Monday, April 11, 2022

Bill Good -- Roger Eells (1935)

Thanks to Michael Murphy and Joe Roark's Iron History forum

The Good Barbell and Dumbbell System is here

Do you remember the story in history, "A nail was lost, a shoe was lost, a horse was lost, a battle was lost, a war was lost.' 

The failure of a messenger to arrive caused by the laming of his horse, after losing a shoe caused the loss of an entire war.

An occurrence just as trivial indirectly resulted in a series of events which led to Bill Good winning national weight lifting championships year after year and definitely proving himself to be America's strongest man year after year. 

More than twelve years ago Harry Good was visiting the city of Lancaster, Pa., a few miles from his home in Reamstown. Passing a news stand he stopped to examine the magazines displayed there. For the first time he saw the magazine "Muscle Builder" which had not been in print since 1925. 

He was thrilled with the stories of strong men and the pictures of their powerful physiques which filled the pages.

He read the magazine through entirely several times and became to interested that he too decided he would be like the man he was reading of. Close observation showed Harry that all these men had included training with weights in their years of body building which had made them world famous for their strength and shapely physiques. So Harry started to follow in their footsteps by purchasing a bar bell set. 

At first he followed the course that accompanied this bell. He was not satisfied with his progress. Being of an observing and analytical mind, studious and very enthusiastic, he talked to everyone, read all the books and magazines he could procure, and learned the methods that other strong men had really used in developing their bodies. He found that they did not follow just a few standard bar bell exercises, but practiced a multitude of exercises. 

Without exception all of these men in addition to heavy bar bell work, performed a host of exercises with dumbbells, for dumbbells build the muscles from many different angles, making them shapely and strong. He observed that practically all of these men included some apparatus work in their training. During much of the year it was not possible for him to do tumbling, hand balancing or apparatus work, as he trained in a small shed built in his back yard. 

So he devised exercises which would duplicate the movements of hand balancing, etc., built these into his training program. Thus, this many years ago he was using the basic principles now followed in the training of the York team. A wide variety of exercises with bar ball and dumbbell, weight lifting exercises included, moderate training part of the week and a limit day about once a week.

With this new system Harry advanced rapidly, winning the national amateur championship in 1928. He build up quite a reputation for himself as a strength performer as he practiced considerable heavy work, back lifting, teeth lifting, finger lifting, hip belt and harness lifting. 

During all this period, Bill, his youngest brother was interested only in boys' games. He had noticed the great change in his brother Harry's build in the first few months of training. (After a year of training Harry had build a wonderful physique. Since that time he has not gained any weight, has increased in shapeliness, muscle definition and is several times as strong.) He was casually interested in seeing the weights Harry lifter, in seeing Harry's picture in leading magazines devoted to strength subjects.

The first of March 1928 was an important day in the life of Bill Good. Important too to many millions of others, for what he started that day has already served as an inspiration, directly or indirectly to thousands of people. Had a tremendous bearing in encouraging these countless men and women of all ages to go and do likewise. Improve their bodies, build their strength and enjoy super health.

This first day of March Bill went back and trained with Harry. Walter too started at this time, both placing themselves under the watchful eye of their powerful and famous elder brother. 

Bill weighed 125 pounds and found that he could two arm clean and jerk 90 pounds. He was a good sized boy and reasonably strong, as he inherited a good physique from his powerful although 130 pound father, and his mother who is slightly above average in size and weight. Many young fellows of his age have lifted more when they started, many have weighed more. It is evident that the great success which Bill Good has gained and enjoyed is more the result of perseverance and right training methods than heredity.

He followed the training system taught to him by Harry. He became very enthusiastic and was determined to become as strong and healthy as possible. Away down deep in his mind was the thought that he would like to become stronger than this brother of his of whom he was so proud. 

He exercises conscientiously three times a week. 

The first year he spent entirely with body building exercises performing every imaginable exercise with barbells and dumbbells. At the end of the first year he weighed 145 pounds. 

When he was seventeen years old he included one lifting course in his training each week. Two periods of bodybuilding with bar bells and dumbbells and in the other period he practiced all of the known lifts.

When he was nineteen years of age it was said that he was the strongest youth in America. Following are his lifts at nineteen, and now: 

Then -- 
Left Arm Snatch: 145
Right Arm Jerk: 160
Two Arm Military Press: 180
Two Arm Snatch: 180
Two Arm Jerk: 250

Now -- 
192.5, American record
220, American record
240, exceeded by only one man
260, American record
335, American record.

On several occasions Bill has hoisted to arms' length overhead 350 pounds in the continental jerk style. These are all last year's lifts and he breaks records at every contest so it is only a question of time until his records go much higher.  

His total made this year at the national championship of 1210 on the five international lifts was as great as that made by any heavyweight in the world. Bill at his weight of 190 pounds or slightly less is a match for the world's best heavyweights weighing in some cases 85 pounds more than he. 

It has been said, "Build a better mouse trap than anyone and the world will beat a path to your door." Every Saturday sees a crowd of varying proportions gathered to train with Bill, or watch him in action. Invariably on that day he will take a hard workout, "a limit day." 

He will start with the lifts that he wishes to practice that day and end with some very stiff body building exercises. Although a great one arm lifter he practices the one arm lifts very little. Not over six times in all in the weeks before he made the American records in the one arm snatch and clean and jerk at the championships last spring. Frequently he would use only 110 pounds in the one arm snatch, yet went out and made a record of 192.5 without a miss at the championships.

In his usual hard day he will press to warm up. Make repetitions, usually three with weights in excess of 200 pounds. His last trial or two may be but a single attempt. If he can not press the weight in a military manner, instead of giving up he will permit his body to lean back in the continental style. This his muscles become accustomed to handling more weight and in time his record in the strict military press increases. 

In the two arm snatch Bill uses a style used by few lifters in this country. The bar is grasped in a slow dive and hook, the hands a bit more than shoulder width apart, the lifter party squats, leans well forward, extends the arms for back, and if the weight is fixed at arms' length there is not the slightest hint of a press out at the finish. 

In practicing the lifts, the Good brothers use a style that I had never seen elsewhere. Many lifters use repetitions in their training. This usually from the dead hang. But more frequently they make many repetitions with a substantial weight, setting the weight down at the completion of each lift and immediately executing the lift in its entirety again. I have seen them make five to eight attempts in this manner. Without a pause for breath and not even breathing rapidly at the finish. It takes power, it takes skill and the body naturally falls into a lower and lower position as it becomes tired. Bill will make repetitions with 225 pounds or more in the snatch.

He then goes on to the two arm clean and jerk. This is the one all the spectators like to see. For Bill is now the president of the American Three Hundred Pound Club, having lifted 300 pounds to arms' length overhead more times than all other Americans combined. He is a beautiful jerker. It is so comforting to know, when the weight is at his chest, that it is up. He puts a terrific drive back of the weight, the arms lock like two pillars of oak and there is a stupendous unbelievable weight at arms' length overhead.

Any limit training day Bill will perform repetition jerks with 300, and as much as 325 pounds three times. Saturday after Saturday he has continentalled and jerked 350 pounds. He has had 360 pounds to arms' length. It is now more than a year since he first made 350 twice in official lifting and we will soon see 360 or 370 under the same circumstances. 

Bill may perform a few one arm lifts for the benefit of the spectators but usually he is ready to go on with his exercises. 

His training varies with the close proximity of a contest. If a contest is not near he may perform deep knee bends up to 10. If he is preparing himself in the last few days or weeks for a championship he wished to handle the most weight he can. So he will perform 3 deep knee bends with 300, 3 x 350, 3 with 375 and perhaps one with 400. 

In the dead lift he may do 5 with 400, 3 with 450, 3 with 500 and one or two with 550.

It is certain Bill could break every American heavyweight record on the 42 lifts with the exception of one or two of the press records, which he can closely approach. Usually however he just takes a stiff work out, handling weights with ease that seem fantastic to most of us. 

Two hours may be consumed on this limit training day. Many other exercises to improve his lifting ability if a contest impends are practiced, and many to improve his strength is he is doing "body building.' 

During much of the year Bill will only practice lifting once a week. During the majority of time he will lift twice and exercise once. When a contest is close he will follow the York system of one limit day, the next day about 80% of his limit, and the next from 60-80% of limit, this day's training depending on how strong he feels. 

He is careful on the two more moderate training days not to work on his nerve, to handle weights that he can use slowly and steadily, correctly and by being only comfortably tired at the completion of the exercise. 

Many fellows talk of doing only body building or training only for lifting at times. The Good brothers follow a mixed system and along with all the York lifters have proven that this system brings best all around results in the building of nervous energy, health, great strength and perfect shapely bodies.

In an body building program presses in various forms are practiced so this leaves but two lifts to practice. A few snatches and jerks will suffice. 5 to 10 in all is sufficient, depending on the poundages used.

After this goes through a program of bar bell and dumbbell training. Practically identical on any training night with one of the York courses. When a contest is near he may dispense with some of the exercises, practicing only those which help in the performance of the three two hand Olympic lifts. 

Bill Good is now 24 years old. He will improve for many years. For five years now, the youngest and strongest member of the "World's Strongest Family." There have been in the past two outstanding strong men in a family, but never before three such powerful men in the same family. (Kurt Saxon was only a cousin of Arthur and Herman, and during a part of their world tour other men were substituted for one or the other.)

Harry, the elder, is America's Champion strong man, greatest professional lifter, normally weighing 20 pounds less than Bill he is in the class of the professional strong man ranks in America being far ahead of strong men whose weight exceeds his by 100 pounds. 

Walter is a junior national champion at present, has one of the best physiques in the world and is improving rapidly. Bill is due to be a world's record holder and world's champion soon.

All started through the chance passing of a news stand, the chance purchase of a magazine, and the keen analytical mind of Harry Good which found the best training system and has built this world's strongest family. And now is building thousands of other fine fellows throughout the world. 

These Good brothers are best known for their great strength and perfect bodies. But they have even more important characteristics. Modesty in the extreme, honesty, ambition, they work hard and intelligently toward their own success and to help others. Each year will see them become even greater figures, the passing years will see them become legendary and go down in history as the greatest of the great. 

Enjoy Your Lifting!    

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