Tuesday, October 29, 2019

A New Method for Developing Amazing Strength - G.I. Nathanson

Article Courtesy of Joe Roark

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Article originally published in Iron Man, May-June 1950. 
Bud Counts on the cover.

Peary Rader - We are indeed gratified with the reception that has been given this department ["Research Department"] by our readers. We receive a flood of letters voicing your approval and acceptance of this great work and offering your services in any way we can use them. Thank you very much. We will do the utmost to advance the science of body building through the efforts of this department and the cooperation of you our readers and our biggest help.

Many men are experimenting with the material presented in this department and are receiving amazing results - especially in problem cases of those who have been at a standstill for some time. You have made improvements on suggestions and have helped to still further develop our work.

The Rosenberg [name later changed to Charles Ross?] "Rest Pause" system has been especially successful and many letters attest to this fact. Following is only one of many picked at random: 

Dear Sir: 

As a reader of Iron Man magazine and a great believer in the things it teaches, I've decided to write and tell you of the gains I have made in the "rest pause" system of training. In the last issue of Iron Man, I read about the course Mr. Lubowicki outlined, based on this system. Another fellow and I train at a local YMCA and decided to try it as written. Both of us were at a standstill and had been for a long time. In fact I hadn't gained in spite of everything for about two years.

We have been on this course now for about one-and-a-half months. I gained 10 pounds of weight in this time with an overall increase in measurements but most noticeably in the chest. My training partner is gaining also but not quite as fast as I am. This letter may mean nothing to you but I decided to write and let you know what I think of the "Rest Pause" system and "Iron Man." 

Bud Weber

If you to have succeeded with some of the suggestions appearing in the Research Dept. you can aid us in our work by sending detailed reports on your programs and progress. Or if you have failed we'd like to hear from you also for we realize that there are bound to be failures. We are seeking a true science of body culture - something that is positive. We would be false to our game were we to say that what we teach is the best - or that it is perfect and that there is no room for improvement. We admit we may be wrong at times and we make mistakes. We are relying on you, our readers, to point out these mistakes by your reported experiments so that we can add your findings to the fund of knowledge we are accumulating. We will report the more pertinent findings in Iron Man. If at times things seem to move a little slow, have patience. It takes time to make many of these experiments.

by G.I. Nathanson

The Author
George Irving Nathanson

 Many of you who have read the articles of J.C. Hise, have at times noticed a man referred to as GIN. This young man's name is George Irving Nathanson. He lives in New York City and has carried on much study and experimentation in the past few years. Some of his findings and the results of his experiments should be of great interest to our readers. We hope that you will try these ideas out and report to us the results that you receive. 

This presentation may be completely new to you but we hope that you will give it a trial and report the results to us. We are presenting Mr. Nathanson's material as we received it in letters he wrote us when we asked him for more material on his experiments. We were prompted to ask for this after hearing that he had done a two arm push of 300 pounds at 150 pounds bodyweight. We subsequently learned from Mr. Nathanson that he actually weighed 160 at the time. We had to beg him for some time before he was willing to send us a list of his feats of strength to which he had witnesses who are willing to substantiate his feats. 

Dear Mr. Rader; 

I have long been a reader of your publication "Iron Man" and appreciate its contents because of its progressive policy. Since the advent of your research department I have closely watched the different presentations with interest. 

I feel that I have something to contribute that may be of great value to the game. I have just begun to realize the possibilities of what I'm about to tell you and have written J.C. Hise my theories and he sincerely feels it has great value. It is still more or less in the experimental stage and its principles relate to a great increase of strength in a very short time.   

Muscular growth is affected although this was not my aim when I started. I was interested only in a great increase of strength.

I thank you for your invitation to present my ideas in your magazine and will also from time to time send you reports of my other experiments in this line. I have much that I believe to be of value to the readers. There is so much that is not generally known about body culture and the development of great strength. 

For instance, the training methods of William Boone were known to me seven years ago and by following them I was able to perform strength feats that no other 16 year old boy ever performed before.

 William Boone

Note: Here's a little bit about William "Bill" Boone, authored by Donald Pfeiffer in 1983. I would like to put up more on this lifter, and will do so in the very near future. 
No. Not yet.  

"Like Bob Peoples, Bill's program was hindered by the fact that he was engaged in hard physical labor. In Bill's case it was drilling water wells, a job that often required that he work 10-12 hours a day, 6-7 days a week.

In 1947, Bill faced Bob Peoples in an historic deadlifting competition. Despite having a weight disadvantage of 100 lbs. he was still unable to beat Bob. This does not mean that Boone was an inferior deadlifter, he merely lost to the world's best amateur deadlifter. Eventually, Bill was able to exceed 700 lbs. 

One of his favorite techniques was to dig a hole and place the barbell on the outside while he would stand on the inside. Initially the hole was of such a depth that a complete deadlift involved only an inch or two of movement. Every workout he would add a couple of shovels of dirt. He would continue this until he was able to perform a complete deadlift. The effectiveness of this method was due to the fact that the increase in intensity (range of movement in this case) was so minimal that his body experienced no difficulty in adapting to the new level of stress. 

Do you have trouble holding on to the bar when performing heavy deadlifts? William Boone did, but unlike most powerlifters he did something about it. He found that the best way to improve grip strength was to use bars with a larger diameter. He eventually worked up to a 3-inch bar with which he could deadlift 525 lbs. Personally, I find that using thick handled bars is the best way to improve your grip strength and it would behoove anyone interests in improving their deadlift to use this technique.

Another favorite training technique of his was to perform his deadlifts while standing on boxes. This extended [deficit] deadlift enabled him to develop great starting power in the deadlift."



The above subtitle may scare some of you, but I find it necessary to use such an expression for I have found no limit thus far to a man's strength. I do not wish to claim that this is the answer to everyone who would acquire great strength. I am only presenting this theory because of its logic and because remarkable results have been obtained by those who have tried it thus far. It has afforded many times greater gains in strength for my friends and I than any other systems. It may not be the absolute way to great strength but for the present it is the best I have been able to find.


The principle which governs the efficiency of a muscle in regard to ultimate effort is based upon the variances in the feeling of pressure of the objective resultant in the cerebellum and the muscles in operation. The discharged impulse from the brain must be sufficient (and there is a limit in this respect) to get through the afferent nerve blocks that are set up by a state of sensitivity.

Note: Afferent neurons are sensory neurons that carry nerve impulses from sensory stimuli towards the central nervous system and brain. 

The degree of performance of muscles is based on the sensitivity of the nerve cells in the muscles and the cerebellum. If pressure of voltage based on sensitivity is too high then the impulses from the cerebellum cannot get through. 

If the pressure impulses in the muscles that are operating are too great (they are rapidly shooting back to the brain at approximately the same time the brain has discharged them) the impulse never reaches the muscle cells with the same strength it started with because at the synapse (nerve junction) it is met by impulses of greater sensitivity. This clash probably exists at the cerebellum. 

This is why it is easier to concentrate and exert ultimate effort with light weights such as Pedersen uses. With heavy weights it is much harder to contract to the ultimate hence the necessity for several reps for hypertrophy. With light weights it is much easier to make ultimate contraction and extension. 

In other words, with ultimate exertion with heavy weights you have a clash of the efferent [from the CNS to the muscles) and afferent (from the stimulus to the CNS) impulses at the synapse nearest the muscle in operation. Whichever one gets through determines the success or failure of the muscle action.  
The physical Yogin [Hatha yoga master], I have been told, can control the ingoing impulses to the brain which weaken or destroy the discharged strength of ganglion in the cerebellum through immersion of added blood at the muscle, thereby numbing and lessening the sensitivity and quick removal of toxins by increased heart rate. Muscles will contract providing the impulses get through. 

You do have a sticking point and at this sticking point it is the muscle that is isolated. Desensitization is your aim therefore. How to do this will be discussed later. 


Editor's Note [Peary Rader]: The average reader will probably know as much about the theory after he reads the foregoing as when he started. What he is really interest in is what to do, so that he can start doing it. The following tells you how to apply the theory. Most of us are not interested in why a thing works, our primary concern is - does it work? And how do I do it

Movements which respond best are the short, straight, simple movement such as the curl, press, squat, and dead lifts. Such movements as the clean, snatch, and jerks cause more cerebral fatigue and do not work out as well. 

The reps to be used vary with the individual (I am referring to sets and please read carefully what I mean by sets). 

Only one movement can be used at a time. That is, if you wish to increase your pressing strength you will practice only the press during this specialization period; no other exercising should be done.

This system is only ONLY for the man who wants super strength and it is for ADVANCED MEN ONLY. Beginners should leave it alone as it is extremely strenuous. 

It likewise is not for the working man unless he wishes to quit his job while specializing or wishes to greatly modify the program in which case the results would not be so great - or if he wants to give up his weekends for exercising and sleeping. 

Work out ONLY 3 TIMES IN 2 WEEKS. Then follow this by one week layoff from all workouts; then do another 3 workouts in 2 weeks, and so on. 

The number of sets or reps varies with the individual. Some can stand more than others. However, the sets must be kept relatively high. 

I used 100 sets of one rep each with 220 pounds in the press. (Some would call this 100 reps rather than sets.). I took one minute rest between each set (or rep). For such lifts as the squat or press you will probably find it necessary to have strong, steady racks for the bar. 

It will take 2 to 3 hours for such a workout.


I usually slept for about 18 hours after a workout, and on subsequent days from 12 to 13 hours. This sleep is as important as the exercise. 

My press went up 10 pounds per workout until I hit a down surge. That is why I suggest a week layoff.

This program did not greatly increase my development but it did make me very muscular and strong.

Again, let me repeat that this is not a program for beginners. Also be sure that you get the recommended ample rest and lots of deep sleep.

I have no desire to publicize my strength feats as they will not be believed anyway. I will, however, state that the following feats were performed before witnesses who are available at any time. I have performed many more feats but without but without witnesses so I do not list them here. 

Most of these feats were performed about four years ago. 

Much of this strength is a result of training with the system used by William Boone.


At 14 years of age I continentaled to shoulders a poundage of 300 while weighing 140 pounds.

At the age of 16 I did a curl of 220.

Also at 16 and 160 pounds bodyweight I did a one legged squat (full) with a 200 pound dumbbell.

At the same age and weight I did a push press of 300 pounds (this was not a strict press but just a rough heaving press).

At 18 and 175 bodyweight, I did this same style press 8 reps with 300 pounds.

At 17 and 175 bodyweight I did 20 consecutive full squats with 415 pounds.     

Also at 17, and 180 bodyweight, I did a press behind neck with 150 pounds for 35 reps in succession and a two arm curl with 130 for 35 consecutive reps (the last 10 with back bend). 

Also at that age and weight 50 reps of parallel squats with 330.

The heaviest I ever weighed was 210 at 5'9" and it varies a great deal from time to time.

I am now experimenting on the Abele leg and back program and will let you know the results I get. 

More on that here:

In my developmental programs the squat was my basic exercise. Before I started squatting my gains were not controllable. I will send program and principles of growth in a few weeks.

I sincerely hope that this material will be of some value. 

EDITOR'S NOTE [Peary Rader]: This system outlined might be roughly termed an advanced rest pause system, but you will notice the rest pause is longer - one minute compared to 3-6 seconds - and that the reps are higher - 100 compared to 12 - and that you use but one exercise compared with several in the Rosenberg method. 

Also that you work out less frequently and require more rest and sleep. 


Many of you have asked time after time for more works from Hise. He has recently written us of another exercise of the shrug family that he has been experimenting with. 

Here it is.

He calls it the Shrug Press. You press a weight much below your best press overhead and while slightly on the balls of your feet you do deep breathing with a slight shrug. 

This is supposed to be a fine exercise for lifting the chest and also an excellent postural exercise. We do not know its value but give it to you to work on if you wish to.

More from Hise later. He has several new or revived and improved ideas that we know to be of great value from experience. No room for it this issue though.    

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