Thursday, April 7, 2022

Strength and Bulk Course, Part One -- Doug Hepburn


NOTE: There are some differences in this newer booklet compared to Doug's earlier ones: 


"I have found that the usage of the single repetition in the basic lower body exercises is hazardous, in that the event of muscular strain is more pronounced especially in the deadlift exercise. FOR THIS REASON THE SINGLE REPETITION HAS BEEN OMITTED IN THE LOWER BODY TRAINING ROUTINE.

"Note: In the specialization for maximum strength as in competitive power lifting the single repetition system may be employed for the lower body exercises. It is advised to follow the training procedure as outlined in the "Super Strength" training routine. The Super Strength routine should be utilized only by those who are experienced and have considerable muscular strength and development. 

"For beginners and those who desire basic conditioning it is recommended to follow a variety of exercises as illustrated in the exercise charts. 5-8 repetitions should be employed for 3-5 sets."


"All the trainee need do is to perform the upper body routine one day and the lower body the following workout period. I am not going to set down definite training days as I feel that many persons, due to their hours of work and other social commitments, would find it difficult to adhere to such a schedule. 

"All that is necessary is to perform the routines [upper and lower body] alternately each training day and allow one or two days rest between sessions."


"In order to minimize the occurrence of muscular staleness it is necessary that the exertion in each exercise SHOULD NOT be a limit effort.

"Just how much effort may be put into an exercise without encouraging staleness will vary with each individual and the trainee will discover a personal safety margin in this regard. 

"If staleness should occur it will first be noticeable when performing heavy single repetitions. This is a natural occurrence and is experienced by top weightlifters. 

"To eliminate the staleness discontinue the performance of the single repetitions for a period of two weeks and continue on with the sets of consecutive repetitions."


The fundamental purpose of this course of training is the development of maximum muscular bulk and strength. The information contained herein is the end product of ten years of experimentation by the author in the quest of an exercise procedure wherein a minimum of time and effort extended would nevertheless yeild extraordinary bodily size and strength.

The utilization of the principles of weight training outlined in this course enabled the setting of ten world weightlifting records by the author. I feel, as do other qualified authorities, that my system of power training has directly influenced weight training procedure throughout gthe world. Many contemporary top ranking strength athletes -- such as Paul Anderson -- utilized the same general system of training to attain their exceptional size and strength. 

Does it not seem logical to the reader that the person best qualified to assist the beginner -- or even the advanced weight trainer toward the goal of great physical strength is one who possesses this quality himself? 

To this end I examined the training and living procedures of the strongest men on record, analyzing the individual personalities in regard to mental attitude, etc. I applied the knowledge gleaned from this appraisal into my personal endeavors in power lifting. 

In a very short time I realized exceptional gains in both muscle size and strength. I continued to experiment with training procedure, injecting innovations at times and modifying other aspects when it seemed necessary to do so. The result is this course of training.

Other pertinent information is included in this course regarding Diet, Concentration, Relaxation, etc., which will prove invaluable to the trainee.

If the trainee adheres strictly to the instructions contained herein all personal performances established prior to following this course will be exceeded within sixty days. 


It is my opinion that insufficient emphasis is being directed upon the factor of Mental Attitude in Weight-training. The physical aspect of barbell exercise is of course highly important and should be regarded by the trainee as fundamental. However, the secondary factor of the correct application of Mind/Mental Attitude must be present if maximum development of muscle size and strength is to be attained.

The reader is no doubt aware that the Mind/brain constitutes the "control center" of the body. The brain or mind, in a sense, telegraphs thought impulses via the nervous system, to the various muscle groups of the body causing an activation of the muscles so influenced. This physiological process occurs irregardless, whether combing the hair or cleaning and jerking three hundred pounds.

Why is it that some individuals can lift so much more than others when to the eye their appearance in muscular dimensions or bone structure seems almost identical to other weaker persons? Numerous theories have been propounded regarding this most puzzling question. Some claim that superior body leverage is the reason. Others assert that the stronger individual possesses an exceptional quality of muscle, tendons, etc. These mentioned factors are an integral part of physical strength and should not be minimized. I sensed however that an even more important factor has been overlooked and minimized by many -- the factor of mental attitude and application as directed upon the training procedure and overall living habits

All champion strength athletes have utilized the factor of mental attitude and application to a great degree as evidenced by their exceptional bodily efficiency. When performing competitively these men display an above normal ability to concentrate when preparing themselves for an all out effort. This power of concentration has much to do with the setting of weightlifting records or the attainment of a "Mr. America" physique.

I as sure that at one time the reader has seen accounts in newspapers or magazines describing the unbelievable acts of strength accomplished by mentally unbalanced persons. I remember one case in particular where an elderly woman who weighed not more than 100 pounds actually bent the steel bars on the window of a room where she was confined. In a similar instance a man tore the tendons from the bone through his exertions.

Even normal persons, in certain situations, have accomplished amazing feats of strength. Just recently I read an account in a newspaper where a hysterical mother lifted the rear of an automobile to free her pinned child.

Here then is conclusive evidence as the the capabilities of the human body when the barrier of mental restrictions has been removed. This ability to tap the reserve of physical strength can be acquired by anyone who learns to utilize  correctly the power of concentration. 

Note: Later in life Doug became very interested in the writings of Paul Brunton.

Is it not reasonable to assume that the control and application of Mind would be relative to bodily efficiency as applied to weightlifting/bodybuilding when exercising with ever increasing poundages? Concentrate on applying the Mind completely on each training endeavor. This practice may prove difficult at first but continued application will condition the reader so that the ability to concentrate will assume a natural process thus accelerating gains in muscular bulk and strength. 


It seems the ability to relax is found in a constantly decreasing number of individuals. Because of the ever increasing tempo of living there seems to bee little time, or the desire, for relaxation. Mankind, in consequence, is suffering health-wise. 

Barbell exercise, especially heavy barbell exercise, temporarily depleted the bodily reserve of nervous energy. On order that the processes of recuperation and rebuilding may be accomplished a sufficient amount of rest between training sessions is vitally essential. The amount of sleep represents an important factor as it is during sleep that the bulk of energy replacement and rebuilding occurs. Those persons undergoing strenuous exercise require considerably more sleep than the individual involved in activities requiring a minimum of physical effort. 

Body metabolism functions more efficiently when the vital organs receive adequate rest. This in turn promotes maximal increases in muscular bodyweight and strength.

It is interesting to note that  former Egyptian world champion weightlifter made a practice of sleeping 20 hours before an important competition. The great American weightlifter, John Davis, had so conditioned himself that he was capable of sleeping immediately prior to competing and had to be wakened when his turn came to lift -- a remarkable demonstration of self control.

A common practice of top level weightlifters is to rest, lying supine on the floor, during the time interval between each competitive lift. Such an extreme is not required of the trainee unless limit poundages are to be attempted during the training session.

An excellent example of what can be accomplished progress-wise was demonstrated by a well known strength athlete. This strongman remained in bed for a period of three weeks, arising at regularly spaced intervals of a short duration to perform heavy barbell movements, eat, and other necessities. I understand that this man gained 40 pounds of bodyweight with proportionate increases in strength during this unusual experiment. Although the preceding procedure is an extremity it nevertheless indicates the soundness of the principles employed.

Unfortunately many persons confuse relaxation with laziness. This conception may be entertained by those possessing hypertension, one of the signs of which is the inability to recognize a state of relaxation in others. 

An undue depletion of nervous energy is caused by worry and allied mental disturbances. If the reader's goal is to be a champion physique star or a top level weightlifter the development of Singleness of Purpose is imperative. Physical energy must be applied efficiently to the daily training and living program. Naturally the obligation of providing for self or family is the first consideration. When this obligation has been fulfilled the residue of energy should be channeled into the training program. Any unnecessary physical activities, other than training, should be either forgone or curtailed whether they may be of a social nature or other sports. It is to be remembered that energy is required for any activity of a physical nature and one has only a limited supply of energy. A reduction in the hours of sleep or any undue depleting of bodily energy will retard the process of recuperation hence a hindrance of progress.  

We must be selective and take no more from the world than what we need to attain our goal. Many persons may laugh at this belief but they produce nothing extraordinary.

John Davis, many times World and Olympic weightlifting champion once remarked that in his lifting career, either in training or competition did he attempt a lift with the thought in mind that he would fail.

A positive attitude is a must when weight training, or for that matter, in any endeavor. 

I have seen the greatest lifters the world had produced. Without exception these champions displayed confidence to a great degree when in action. 

Never attempt a lift until you have convinced yourself that you can succeed. 

Set your goals high. 

For example, if your present goal is to press 200 set your mind on a 300 Press and you will probably surprise yourself by pressing 250 pounds. 

Another method used to increase confidence is the incorporation of heavy assistance exercises into the training routine, in which the poundages used are well in excess of those used in the corresponding competitive lift. In the Olympic clean a corresponding assistance exercise is the High Pull movement.  When specializing in high pulling I have used as much as 520 pounds for repetitions. The benefits given by performing the pre-mentioned assistance exercise enabled this writer to shoulder 370 pounds without splitting or dipping to facilitate shouldering. 

There is a definite psychological advantage when handling heavier poundages in an assistance exercise through the decreasing of weight and then performing a complete and similar movement of the related competitive lift.  

Continued in Part Two. 

Enjoy Your Lifting!


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