anything intentional. The delay was to appear as if I was hesitant, that I felt a little unsure. It wasn't hard to convey because I was a little unsure. It wasn't hard to convey because I was a little unsure!

It was finally time. After all the years of hard work I was about to step under the posing light and allow my body to plead for approval. How would they react to what I had done to their hero's body during the last year. I took a deep breath and stepped onto the platform. The mountain of approval rained on my senses. The overhead light cascaded sown on me and fought with the flash bulbs. The fans thundered their gratitude. I hadn't let them down. A special communication bonded us together.

Rather than beginning my posing, I began thanking them. How could I begin posing without first acknowledging my thanks for this expression of love. I smiled at the audience offering my thanks, bowing my head several times. I turned my head with a slight glance to the side and signaled the beginning of the music.

The dramatic but reverent theme to The Ten Commandments was my choice. As this beautiful melody filled the hall I attempted to glorify the male physique. Words can only point to memories. If you were there, you will understand. If you weren't, perhaps this recalling will allow you to enjoy some of it. I floated through my posing routine, thanked the audience again and exited to the curtains of the stage. By the time I had circled the stage, they announced the winner.

My goal was to make this the best night possible for fans and their champion. I believe, it just so happened, that I was chosen to be the one on stage. But like everyone there, I experienced something wonderful that night.

It wasn't just the events of this night that contributed to this unique experience. It was the unfolding of several years that had led up to it.

Let me take a few moments to see if I can explain some of the events that contributed to the success of this particular evening . . .

You see, Larry Scott represented the all American boy image. Years earlier, Milo, my photographer, after spending countless hours trying to get my growing body into exactly the correct pose, observed, "Larry, yours is the all American boy image. Make sure you continue to reinforce this image when you are posing on stage or for the magazines." I listened carefully to his advice. Joe Weider was good to make sure that every picture or piece of print about me helped to reinforce this image.

I stepped into the national limelight by unexpectedly winning the Mr. California title out of nowhere. I suppose the naive little boy from Idaho carried some innocent appeal, something with which everyone could identify. Anyway, almost from nowhere, I was appearing on the covers of several national magazines. There I was, apparently, enjoying the "good life" basking on the sunny beaches of California with pretty girls hanging on to me in every photo. Even though it wasn't actually true, it appeared to be so. It was an image with which every young boy could identify.

The pictures on the covers during the '60s were different than they are today. We didn't have to compete with bold suggestions of how to prolong sexual pleasure etc. The covers featured a healthy boy and girl standing next to each other with a warm but not hot feeling. There was no one tearing the other's clothes off with open panting mouths. My Mormon background fit in perfectly with the lifestyle I was chosen to represent.

After having all this exposure cast in the setting of the carefree and idyllic life in southern California, I traveled to New York City for the Mr. America contest. What a difference! It was awesome, especially for the little kid from Pocatello, Idaho. The place was a forest of buildings in every stage of decay with derelicts, street walkers and panhandlers everywhere. The crowded, rushing masses swarmed on dirty streets with impossible traffic.

It wasn't hard to see why the mentality of the audience at the Brooklyn Academy of Music was different from the laid back southern California crowd. Out on the streets of New York where everyone is elbowing and fighting for space, individual personalities become a blur. Nobody is noticing anyone, be get them off the streets into a fellowship where they are all cheering for their hero and the New York people become electrified. It's almost as if they are venting their frustration at having to suspend human sensitivities while out on the street. Once inside and sheltered, they can show just how much they can feel and show appreciation.

At the time, California audiences were blase, gatherings of bored people. Perhaps it's because their daily activities found them constantly brushing shoulders with movie people in the markets, at employment agencies and on the freeways, so it was no big deal to run across a celebrity. On the other hand, to the audience in Brooklyn, every physique star that strode on stage who had heretofore only been seen in the the pages of the muscle magazine was an impossible dream. Everything they wanted and hoped life would be was standing on stage smiling, proving dreams come true.

It was almost as if they were cheering for themselves and their hopes. In short, the New York audiences were motivated. They made the physique shows like no other shows in the world. For those of us fortunate enough to be setting foot on the stage of the Brooklyn Academy of Music during the 60's it was unreal.

There was little or no money for the winners, but the outpouring of approval made all the years of hard work worthwhile. For someone like myself who came from such a humble beginning physically, it really put stars in one's eyes. You have to remember, I was once a skinny, undernourished, sand-kicked-in-his-face kid.

Standing on the threshold of my greatest physique triumph, it seemed a lifetime ago I had my first experience with weight training. It all began between my junior and senior years in Pocatello High School.

Pocatello is a quiet little town in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, through which the Portneif River meanders on its way to the Snake. Though Pocatello was named after a famous Indian chief, it's frontier beginnings have given way to a little town with big railroad. The Fort Hall Indian Reservation and a few thousand members of the Blackfoot Indian Tribe are all that remain to remind one of its colorful past.

The chief source of interest and excitement for a teenage boy in Pocatello is much the same as every other teenager living in rural America. He wants to be popular with his friends and a hit with the girls. Maybe, some vestige of the wild west still clings to the foothills of Pocatello, for it seemed especially important to be bigger and stronger than anyone else. At least it was in my eyes. I was always smaller than the rest of my friends. I guess the reason I was smaller was because I was almost a year behind everyone else in my class. I was just old enough to make it into the next grade. Being born on Columbus day (Oct. 12) had its advantages because it was easier for others to remember my birthday, but it also meant that most of the fellows in my class had an extra year of growth on me. Not being as big, I tried to console myself with the fact that I was a little faster on my feet. I used this speed to keep me out of the hands of justice on more than one occasion.

Daily summer activity consisted of first getting my chores done. My dad and I traded off milking the cow. He would milk at night and I would get up early to do the morning milking. I would then do my garden weeding and other odd jobs like mowing the lawn and irrigating until about two in the afternoon. Entertainment for a teenager consisted of going to the movies occasionally and running around the neighborhood. We would usually head for the canal and look for suckers or we would go over to old man Corm's place to see if we could sneak in and get some apples without getting caught. If it wasn't apple season we would head for the rodeo grounds or the stockyards to see what other interesting tidbits we could uncover. We got into the same sort of mischief as do most boys our age. Throwing rotten tomatoes at passing cars and running was a favorite. Knocking on doors at night and hiding in the weeds just out of sight was always good for at least one night's entertainment a week. In fact, my young life contained so many of these "rascality" activities that my children often urge me, "Dad, tell us some of the other things that you and Don Williams did as kids. Your life was kind of like Huckleberry Finn's."

Just a Huck Finn had Aunt Polly to keep him in line, I had the Mormon Church to remind me to make right choices. The constant Sunday reinforcement of good moral principles kept the devil in me under some degree of control.

The above diversions were okay for an occasional evening or Halloween's entertainment, as long as I was still in grade school. As I grew older, a strange thing happened to me. I lost interest in getting into trouble and girls started becoming more important in my life. I soon developed a split personality. Part Huckleberry Finn and part 16 year old lecher.

While in grade school I was always smaller than my friends, but I was kind of cute and it was fashionable to be small and cute in grade school. The girls were still playing "house" and a small, cute kid somehow fit in. When junior high came along, however, the guy's voices started to get deeper and they began to grow in height and other places. I was still small, not too cute, and slow in developing everywhere it counted. Seventh grade gym classes with mandatory showers were a torture for us late bloomers.

Of course, all this increased masculinity did not go unnoticed by the girls. Consequently, all the attention I was formerly receiving from some of the more attractive girls began to be directed to the burgeoning athletes. No longer was I the center of attention. Even worse, neither my opinion nor I was considered important. It was a tough time of adjustment. Most of the guys were growing and getting lots of attention from the "pretty" girls, and I was left with the ones no one else would look at.

Gradually in the 7th grade I began to grow. But my rapid spurt of growth stopped far short of the Sir Lancelot I had envisioned myself becoming. It gradually dawned on me that I was not going to become a super jock, or anything else heroic. The only thing I had in common with the studs was pimples and this didn't recapture the attention of anybody. This was a time of frustration and soul searching for me. I could feel the demons of lust after me and I became intensely interested in the opposite sex, but my Mormon training convinced me that pursuing lust wasn't right.Anyway, whatever I did with it, it was to be kept secret under the pretense that it didn't exist. So long as no one knew of the creature I had become, I could still attend church without my Bishop knowing I was turning into a sex maniac.

Falling short of becoming the next Hercules, I had to settle for second or third in everything but "running around" and gymnastics. At least with gymnastics I felt at home. There was something about flipping through the air that matched a body that was shorter and just a shade above skinny. I had pretty much accepted gymnastics as my avenue to glory. I had, that is, until something occurred which changed my entire life.

At this point I was somewhat aware of bodybuilding and those guys with the impossible lumps on their bodies. I found them only mildly interesting because I knew it was an area closed to me. I had this innate feeling I could never develop any muscle on my body. I felt God had singled me out and pushed me off into mortality with a special blessing. "Your position in life is to be the runt of the pack. So don't try to change it."

My dad was six feet tall and strong. I stopped growing at a colossal 5'8" and was skinny to boot. Not only my dad, but most of my uncles on my dad's side were tall and husky; perhaps that is why I felt others could get big but not me.

Then one day, something happened that gave me new direction. It was during the spring of 1955 in my 16th year. I was doing chores around the yard, weeding and cleaning up the clutter of a winter's accumulation of junk. It was our custom to fill the garbage cans with what we could. But if it was too much garbage for the cans to handle, the junk would go in the garbage trailer until it spilled out on the ground. Then we would hook up the car and haul the whole thing off to the city dump. One summer day I applied my usual lackluster effort to a cleanup assignment from my Dad and had filled the trailer to overflowing. I hooked our trusty Packard to the trailer and headed for the dump. Down Eldridge Street past the the Rodeo grounds over the Yellowstone highway then across the canal and there it was in all its beauty: The city dump with its usual bad smells and assortment of accumulated crap.

Having backed up the trailer to what looked like a likely place to deposit our trash, I kicked everything off and cast a look around to see if there was anything I could scrounge. I noticed a pile of magazines not far from where I was parked. Looking around to make sure I hadn't been pinned by the dump boss, who was always quick to make sure you didn't steal any of his treasures, I sauntered over as if I was stretching my legs.

"Man! Field & Stream, Outdoor Life, Bowhunting. What a find!" I glanced around again for the dump bully to see if I had been spotted. So far, so good.

"Must have come from Marie's Book Store. She's the only one cheap enough to tear off the covers so they couldn't be resold," I told myself. Other than the covers being gone they were in perfect condition. I quickly gathered them up, picking out a few of each kind. As I sifted through them, something different popped into view. Can you believe it? It was a Weider magazine way back then! I didn't even know how to pronounce Weider but I had no difficulty appreciating the physique which held me captivated on the first page of that magazine. It was a picture of George Pain (should be "Paine"). I didn't know it at the time but he was doing a side triceps pose. Underneath the picture it said, "You too can have an arm like this if you follow my instruction."

Note: Greater historians than myself have tried to determine what magazine issue Larry refers to here. "It was the spring of 1955." Let's use the whole of 1955's Weider muscle mags as a start point. The cover was removed so we're looking for an issue with George Paine on the first page; let's even go so far as to look for George Paine doing a side triceps in any Weider muscle mag of 1955. Go further and accept ANY George Paine photo in any Weider muscle mag of 1955 . . . we dug around for a while and couldn't really determine which mag this would be. There were several Paine photos and articles in Weider's American Manhood, but that mag only ran from Dec '52 to July '53. We're crazy fools, eh.  But lovin' it nonetheless.

The Great Scott Story continues in Part Two soon.

And a big Thank You to Jim for selling me the source of this material at a price I could actually afford! 


Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Sumo Deadlift Peaking Routine

Here's a few more articles written by Greg Reshel:

Five Part Series on Upper Back Training for Powerlifters -

Masters Training -

"Random" Off-Season Deadlift Routine -

Three Lift "Random" Rotation Routine -

And . . .

Sumo Deadlift Peaking Routine
by Greg Reshel

This routine assumes that you are in solid powerlifting condition. You must be in shape and have a squatting or leg pressing foundation along with chins, high pulls, deadlifts or heavy back bodybuilding. The routine I am outlining for you now is a strenuous peaking routine designed for sumo-style deadlifters. 

You will be training for 10 weeks on this peaking routine. It uses "residual effect" training to first overload your muscles, exhaust your stabilizers, and shock your nervous system. Then, this routine will heal your body while reeducating your system to proper sumo technique and timing. The healing segment of this routine will allow your body to overcompensate, and to gain substantially more strength than otherwise possible in a conventional peaking routine. During the last five weeks of the routine, which is the rest and healing phase, you will feel sore and stiff, and will not be strong. You are always weaker when you are healing. Seemingly light weights will be difficult to accomplish in your work sets. You will have the big push at the meet where it counts.

You will need to stay focused on your goal as you avoid the temptation to test the strength you have gained during the pre-exhaust period so that you can have it all at the meet. After all, the competition is the whole reason for the peaking cycle.

The deadlift poundages are in percentages to make it easy to calculate your specific numbers. You will, as mentioned, train for ten weeks on this routine. Five weeks of pre-exhaust, and five weeks of healing rest.

I will repeat my peaking message here. Be aware that individual leverages differ dramatically, and that you may need to adjust the numbers used for your cycle accordingly. THE PERCENTAGES GIVEN ARE A GUIDELINE. THESE NUMBERS AREN'T CARVED IN STONE. There is no Holy Grail for powerlifters, no secret gimmick that unlocks mystical strength. You must learn your potentials and limitations through trial and error. And then keep working on your weaknesses until your numbers go up.

WORK IS THE KEY. Bust your butt for the first five weeks. Concentrate on technique and timing with full gear for the last five weeks. During these last five weeks you must focus on developing a consistent pattern of setup and delivery, and speed so that you are not thinking of technical details at the meet. The final five week peaking cycle is the time to rehearse your performance technique so that you can do it in your sleep. Stress balance and setup. You cannot lift any weight if you are off balance. Take your time. When you move to pull, you must do so EXPLOSIVELY.   

In the first five weeks, you build power like the torque of a large earth mover. You must focus on developing that raw grunt. During the last five week "rest" peaking phase you must teach yourself the high intensity speed of a sprinter or a drag racer. You must teach yourself, with full gear, to EXPLODE FASTER EACH WEEK WITH RELATIVELY LIGHT WEIGHTS. The combination of speed and grunt will give you tremendous power in the deadlift, especially with the sumo stance. During the peaking cycle eat and rest well as often as possible so that you will be fresh at the meet and hungry to take on the big weights! 

You will train your deadlift two times per week for the entire 10 weeks. It may be easiest to combine the light deadlift day with a heavy squat day, and the heavy deadlift training day with the light squat or leg accessory day.

Training Day #1 - Light Day

Leg Extension, 3 x 15 reps with rhythmic delivery.
Leg Curl, 4 x 12 with increasing weight.
Situp, keep lower legs over a bench with partner sitting on them. If possible, place a dumbbell on your chest to add weight, and do 4 sets of 8 reps. 
Rack Pull, set pins so that the bar is at a height just below your kneecaps. Always push with your head and chest out over the bar. The bar should travel underneath your upper abs with your chest out in front of it during the entire pull. Do not pull back away from the bar but rather drive forward and up into the bar at all times! Loads are percentages of maximum contest deadlift. Follow the chart below: 

First working sets: 
Week 1 - 5 x 5 reps @ 80%
Week 2 - 4 x 4 @ 75%
Week 3 - 6 x 2 @ 85%
Week 4 - 4 x 5 @ 60%
Week 5 - 4 x  2 @ 82%
Week 6 - 5 x 2 @ 74, 78, 82, 86 and 90%
Week 7 - 3 x 3 @ 60%
Week 8 - 4 x 2 @ 75%
Week 9 - 3 x 5 @ 60%
Meet Week - 2 x 6 @ 50%

Second working sets:
Week 1 - 1 x 10 reps @ 70%
Wk. 2 - 1 x 8 @ 80%
3 - 1 x 6 @ 90%
4 - 1 x 10 @ 80%
5 - 1 x 6 @ 100%
6 - 1 x 6 @ 100%
7 - 1 x 10 @ 40%
8 - 1 x 8 @ 50%

Underhand Grip Lat Pulldown, 3 x 10 with moderate weight and no strain. 

Training Day #2: 

Leg Press, 4 x 20 reps fast and light
Deadlift, first five weeks use a belt only, and pull in a narrow stance conventional or nearly stiff-legged style. The last five weeks use full gear and pull sumo style. Use a stop watch the last five weeks to push your timing faster each week. Follow chart below: 

First working sets:
Week 1 - 5 x 5 @ 70%
Week 2 - 6 x 4 @ 75%
Week 3 - 6 x 3 @ 80%
Week 4 - 4 x 5 @ 75%
Week 5 - 4 x 4 @ 82%
Week 6 - 5 x 1 @ 64%
Week 7 - 6 x 1 @ 64%
Week 8 - 7 x  1 @ 64%
Week 9 - 8 x 1 @ 64%
Meet Week - Open @ 92%

Second working sets: 
Week 1 - 1 x 10 reps @ 60%
Wk. 2 - 1 x 8 @ 64%
3 - 1 x 6 @ 70%
4 - 1 x 10 @ 60%
5 - 1 x 8 @ 64%
6 - 1 x 6 @ 70%
7 - 1 x 10 @ 60%
8 - 1 x 6 @ 75%, 2nd @ 103%, 3rd @ 110%

Decline Situp, 4 x 6 reps with slow descent and weight added to chest if possible.
Dumbbell Shrug, 5 x 12 with moderate weight.


Monday, January 21, 2019

Les Hasler Deadlift Routine

Click to ENLARGE

Hepburn Challenge: From Sept. 1996 PLUSA.
The Doug's date of birth: Sept. 16, 1926.

Les Hasler deadlifting 705 in 1989
at Garry Benford's YMCA Nationals. 

The Deadlift is the King of the three competitive lifts. Whereas in the squat and bench press a person can use supportive equipment that takes three men and a boy to get on. The deadlift is a lift you can either do or can't do. The deadlift relies on a person's strength, rather than hi-tech equipment. As the saying goes, "the meet don't start until the weight hits the floor."

I have used various training methods over the years to improve my deadlift numbers. They have ranged from Vince Anello's program, where one does several singles with a short rest period

to high rep sessions.

The program I have used over the past several years is working up to a best triple a week before the meet. This routine brought me up to my present best meet deadlift of 735 pounds. A set of three should translate into approximately 75 pounds more for a single. If you can triple 600 comfortably, you should be able to pull 675 for a single in the meet.

I normally run a 12-16 week cycle, deadlifting once a week. As a warmup for the dead, I will do some light squats working up to 325 for a set of 5. I do a total of 5 sets in the deadlift as I feel that is enough work considering I squat twice a week which can stress the lower back.

As an assistance to the deadlift, I do rack pulls from the knee. I keep my feet narrow and do no more than three sets, keeping the reps VERY low as you can quickly overtrain. Do rack pulls every two weeks on your heavy squat day and pull about 150 over your deadlift weight for the week for a set of three, until two weeks out from the meet, where you will pull a single.

Take whatever time is necessary for stretching before AND after your workout. Do lots of weighted crunches as I feel strong stomach muscles work synergistically with a strong back. Finally, I like to do heavy arm curls to keep the biceps from possibly tearing during the deadlift.

In order to get a 600 lb. deadlift during a meet, this is the program I would recommend. I use straps the last six weeks on my last set because I do not want to worry about my grip. I just want to get the reps. This will not affect your grip during the meet.

You will notice that during the last few weeks there are big jumps in the weights, however, the reps are cut way down by the time you get to the last week to give your back plenty of recovery.

Good Luck!

Remember . . .

In Powerlifting, Less is More.

Week 12:
145x 10, 225x7, 275x5, 325x3, 360x10.
Rack Pulls (on heavy squat day): 525x3.

Week 11:
145x 10, 225x7, 275x5, 325x3,, 375x10.

Week 10:
145x 10, 225x7, 295x5, 345x3, 390x8.
Rack Pulls (on heavy squat day): 555x3.

Week 9:
145x 10, 225x7, 295x5, 345x3, 405x8.

Week 8:
145x 8, 225x7, 305x4, 365x3, 420x6.
Rack Pulls (on heavy squat day): 585x3.

Week 7:
145x8, 225x6, 315x4, 365x3, 435x6.

Week 6: 
145x8, 225x6, 315x4, 375x3, 450x5.
Rack Pulls (on heavy squat day): 605x2.

Week 5:
145x8, 235x6, 325x4, 405x3, 435x5.

Week 4:
145x7, 235x6, 325x3, 415x2, 480x4.
Rack Pulls (on heavy squat day): 635x2.

Week 3:
145x7, 245x5, 335x2, 425x1, 495x4.

Week 2:
145x6, 245x4, 335x2, 435x1, 510x3
Rack Pulls (on heavy squat day): 665x1.

Week 1:
145x6, 245 x3, 345x1, 445x1, 525x3.

Opener: 500
Second: 550
Third: 600. 


Formulating Your First Training Program

Originally Published in This Issue (Feb/March 1968)
Article Courtesy of Liam Tweed

Note: Harvey Keith, author of this article, operated a gym with Steve Davis (Valencia Health Club?) and produced a large output of training literature on various topics. Ah, the problems of cooperation in a business venture sometimes, eh. Here's an interesting piece on the hows and whys of beginner training that might be of use to you at some point now or later.

I have often stated that the first two years of training are the most critical. Many trainees have been forced to spend years trying to correct the physique flaws that they mistakenly attained in their early years of bodybuilding. Under-trained calves, thickened obliques, a neglected lower back, or overdeveloped trapezius can take years of selective training to overcome.

To create a truly high quality physique, you must be willing to make a definite and total commitment. I am deluged with a constant stream of letters from novice bodybuilders who are in a quandary as to which path to follow. These young trainees are besieged with a morass of conflicting training philosophies and high pressure sales techniques, offering promises of "miraculous" overnight improvement.

Our "New Breed" training regimen is based on several intrinsic qualities. We have tested these methods on ourselves and our students with remarkable success.

The first factor is intensity. You must keep your training sessions going at a good pace. Rest no more than 15 to 45 seconds between each set. Muscle growth is best stimulated by a given amount of work done in a reasonably short period of time.

The second factor we rely on is quality. Each repetition of a specific movement must be executed as perfectly as possible. There is no place for "cheating" in bodybuilding, but this looser style of training should be intentional. A novice bodybuilder should employ "cheating" methods only after mastering the technique of doing the movement perfectly.

Another training principle we place great stress on is contraction. Each muscle should be tensed consciously at the completion of each repetition. Don't allow the weight to "fall" back into place after a movement. Slowly lower the bar back to the starting position in a controlled manner. Get a good rhythmic set going by choosing your exercise poundages properly. Don't confuse training at a good brisk pace to "flying" through your sets with sloppy motions.

Before designing your first training program, you must determine into which physical category you belong. These are the three basic metabolic types:

Type I - Ectomorph - This first body type is usually tall, always thin and highly nervous. Ectomorphs have a great deal of trouble gaining weight.

Type II - Mesomorph - This is the most common physical type. His metabolism may allow him to gain or lose bodyweight at will, depending on the combination of food and supplements he ingests.

Type III - Endomorph - This last body type is the "stocky" type that gains weight very easily. The endomorph must be especially selective of his choice of exercises and pay strict attention to his dietary program.

Of course, there are a vast spectrum of graduations of each of these metabolic types. Often they border and overlap each other. The total possibilities of the human metabolism are almost infinite. Each of the three basic types has very different nutritional and training requirements. In my experience, the best approach to total body training for the beginner is to train from the bottom (lower body) up. Most rank amateurs disdain leg work in favor of training the showier muscles like the pectorals or biceps. The legs and lower back should always be trained proportionately to attain the look of total symmetry. Begin your training session with abdominal work. This acts as a light warmup and allows the bodybuilder to "get the blood flowing."

Exercises should be divided into three essential groups. The first are called basics or builders. When referring to the basic movements, one usually means one of the following:

Squat, bench press, overhead press, strict curl, rowing, triceps extension, deadlift, calf raise, reverse curl. There are many variations of each of these.

The second group of essential movements are called "shapers." They are designed to add shape to the mass built through the basic builders. Some of these include:

Chins of various types, dips, flyes, lateral raises, dumbbell curls, leg extensions, leg curls, hyperextensions, good mornings, upright rows, lat pulldowns, and various pulley rows. There are many more too numerous to mention in this space.

The third group of exercises are the "polishers." These movements are designed to render finishing touches and defined delineation to the various muscle groups. Some of the more popular of these are:

Concentration curls, pulley crushes, one dumbbell triceps extensions, pulley curls, spider curls, nd reverse wrist curls.

Your first routine should consist mainly of the first group, the basics. Some shapers are sometimes necessary, for the endomorph especially.

The second routine should add a shaping movement for each group.

When formulating your third routine, a polisher may be added.

Each of these routines should last for a six week duration.

Strive to build up weight in each movement, thus increasing your own basic power. Remember, our primary goal is to build shapely, well proportioned, quality muscle. Bear in mind that heredity plays an important part in determining the end result of your bodybuilding efforts. A person has already formed the amount of muscle cells he will have by the age of two. Different people are endowed with vastly different muscular and skeletal structures. Not everyone is equipped at birth to become a top physique champion. Yet, every trainee can improve and reach the peak of his own physical potential.

Here is the basic design of your first six weeks of training. For the first week (a total of three workouts), do only one set per exercise. Concentrate on proper form and rhythm. Learn to focus your complete attention on the muscle group you are currently training. Think of each bodypart as a bicycle tube you are seeking to inflate.

Ectomorphs should use 8 repetitions on all movements except for abs and calves.

Mesomorphs use 10 repetitions.

Endomorphs may use 12-15 reps.

Abs and calves remain the same for all three groups. These areas are denser and more fibrous. For your second week of training do two sets on each movement. Your third week should find you doing three sets of each exercise. Remain at three complete sets for two full weeks. Once having mastered three sets you should strive to add five pounds weekly on each exercise. Another two weeks should consist of four sets and more weight additions. The next eight to ten weeks should add a shaping movement to each body part.

Training Routine I - The Ectomorph

1) Diet - An ectomorph must eat a fairly balanced diet. He should emphasize proteins, but also be sure to assimilate fats (via raw dairy products) and carbohydrates derived from unrefined sugars and natural sources, such as fruits and vegetables. Don't attempt to gain weight through ingestion of junk foods. These refined starches will not add solid muscular weight.

2) Regulate Your Life - Get plenty of sleep. Try to train at the same time each day.

3) Remain Calm - Emotional stress is the ectomorph's greatest enemy. Free your mind from anxieties and emotional upheavals before training. Meditation often helps.

4) Think Positive - Form a good mental picture of your eventual goals. Positive energy yields positive results.


Abdominals -
Partial Roman chair situps.

Calves -
Seated calf raise - rise completely on the toes for complete contraction, then stretch for full extension. If this piece of apparatus is unavailable, do standing raises or donkey calf raises.   

Thighs -
Parallel squats with heels on 2" block. Don't lock the knees at the top of the movement nor descend past parallel.

Lower Back -
Stiff-legged deadlift off bench.      

Chest -
Bench press - keep the bar high on the chest. Don't bounce the weight. Maintain buttocks on bench.

Transition -
One dumbbell pullover across bench - transferring blood from chest to back.

Lats -
Lat machine pulldowns or barbell rowing motion.

Shoulders -
Press behind neck non-lock at top.

Triceps -
Lying EZ Bar triceps extension.

Biceps -
Strict curl, keep the arms parallel to the sides. 

Forearms -
Reverse curl.

Type II - Mesomorph

The mesomorph should limit his carbohydrate intake to 40-60 grams per day until he removes the excess subcutaneous fat from his body. Acquire a carbohydrate counter. Follow the same general training concepts as your ectomorphic counterpart. Strive for proper form and intensity. The mesomorph must reduce his body to a state of "total muscularity" before seeking to gain weight.

Abs -
Hanging knee-up; partial Roman chair situp; incline leg raise; seated twists, 1 set 100 reps.

Calves -
Seated raise, the same rules apply to all three types for calf work.

Thighs -
Front squats or hack squats; leg curls.

Lower Back -
Hyperextension or stiff-legged deadlift.

Chest -
Bench press to neck non-lock.

Transition -
One dumbbell pullover.

Lats -
Lat pulldown or wide grip chin.

Shoulders -
Fore-and-aft presses or lateral raises.

Triceps -
Lying extensions of triceps pull (if this equipment is available).

Biceps -
Incline dumbbell curl on 45-degree angle.

Forearms -
Reverse preacher curl.

Type III - Endomorph

Of all the body types the endomorph has his work truly cut out for him. Yet endomorphs usually exhibit superior calf development. The endomorph must pay special attention to his diet. He must seek to muscularize his entire physique before he reaches the intermediate level of his bodybuilding career. Endomorphs usually have the greatest difficulty in ridding their bodies of the fatty deposits that store in the lower back, lower abs, sides, and pecs. He must approach these areas with specialized zeal and intensity. His routine should be based on the following movements. An endomorph must be very selective in his choice of exercises. The movements that tend to widen the hips or buttocks (such as full squats or heavy leg presses) must be totally avoided. Size will not be his problem. He must aim his training at shape and quality of tissue.

The endomorph must constantly watch his carbohydrate intake. After years of training and dieting he may gain more leeway. Keep the carbohydrates restricted severely. Fats should also be diminished. His dietary emphasis should remain on white meats (chicken, turkey, fish).

Abs -
Hanging knee up; partial Roman chair situp; incline leg raise (avoid side bends); seated twists - 5 minutes straight.

Calves -
Standing raise.

Thighs -
Hack squat - leg extension - leg curl - use specially high reps in these movements, sets of 15-20.

Lower Back -
a) Stiff-legged deadlift or good mornings
b) Hyperextensions, work up to maximum reps.

Chest -
Dumbbell incline (40 degree angle) press, work for maximum safe stretch on each rep
Dumbbell flye, again stretch the pecs. SAFELY.

Avoid pullovers as most endomorphs tend to be barrel chested types.

Back -
Wide grip pulldown, seek to stretch the shoulders through this movement. Concentrate on a full distention of the shoulder blades (scapulae).

Shoulders -
Non-lock dumbbell presses, held at the sides of the shoulders to emphasize the lateral (side) head of the delt.

Triceps -
Lying triceps extensions, do sets of 12.

Biceps -
Incline dumbbell curl, concentrate on contraction.

Forearms -
Reverse curl with EZ Bar.

I have tried to set down some basic precepts that have proven useful in setting up initial training programs for the three body types. The rules are not universal. You must analyze your own body type and particular needs.   


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