Mike Brown, working on the bench press in the experiment described where he and his partners worked up to around 500 pounds.
Nautilus Machines . . . Negative Resistance . . . Isokinetics . . . Isometrics . . . and myriad forms of weight training. Super sets. Pumping. Flushing. PHA.
Is it any wonder the average trainee stumbles along through a maze of routines, seldom makes the progress he expects, and finally figures the time and effort spent is not worth what he has achieved -- and quits in disgust?
And the powerlifters. Easily defined but hard-to-obtain goals. a 500 pound bench press. How many years to obtain it? For some, harder to obtain than a 19 inch arm. Or is it?
Two other fellow (Bob Hollis and Keith Smith) and I, believe we have discovered THE METHOD for tremendous powerlift weight increases, and like most discoveries of any real importance it was purely an accident.
Arthur Jones had just come out with "negative resistance" and we were giving it a try on the bench press. We started with 10 reps with 300 pounds, and in three months worked up to 420. Along with the negatives we did partial reps (no reason; we just felt like it) of 2" or 3" from full lockout with a slightly heavier weight. When we used 300 lbs. in negative resistance we used 320 for the partial reps.
Strange things began to happen; first we noticed negative resistance tended to act the same way the Nautilus machines were supposed to -- maximum resistance was possible at full contraction of the muscles and resistance grew less the further the muscles uncoiled simply because the weight met less resistance the FASTER it moved. In other words, the further down a negative bench press goes the FASTER it moves. A weight lowered slowly from arms' length to about 8" from the chest then drops like a rock.
Next we noticed our "partials" were progressing in an unusual manner. The speed with which we increased weight on the partials so far outstripped the increase of negative resistance weights we began to wonder if possibly we had stumbled onto a superior method. In the time it took us to go from 300 to 390 pounds on negative resistance, we went from partials 320x10 to 500 almost 50 reps. The HIGHER the weights went the MORE repetitions we were capable of. Our major workout problem became a lack of iron in the gym -- NOT how to increase the lift. In fact, at 500 pounds on the bar much of our weight (about 80 pounds) consisted of iron boots and 5-lb. plates tied onto the collar with string. The bar itself would only hold 420. The world's first 500 pound Christmas tree.
We got nervous and stripped the bar back down to 420 until we could obtain more 50-lb. plates. Partials were so easy with this weight we started extending the "travel" of the partials from 2" or 3", to 8" and beyond. Each workout the bar goes a little lower. In a matter of weeks I should be doing complete reps with 420. Or 500 if we can scrounge some larger plates. Or 600 if we work at it a little longer. Or 700?
To use this system properly a safety rack and virtually unbendable bar are a must -- not to mention as many 100 and 50 pound plates as obtainable. A rack with pin holes 2" apart is ideal -- when you are capable of doing 30 or 40 partials with your "goal" weight (say 500 pounds, then start increasing the travel 2" at a time until it touches your chest.
What is our best bench press at the moment? We really don't know. Nor do we intend to try for quite some time. Why rip or pull something on a limit attempt merely to satisfy our curiosity -- when the end results are so easily foreseeable?
Expressing an opinion (and not attempting to be "experts" and "prophets") we believe this system will largely eliminate the need of tremendous additions of bodyweight to increase lifts. As for drugs -- we don't believe a polluted system will be able to cope with the demands this method of training will require of it. Sort of like trying to build a castle upon sand.
According to the New Testament, the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit -- odd how many people in this age treat it like a toilet.
Enjoy Your Lifting!