Monday, August 31, 2020

Taito Haara - Terry Todd (1978)

Article Courtesy of Liam Tweed

One of the most exciting things about a world's championship is the sight and sound of men from many nations mingling in the lobby of whatever hotel they happen to inhabit. To be in on the picture-taking, the verbal and nonverbal communication, and the exchanging of addresses and routines makes an old dyed deep down in the wool powerlifting fan like me almost terminally happy. The mood is a mixture of pre-contest tension, culture shock and simple euphoria and only a few truly unusual men have the physical presence to diffuse the mood and attract the attention of such a group of athletes. 

Larry Pacifico and Ron Collins, of course, are two such men - both having become almost mythical through their years of victory - and when either of them enters the lobby all eyes are drawn to him. And naturally, when Don Reinhoudt lumbers majestically through, smiling and waving and being careful not to accidentally squash someone or knock the wall down, all conversation ceases. But other than Doug Young, with his unbelievable physique and his dark and brooding demeanor, no one else seems to be able to command the attention of a lobby full of national and world record holders and champions. 

At least no one had until last year when Taito Haaro walked in, bearing his 280 lbs lightly and purposefully across the lobby of Hotel Yorktown. 

Many of us, of course, knew of his great career in Olympic lifting 

his two Olympiads (including the most recent one in Montreal), his silver medal in the snatch in the heavyweight class a few years ago and his many records in Scandinavia in both Olympic and Powerlifting - but we would have been impressed even so, because Haara really looked the part of a strength athlete as he moved with heavy grace toward the registration desk.

After having seen him, all of us were anxious to watch him lift - to see for ourselves is he would fulfill the promise of that first night in the lobby. And he did not disappoint, making all nine lifts to win a second place with a fine total of 2038.75 lbs via 793.5/473.75/771.5. His 793.5 squat was the second highest in the meet, only Reinhoudt's 859.75 being heavier - and it was beautifully done, deep and powerful. 

Face it - even those of us who understand, appreciate, and approve of a hiplock. borderline squat are STILL impressed by a rock bottom, narrow stance, flatbacked squat with a heavy weight. And that's what Haara gave us. 

After the contest, I spoke to Timo Kekkonen, another big Finn who often travels with the team and I asked him to take some training photos of Haara and get his routine and to send the material to me so that I could present it here. And so, a few days ago, when I walked up past the barn to my mailbox, I was pleased to find a thick packet of information and photos, postmarked from Finland.

It turns out that Haara is 34 years old and lives in the town of Lahti, where he is the chief constable. As a teenager, he trained in the summers on the javelin and in the winters on the skis. At the age of 20 he got his first taste of iron, and he messed intermittently with the weights until he was 28, at which time he began to train seriously on Olympic lifting.

Partly as a result of a tendon he tore while snatching, he became interested in powerlifting, since for several months he was only able to squat and deadlift. Excited by the gains he was making, he entered a powerlifting meet and, at a bodyweight of 260, he squatted 683.5, benched 418.75, and deadlifted 716.5. This was in late 1973. 

In early 1976, he powerlifted again, this time as a 242-pounder, scoring 661.5, 418.75, and 694.5, then followed this performance with a better one (693.25, 430, 727.5) two months later, also as a heavyweight.

Prior to the 1976 World's, his best total as a super was 1939.25, via lifts of 771.5, 440.75, and 727.5. He made this total only one short month befor4 the World's (and less than three after the Olympic Games), so it seems obvious that, if he wishes to, he can go far higher in all three lifts. And, according to my friend, Timo, he wishes to. Timo's own words were, "Taito has been trained very short time powerlifting, but in order to train for Australia he trains very, very hard." 

His program is a good one - heavy and hard - and with it Haara hopes to reach a total of 1050 kilos (approximately 2315) at the World's Championships in Australia. In order to do this, he plans to increase his bodyweight between 35 and 50 lbs. 

Prior to the 1976 World's he followed the program below. 




220x10, 330x8, 440x5, 529x3, 595x3, 639x1, 683x1

Situps with Weight
33 lbs x 10, 44 x 10, 44 x 10


Clean and Jerk

220x10, 330x10, 396x8, 449x6, 551x3, 617x3, 683x3

Good Morning
220x5, 330x5x4 sets

Bentover Row
264x5x3 sets



Bench Press
220x10, 308x8, 352x5, 396x3, 418x2, 440x2, 396x3, 352x6, 220x10

Triceps Pushdown
88x10, 110x10x2

DB Curl



220x10, 330x5, 440x5, 551x3, 617x1, 705x1, 749x1

Bentover Row
220x8, 264x8x2

Weighted Situp



220x10, 330x8, 440x6, 529x4, 595x3, 661x1, 727x1x2

Bentover Row
220x8, 264x8, 308x6

Good Morning



Clean and Jerk

Bench Press
220x10, 308x6, 352c4, 396x2, 429x1, 463x1x2, 352x6, 308x8

Triceps Pushdown
88x10, 110x10x2

DB Curl

The hardworking Finn feels that powerlifting routines should be simple and that great care should be taken not to miss workouts and to keep the level of enthusiasm high.

He eats, well, A LOT. Meat, potatoes, black bread, cheese, and a gallon of raw milk a day. Between 7 and 8,000 calories each and every day.  

Haara still loves the Olympic lifts and wants an 881.75 total before he quits. This might break down as a 380.25 snatch and a 501.5 clean and jerk - both truly heavy lifts for a non-specialist. 

If he reaches these poundages and can add to them his goal of a 2315 powerlifting total, he'd almost certainly be the strongest 5-lift competitive athlete in the world.

Enjoy Your Lifting!



Saturday, August 29, 2020

Basic Hypertrophy Training - Amit Sapir

This is a basic four days a week hypertrophy program. It should be done for six weeks. It will incorporate both strength work and intensity techniques to keep volume high. This program is for intermediate lifters and will fit anyone who would like to MAINTAIN A STRENGTH BASE AND BUILD MASS.

Day 1: Legs

Back Squat-
5 x 10/8/6/4/20 reps

Lunge - 
3 x 15/12 + drop set: 8/8/8/ reps

Hack Squat - 
3 x 15/12 + drop set: 10/10/10 SUPERSET WITH
Stiff Legged Deadlift - 
same as hacks

Lying Leg Curl - 
same as hacks SUPERSET WITH
Leg Extension - 

Day 2: Chest & Shoulders

Incline Bench Press - 
5 x 10/8/6/4 + drop set: 10/10/10 reps

SUPERSET, use the same weight for both:
Flat Fly - 3 x 12/10/8, lower slowly (4-5 sec. then press fast) 
Flat DB press. 

Wide Grip Weighted Dip - 
3 x 10/8/6 + 1 bodyweight set to failure 

Seated Press Behind Neck -
3 x 12/10/8

SUPERSET, 2 supersets of 12 reps each:
Standing DB Lateral
Rear Delt Lateral, face down on 45 degree bench

* for a 3rd set do a drop set of each of the two exercises individually for 10/10/10 reps, drop the weight after every 10 reps

Wide Grip Upright Row, pinky finger on ring of bar - 
3 x 15/12 + drop set: 10/10/10 reps

Day 3: Back & Traps

Olympic Deadlift (a reg dead with a shrug at the top) -
5 x 8/6/4/2/20 (yee ouch)
*the 20 rep set is reg deads without the shrugs and
YES, it should BURN! 

Weighted Pullup, neutral grip -  
5 x 10/8/6/5 + bodyweight set to failure

Bentover BB Row -
3 x 12/10/8
Rope Pullover - 
3 x 18/15/13

Wide Grip Pulldown - 
3 x 12/10/8 (5 sec negative for first half of each set)
Seated Cable Row - 
3 x 12/10/8 (3 sec pause at peak contraction for 1/2 of each set)

Rack Deadlift - 
3 x 12

Machine Shrug (or barbell or DB shrug) - 
3 x 15/12/10
*pause at the top for 3 seconds for the first half of each set

Day 4: Arms

Close Grip Bench - 
5 x 10/8/6/4 + drop set: 10/10/10

Rope Pushdown - 
3 x 15/12 + drop set: 10/10/10
Overhead Rope Extension - 

EZ Bar Decline Skullcrusher - 
4 x 12/12/10/10
*2 sets close grip, 2 sets wide grip

Close Grip Pushups on Bench - 
2 sets to failure

Standing EZ Bar Curl - 
3 x  8+8+8 demo here (nice variation, eh!):

Incline DB Curl (set bench to 45 degrees) - 
3 x 15/12 + drop set: 10/10/10

Hammer Curl -
3 x 15/12 + drop set: 10/10/10 
Concentration Curl - 


3 x 15 reps decline crunch with weight behind neck
3 x failure - Knee raise on roman chair
3 x 12-15 - lying knee raise with weight attached
Demo here: 
You'll find a way to do 'em.

Enjoy Your Training! 



Friday, August 28, 2020

Bounce, Boxes, Hopper by Whoever (1951)


Here's an article "by" Reg Park that's obviously not. 

No worries! 

You use what works without giving it a name after a while. You just know, no matter who invented it or when it came around in front of your eyes for the first time. 

Um, yeah, during this era the ______ outfit were plugging the "cheating" style a lot, and their "invention" of supersets (antagonistic) simultaneously.

You might recall J.C. Hise and others using a "hopper" setup to do stiff legged deadlifts? Well, this "bouncing" thing is that, taken and applied to other lifts. 


Okay then. 

I'll let Charles "Reg Park" Smith lay this article out for you now.  

Reg Park Says: 
Try These Exercises for Speedy Muscles! 

Power . . . Speed . . . Endurance . . . magic words of a magic era when all men dream of the glory of masculine greatness and impressive STRENGTH with an overwhelming desire.

A magic era, and a HOSTILE time as well. Never since the beginning of civilization have there been so many wonders of advanced science to live for, and never before has so much emphasis been placed on MIGHT! 

The entire world is bristling with military action . . . girding itself for the inevitable conflict in which the MIGHT of nations will hold the destiny of the world in balance. As unjust as the outcome we may see, it is wise to face the realization that the victors will be STRONG . . . strong in numbers, strong in the tools of war; and above all strong in their ability to DO THINGS. Just a SHOW of military might will not be the deciding factor . . . ACTION at a time when it is most needed is the answer. 

It may seem like a far cry from the battlefields of the world to your peaceful little gym, but the same principle of MIGHT . . . and ability to use this strength in a definite and useful manner at the very moment you need it the most remains the same.

GONE are the days when a man was admired for his physical appearance only. TODAY - a champion of the body building world must possess a combined quality of impressive muscularity and useful power to establish himself as outstanding. 

To fit into this changing picture, body building instruction must incorporate certain new ideas and it is necessary to teach lifters the correct way to train so that besides gaining greater muscle size, their programs will give them that additional quality of utmost muscular ability. In this way their bodies will only look impressive to the eye, but in addition they will be able to ACT in a forceful and masculine manner whenever there is need for such action on their part. 

The first goal of any bodybuilder to strive for is large, powerful muscles. Orthodox and scientific training methods as set down by the _____ System will do this quickly and surely. Then, after this first goal is reached, a new and more significant phase of bodybuilding must be entered into in which all the muscles of the body are infused with blinding SPEED . . . panther-like muscular reactions . . . fast on the draw . . . a whole-body mental and physical coordination so rapid in action that split second timing becomes commonplace. 

To gain this enviable degree of physical perfection is not hard . . . BUT - you must know how. You must know the exercises to perform. How to perform them and WHEN they will do you the most good. The science of bodybuilding has reached a point of precision today, thanks to the never ending research work of the ______ Research Clinic, and all of us connected with it, whereby practically EVERYONE can now hope for maximum results in a minimum period of time. 

The ability to do things with your muscles IS NOT the result of a happy accident. It can come only through the application of definite scientific principles, principles which I bring to you in this exclusive article. Any other method will FAIL to produce ideal results [ain't this all just sounding so familiar some 70 odd years later!] The day of show muscles is GONE - power, speed, endurance,  ability to do things reigns supreme. YOU - can have them all! 

It is natural that you should want to be able to do things with your muscles. Every outstanding body builder I have ever met was capable in some other sport. They were outstanding in bodybuilding because they had trained correctly, and because they had trained correctly they were able to use their muscles for any purpose. However, like so many championship secrets, the public does not always have access to them.

Damn it! Who let that elephant in the room. 

Sometimes they live and die with the champions and are never revealed. I have made it a point to delve into the secrets of physical ability among the top men and am glad to be able to bring you the FACTS. 

During my frequent visits to America (said Reg), I had the opportunity to visit with the champions. One day last spring I accompanied Abe Goldberg to a local tennis court. Abe, as the readers of this magazine well know is one of the most massively developed bodybuilders in the world. I was thrilled when I watched the ease, grace and skill he possessed in this game. Playing several tough matches his speed never lessened and his endurance appeared unlimited. His tennis was of such high caliber that I am certain he could make a great name for himself in this sport too if he so wanted. 

Ahem. And then . . . 

A short time later I went to the golf links with Frank Stranahan, whom all those acquainted with will know well as being one of the most brilliant golfers of all time. Frank has been training with weights for eleven years and besides possessing a great build he has placed high in a number of weightlifting contests. His driving power in golf and his great muscular coordination was another revelation to me. He NEVER failed to come through in a pinch. He possessed USEFUL muscles. 

A few days later I went to the beach with Barton Horvath. Barton weighed over 200 lbs at the time at average height. There we went to the handball courts. Seeing Barton go through a half dozen hot games and noting his power and speed in action was again proof to me that correctly trained muscles can do anything. 

About a week later I went down to the Bayonne Naval Base to take in the wrestling matches. Imagine my surprise 

Oops, I couldn't resist - 

when I saw my friend Harold Kanner, who was at one time a staff photographer for the ______ publications, as well as being a star bodybuilder, appear to do the final match against the great mat-man, Buddy Rogers, known to his fans as Nature Boy. 

At the time Kanner had been wrestling professionally only 3 months . . . Rogers had 15 years experience, and outweighed Harold by some 25 lbs. I expected a good match, but when I say that the fans are still speaking about the showing Kanner made against Rogers I am not exaggerating. His speed, power and endurance kept Rogers on the go throughout the entire match and the audience was in an uproar. Kanner was pinned by the masterful Rogers, whose physique incidentally appeared as being weight trained to me, but I do feel that this match was one of the most exciting I had ever seen. Overnight it zoomed Kanner to the top brackets. Here is another vivid example of how properly trained muscles can bring you fame and glory in any field.     

Pastor Kevin Fast of Canada

Him too!

And now for the SECRETS of this sensational type of muscular impressiveness and physical ability.

POWER-SPEED movements hold the answer. I am going to set down a number of such movements in this article. However, first I want to impress the reader that the beginner MUST NOT attempt these movements. They are for the advanced man only. 

The beginner must for the first six months at least follow a less severe type of program, one which will place most emphasis upon large muscles and power. His muscles must be MUST be large and well formed before he can tackle these movements. Following the regular ______ system for about 6 months the beginner will have reached the point in development where he will benefit from these POWER-SPEED exercises. Before that time they will be too severe. 

There are some STARTLING reactions which the advanced man will notice almost at once after he works out with these new exercises. His muscles will take on a new character . . . they will grow more fully rounded and muscular. He will feel a new sort of tendon and ligament power. He will discover that he can let go with a supercharge of power at a moment's notice. A different feeling will overcome him. In whatever he does he will feel the quickness and power of a panther. It is an 

After a little while the lifter will discover that he can call upon his muscles to perform practically any movement and they will obey his command like a precision machine. Yes - the wonders of POWER-SPEED exercises are far reaching. For the first time you will really enter into the ranks of the GREATS. The miracle of weights will have produced another masterpiece. Sell it, Sir! 

So if YOU are an advanced weight man and YOU want to get the very most from your training, here are some exercises for you to practice. Try them out for several weeks. Note the unbelievable improvements. Your JOY will be my best repayment for writing this article. 

EXERCISE #1 - The High Bounce Standing Barbell Press. 

You will need a pair of adjustable squat racks (or boxes) for this. Raise the racks to a position just about eye level. Make sure your supports are solid and fully able to handle the impact. Get two pieces of rubber padding and securely affix this padding to the squat stand brackets or the boxes (or the rack pins) upon which the barbell is laid across. 

Now, for a test, load the barbell, which is on the supports (duh), with the amount of weight you can handle in a training limit press. Take the press grip you normally use. Set yourself SECURELY in pressing position and press the barbell overhead. Now carefully lower the bar so that it drops down onto the padded supports and BOUNCE it off, pressing the weight overhead again. If done correctly the second press will be easier than the first. Lower the weight again and once more bounce it off the supports Perform 6 presses. Perform 3 sets. 

Once you have become accustomed to the movement you will be able to use a tremendous amount of weight and will make sensational gains in power and speed. 

EXERCISE #2 - The Bouncing Partial Bench Press off Boxes. 

Obtain two solid boxes each about 14" high. Secure rubber matting to the top of each. Place the barbell so that the plates rest on these two blocks. Now, lie underneath the barbell and take a similar upper body position to the one you would take when performing a supine press. Press the weight off the blocks straight to arms' length. Now, lower quite rapidly and bounce off the blocks, pressing the weight to lockout again. Perform 3 sets of 6 reps in this exercise.

EXERCISE # 3 - The Bouncing Power Shrug off Boxes.

Use the same boxes you used in the previous exercise for these. Place the barbell on the blocks and hold onto the bar with a normal width grip. Now, keeping the elbows stiff, stand up with the weight and at the same time shrug the shoulders as high as you can, trying to part your hair with your shoulders. Lower the weight to the blocks and permit it to bounce off, and again pull up the weight and shrug your shoulders. This exercise will develop the pulling muscles, giving them massive power and speed! Perform 3 sets of 8 repetitions. 

EXERCISE #4 -  The Bouncing Power Deadlift. 

Again using the same blocks, grasp the bar and stand up with the weight as in the regular dead McLift, laddie. Lower the bar to the boxes and bounce up again. perform 3 sets of 6 repetitions. This exercise will give you a lower back of charged dynamite. Never carry matches in your back pocket. 

EXERCISE #5 - The Not Bouncing Partial Squat. 

Adjust the squat racks or rack pins so that when the bar is on them and on your shoulders you will be in a 1/4 squat position (relative to a FULL squat). Now, straighten the legs and lift the weight off the supports. Lower the weight to the start position and IMMEDIATELY straighten out again. DO NOT BOUNCE off the supports . . . merely raise and lower as quickly as possible. Perform 3 sets of 12 reps. 

The above sample routine represents a very thorough workout in itself. You will be able to use more weight in the various movements than ever before. So much that at the start it is not wise to include any other movements in this type of schedule. As you become used to the different exercises and as you gain all the advantages of SPEED-POWER movements you will find that you have far more energy than ever before. Then you can add a cheating curl, bent arm pullover, and leg raises to the program. 

There are many more POWER-SPEED exercises which can be performed. If you like these, and I am sure that you will, come up with more exercises and variations to implement when you begin to go stale on the examples listed above. Switch off when you deem it necessary in order to bypass staleness in your training. But keep records and resume attempting to break them when you come back to each exercise.

Enjoy Your Lifting!       


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