Thursday, April 14, 2022

York Courses Three and Four, Part One


Weight Lifting Exercises

WARM UP EXERCISE: Pulling moderate weight from floor to overhead without dipping as the weight goes overhead. Repeat at least 10 times. 

Place the barbell on the floor in front of you. Stand close to the bar with feet about 12 inches apart. Reach down and grab the bell with the overgrip, knuckles up, the hands about shoulder width apart. Bend down just as if you were to sit in a chair, lower back straight, doing the bending with the knees as illustrated. Straighten up suddenly. Bring the bel as high as you can in a straight line. Don't swing it up. You should use a weight light enough that you can pull well above the head, then finish the lift, pressing out if necessary, keeping the legs straight. This is not a strength feat but merely an exercise to warm and loosen the muscles. 

1.) ONE ARM REPETITION JERK: Clean or pull the weight to shoulder. Assume the position that practice has shown is best for you in one arm jerking. Then jump into the air, putting arm and shoulder  action back of the bell. Then drop as low as you can as the weight goes overhead. Lower the bell, assisting with the other hand, if necessary, and repeat. Make 5 repetitions with each hand to start. 

2) ONE ARM STILL-LEGGED SNATCH: Stand with the feet about one foot apart. Reach down and grasp the bel with the knuckles front. Holding the other hand free from the body, with a sudden effort, while holding the legs straight, pull or snatch the weight to arms length overhead. Lower and repeat at least 5 times with each arm.

3) TWO ARM RAPID PRESS: Lower shoulders slightly when about to press. Then press hard and fast, putting an extreme effort back of the barbell. Keep the body in correct military position while performing this exercise, and be sure that there is no body or leg motion back of the movement. Lower to the position at the chest and repeat. Use a weight that you can handle from 5 to 10 times. This exercise will increase your ability to put a tremendous effort back of the press while remaining in the military position and will increase your military press poundage.  

4) RAPID DEEP KNEE BEND: This exercise is performed with the feet flat. Go down with a rush, bouncing as you reach the low position and coming back to the erect position as fast as you can. This movement develops spring and flexibility in the legs and joints as well as strength.

4A) If you are not following the four York courses on alternate days, but are concentrating on weight lifting training, this rapid knee bend should alternate with regular flat-foot style with the most weight that you can handle at least 10 times. 

5) HOLDING BELL OVERHEAD SQUAT TO LOW POSITION: As shown in the illustration, lower into low squat position of one hand snatch, then come erect. Repeat at least 5 times with each arm. 

6) RAPID DEAD LIFT: Using about 50 pounds less than you can dead lift, or at least not less than your two arm jerk record, stand in the position you use for two arm snatching and cleaning. Pull the weight up rapidly as high as you can. Lower slowly. This exercise can be performed as a repetition exercise, but it is a good plan to occasionally practice diving for the bell if you employ that style in snatching and cleaning. If you use the "get set' method, proceed as in making a regular lift. Perform this exercise from 5 to 10 times. 

6A) If you are not at this time continuing to practice exercise courses No. 1 and No. 2, alternate this rapid dead lift with the regular dead weight lift. Handling the most weight you can use from 5 to 10 repetitions.

7) TWO ARM PRESS BEHIND NECK: Using a grip somewhat more than shoulder width apart, lower the weight to the shoulders behind neck. Press to arms length. Lower and repeat. Press and lower the weight at a steady rate, not fast and without exaggerated slowness. Repeat 5 to 10 times. 

8) TWO ARM DEAD HANG REPETITION SNATCH: Sometimes called the "Swedish Hang," this is one of the very best exercises for improving your cleaning and snatching. Stand with your feet in the usual position, that is the usual cleaning position. Use a weight that permits you to perform the exercise from 5 to 10 times. 

Pull the weight from the floor and stand with it in a position as shown above in the illustration chart. Holding the back flat, bend at the knees and waist, allowing the weight to nearly touch the floor. Suddenly pull the weight as high as you can, instantly lowering your body to the position you use in the two arm snatch. Lower the bar and repeat. 

This is a splendid exercise for improving your pulling power, and training yourself to pull hard the entire way, finishing with a second or final pull, before suddenly dropping to the low position. 

8A) Occasionally include this exercise in your training. Hold the weight in the position as shown. Not using the back or the legs, lower the shoulders as far as you can. Suddenly pull the weight up with only arm and shoulder action, pulling as high as possibly and then sharply splitting or squatting in the extreme low position. This exercise will increase your shoulder action and strength as well as your arm pulling power. The weight should not be more than 2/3 the amount used in the regular repetition dead hang snatches. 

9) TWO HANDS REPETITION JERK: Standing with the weight in the usual two arm jerk position, jerk the weight to arms length, and split low. Holding the weight overhead return the feet to the starting position. Then repeat the movement at least 5 times in all. 

This exercise, of course, greatly increases the power you can put back of the two arm jerk. It accustoms you to dropping into an extra low position after you have jerked the weight, for as you begin to tire, you drop lower and lower with each jerk.

10) TWO HANDS DEAD HANG CLEAN: Performed in same manner as exercise No. 8, except that the weight is pulled only to chest instead of overhead. Use as much weight as you can handle from 5 to 10 repetitions. 

10A) CLEANING WITHOUT DIPPING: This is a particularly valuable exercise and frequently should be included in your training schedule. This exercise more than any other will develop the much desired second of final pull that will increase your cleaning and snatching ability. Use as much weight as you can pull to the chest, without dipping at the completion of the movement. This is a repetition exercise. 

Employ your usual style in going for the weight, just as you would in the two arm snatch or jerk. Pull the weight up with a rush, not moving your feet or bending your knees as the weight nears your chest. The principle effort back of this lift is with the legs and back, but it accustoms you to pulling the entire way. The end of the lift gives you the second pull that is the difference between an ordinary lifter and a champion. All champions possess the ability to put this terrific final effort back of the clean or snatch. At the finish of the pull, whip the elbows suddenly to the front and you have the bar in the correct position at the shoulders. 


It takes a wide variety of exercises to gain rapidly in strength and all-around development. The exercises contained in Course No. 3 are particularly valuable from the development standpoint; they consist of many entirely different movements than are to be found in Courses No. 1 and No. 2. 

Note: I'll put those two courses up here later. 

Although these exercises lead to unusual weight lifting ability, their principle value is to build muscle, strength, vital powers, internal strength, and nervous energy. In short, all around power. 

Even those who don't have the slightest desire of lifting weights will be greatly paid in many ways for their practice of these exercises. Be sure to include them in your training schedule.


Among the following dumbbell exercises are to be found some that have been included in Courses No. 1 and No. 2. We know a great many more splendid exercises, but have included these particular exercises in this course because they are very good, and are of special aid to those who wish to build up exceptional weight lifting ability. We realize that many ambitious young fellows, after the preliminary training period, will concentrate on weight lifting, and these splendid result producing dumbbell exercises might be missed unless included with weight lifting training. 


Although the dumbbell exercises have a considerable exercise and strength value and will build all around strength, develop your muscles from angles that could not be reached with a barbell, part of their purpose is a partial rest between the more strenuous barbell lifting exercises. 

Perform a dumbbell exercise after a particularly strenuous barbell exercise. 

1) TWO DUMBBELL SWING: Place the dumbbells in front of you. Place the feet about 24 inches apart. Take on of the bells in each hand. Swing them far overhead, keeping the arms straight. Then lower between the legs and far back. Then back overhead at arms length again. Repeat this movement 10 times, working up to 20 with the usual schedule of increases.

2) ALTERNATE PRESS: Holding a dumbbell in each hand, curl the weights to the shoulder. Holding the knuckles out, alternately press the bells to arms length overhead. Reach as high as possible, and in bringing the weight down, lower as far as possible. 

3) TOUCHING TOE: Holding dumbbell in one hand, stand with the weight overhead and the feet 24 inches apart. Keeping the eyes on the bell overhead, reach down and touch the opposite toe. Increase the repetitions by one each third day until 12 are reached. Then reduce the repetitions to six, increasing the weight by 5 pounds. 

4) ONE ARM PRESS: Press one bell at a time. Holding the feet 18 inches apart, curl the bell from low position to the shoulders. Then hold the bell with palm to front away from shoulders, with the forearms perpendicular. Draw the whole arm slightly backward, flexing the upper muscles of the back. Now press the weight to arms length overhead, leaning body to left at the same time. Lower the right arm slowly, keeping the arm well to the rear. You will then be in the erect position with the forearm straight up and down and well away from the shoulders. 

5) SUPINE BREATHING EXERCISE: Assume supine position. Lay the dumbbells out to the side with palms up. Raise the weights to overhead, keeping the arms going over until you hug yourself, exhaling at the same time. Raise the arms back over chest, then lowering to the original position. Inhale as the weights lower. This exercise should be repeated 10 times to start. Add 2 repetitions every third exercise day, working up to 20, then reduce to 10 repetitions, increasing the weight by 5 pounds.

6) ALTERNATE CURL AND PRESS: Holding the bells hanging at the side, curl the arms alternately, or one at a time, to the shoulders, with thumbs up in curling. Press alternately and then to the starting position one at a time. Complete this series of movements 6 times. Increasing one every third exercise day, work up to 12 repetitions, then reducing the repetitions to 6, increasing the weight by 5 pounds. 

7) COMPLETE CIRCULAR RAISE: Holding weights as in dead lift with the knuckles up, raise forward to shoulder height, keeping at shoulder height, move the arms to the side, then overhead, then lowering to shoulder height, then forward and down. 

In all of these exercises use a weight that permits you to correctly perform the movements from 6 to 12 times.

In some countries weight lifting is the national sport. As many men practice weight lifting (Olympic weightlifting) in those countries as play baseball here. That is, in percentage to the population. Everyone loves and admires a strong man, and lifting of weights is the only way to prove a man's strength and physical ability. 

Weight lifting is a sport that has been practiced for a great many years, and weight lifting events have been held at every Olympic Games since the first of the modern games at Athens in 1896. 


Young men who practice with barbells, whether only to keep fit or to obtain great strength and splendid development, should devote, regularly, part of their training time to weight lifting, for a number of reasons. 

First, the strength and muscle producing value of these movements. To obtain the limit in strength and development you must occasionally force your muscles up to or beyond their normal limit. All the champion weightlifters possess the ability to lift considerably more in competition, or before a group of friends, than they usually can in practice. This is one of the principle factors in building up the unusual and extraordinary strength and development they possess.

Practicing weight lifting, seeing how much you can lift, is the only way you can accurately measure your strength or your gains from any training system. It is the only way to determine who is the stronger man. Your friends will wish to see what you can accomplish as a result of your exercises, and you will wish to show them. This can best be done by lifting weights, and your records will greatly increase as you practice these lifts.


There are a great many recognized lifts. In England, in particular, 42 lifts are recognized. There are many more lifts or strength feats that can be practiced. This course in lifting covers the six principle lifts. The "bent press" is not used in international competitions. Never popular in Europe, although some of the greatest bent pressers came from there. Arthur Saxon, a German, officially pressed, with one hand, 371 pounds. We describe this lift because of its muscle developing value; because it teaches and accustoms you to balance and gives you the ability to perform greater lifts through dropping into extremely low positions. It permits you to handle the greatest amount of weight with one hand. It is a very spectacular feat, one which is always well received by any audience. Thrills and inspires those who see this lift, and crates in them the desire to learn more about this fine game. 


Originally most lifts practiced were of the slow nature. The idea being to lift the greatest amount of weight overhead, regardless of the style. Huge men, usually with considerable excess flesh and large stomachs, would lift a tremendous weight to the chest in two or four movements, and then would jerk it overhead. to give those possessing less weight and a trim athletic figure an equal chance the five lifts were adopted. These are: 

One Arm Snatch
One Arm Clean & Jerk
Two Arm Military Press
Two Arm Snatch
Two Arm Clean & Jerk

Usually the man who excels at the one arm lifts and the two arm clean and jerk is not good at the press and only fair at the snatch; and the great presser frequently does not have cleaning ability; the ability to pull the weight to the chest in one movement, without touching any part of the body in the region below the nipples.

In the one arm snatch the weight is pulled from the floor to overhead in one movement. In the one arm jerk the weight is pulled to the shoulder in one movement and then jerked overhead with one hand. In the two arm military press the weight is pulled to the chest with two hands and then, holding the body erect or in the military position, it is pressed to arms length overhead. The two arm snatch consists of pulling the weight from the floor to straight arms length overhead in one motion. In the two arm jerk the weight is pulled to the chest in one clean movement and  then, bu using the legs with a jump, is jerked overhead. 

Owing to the great length of an important weight lifting program or contest with the five lifts, the one arm lifts haven't been used in the Olympic Games since 1924. In 1932, for the first time, they were not used in our National championships. It is doubtful if the one arm lifts will be used in the future weight lifting championships, but they possess so great a training value, in accustoming the lifters to working in the extreme low positions and putting great effort back of lifting, that they should be included in the training schedule. It is also a great pleasure to perform these one hand lifts. 

Principal consideration when planning to enter an important contest of training for this contest should be upon the three lifts. So the bent press, one arm snatch, and one arm jerk will come under the head of "preliminary" training. 

The Three Olympic lifts will be covered first. 


As the name implies, in this lift you stand in the military position, except that the feet can be kept on a line a comfortable distance apart. The head must be kept erect and the eyes straight front. You, of course, must be careful that the heels do not rise from the floor; that you do not bend sideways; twist; lean back or permit one arm to press faster than the other, or leave the military position in any way while the lift is in progress.

Only practice will show you the position of the hands that will permit you to make the best two arm press. The better the presser, the wider the grip he can use. The poorer the presser, the closer he must hold his hands. 

An element of leverage comes into this lift and some can press and some can't. You can improve your pressing ability considerably by practice and using correct form. But some men are so built that they will be better pressers than others. Poor pressers seldom press with their hands  closer than the edge of the knurled grips on the York bars. Good pressers many hold each hand at least six inches from the inside edge. It is wise, in practicing for this lift to practice pressing in all positions, and then in competition to use the position that has proven the best for you. 

Pull the weight to chest. It is seldom necessary to use any particular style in pulling the weight to the chest, for the weight a lifter can press can usually be pulled up easily enough. In a contest you will be allowed to hold the barbell on the chest for two seconds. The referee will clap his hands when pressing is to commence. 

Press as hard, as viciously as you can without, of course, permitting your body to help in the lifting. Press as close to your face as possible. As the bar passes the face let it go to the rear, and complete the press with the arms well back of the head. 

You should concentrate on placing the greatest effort of which you are capable back of the lift. At the Olympic Games more lifters lowered their shoulders when about to press and received some aid from the shoulder action. Since 1932, however, this has not been permitted and now any such motion is cause for disqualification.

Those who press close will find it easier to start the bell. Their failing point will be above the head. Those who press wide will find the bell slows up before the top of the head is reached, but they are in a better position to keep the bell moving without the slightest pause that would mean disqualification. In pressing, most lifters release the grip of the thumbs from the bar, placing them on the top of the bar. This prevents a tightening of the muscles in the forearm that only may retard the progress of the lift. 


There are probably more styles of doing the two arm snatch than any of the other lifts. Lifters at the Olympic Games were pretty well divided in the use of the split and the squat. Those from Egypt an France, in particular, used the split. Those representing Germany, the squat. No one has definitely been able to prove that one style is superior to the other, but the split style is far more dependable and is best for most persons. You must try all the styles and select the one which suits you best. 

You will observe that we are using several illustrations of different style. Bob Mitchell, Anthony Terlazzo, and Wally Zagurski use entirely different styles, yet they lift on the same team and train together. There are a few only who are suited for the squat. If you can use this style, more weight can be lifted. These three young men are numbered amongst the best snatchers in the world for their respective body weights.

The style used by Anthony Terlazzo is most commonly used. This is also the style that was used at the Olympics by the French championship team in 1932 and the Egyptian champions in 1936. 

The lifter stands with his feet about 8 to 10 inches apart, pauses a moment and then dives for the weight, holding his hands 32 to 36 inches apart and using the hook grip as he exerts as much strength as possible in pulling the weight straight up and as close to the body as possible. Concentrating on a long vigorous pull. At the completion of the "going under" portion of lift, while the body is still in the lowered position, the weight should be over and well back of the head. Now, to recover to the upright position, some move both feet an equal distance, while others step only to the front, and still others who step backward with the front foot, the rear foot being moved only slightly forward. This is also the style employed by Steve Stanko, who has snatched in excess of 310 pounds. 

Two other famous champions, Johnny Terpak and John Davis, use the same splitting style but with the hands 26 to 30 inches apart and employing the regular grip . . . NOT the hook grip. Terpak has snatched 260 pounds at a bodyweight of 160, and John Davis established world records in the light-heavyweight and heavyweight divisions. It's evident that the split style has unusual merit and suits more men than does the squat style. 

There is still another version of this style that's used by many lifters. Notably, Stanley Kratkowski, who formerly held the record at 242 pounds in the middleweight class. In using this style, stand with the feet about a foot apart, reach down and get a hook grip on the bar, with the hands as wide apart as possible. While holding the hook, flatten the back and pull. In this style the front foot is moved, and the back foot is thrust to the rear. Dip extremely low in splitting. Stanley Kratkowski goes so low that his chin is almost on his knee, his chest forward and the arms far back to balance. 

Then there is the style used by Wally Zagurski which is quite common among lifters of the world. This is a squat style, but not to the extreme position. The bar can be grasped with the dive style or hook. The feet are set about 15 inches apart or more, depending on the size of the man. If the hands are to be hooked, use the same style as described in the previous lift. In completing the lift the feet are not moved. The lifter squats about half way down, bending far to the front which thrusts the arms far back and makes balancing of the weight a bit difficult. However, very excellent poundages can be lifted in this manner by the lifter who masters this style. 

Some lifters, using a style similar to this, drop into a full squat position, balanced on the toes. This is a very difficult way, and although world's records were formerly made with this style, it is not best to use as it is too uncertain. In making a world's record ten attempts are allowed. Should the lifter miss three times he will have lost his chance at the championship or the prize and cause his team to lose. 

Galimberti, former Italian Olympic champion and second in the 1932 Olympics employed a style slightly different than others. He would rest both hands upon the bar, then skip the feet to both sides, lifting on the rebound. 

Regardless of the style you use, after you have selected it, stick to this manner of lifting and concentrate on form with this particular style. Stand close to the bar, do practically all of your lifting with the legs and back, concentrate on a long, straight pull, in most all styles throwing the weight well back.

The second pull enters into the split style, in particular, for in that style you must endeavor to pull the weight up at least to the line of the face. Think of throwing the weight through the ceiling and lock the arms to the straight position. Disqualification in this lift occurs when the arms do not instantly shoot up to a straight position. No press-out is allowed at the end of the lift. 


The man who can raise the most weight overhead with a two arm effort is entitled to great honor, and the cleaning method is universally used. Most lifters are limited in this lift by the amount of weight that can be cleaned or pulled to the chest in one movement. Using a light weight or even for a military press, the weight is just lifted to the chest will little more action than the whipping of the arms forward. 

To perform a creditable two arm clean and jerk, great skill, perfect timing, and athletic ability is required. First the terrific effort of cleaning the weight. Immediately afterward comes an equally great effort to jerk the weight overhead. As you are limited by the amount of weight you can get to your chest, you should practice the clean more often to obtain greater skill in cleaning the weight. There are two distinct styles of cleaning: the Squat and the Split. 


This style is used in some parts of the world, notably by many German lifters. Although a few skilled lifters use it in this country. Pete George of Akron, Ohio, the youngest and lightest boy in the world to clean and jerk 300 pounds, bodyweight, 148, lift made before his 16th birthday, used the squat style. 

Standing with the feet a comfortable distance apart, use the hook grip "get set" style. The dive would not be good in this style as it may throw you partially off balance. The principle point you will have to learn is how high to pull the weight. You need pull only a little higher than in the dead lift. Then drop quick as a flash to the full squat, pulling the weight in toward the shoulders and whipping the elbows forward. There will be some slight shifting of the feet to get proper balance. 

The hardest part of the lift is rising to the erect position while balancing the weight on the chest. Those who use this style find the effort so terrific in coming erect that they will frequently fail to jerk the weight. You should practice coming to the erect position as quickly as possible when you employ this style. The German lifter, Schaeffer, who is one of the few men in the world to clean and jerk double bodyweight, used this style but came erect so fast he actually bounced up. 


This is the style commonly used and is best suited to most persons. Some stand close to the bar with the heels together. Others stand with the feet about one foot apart. Stand as close to the bar as you can without touching it when you stoop for the bell. 

In starting in this lift you stand perfectly erect or nearly so, with the back flat. Then taking a deep breath, you suddenly go for the weight, pouncing upon it with your hands about shoulder width apart or near the edge of the knurling of your bell. 

On the rebound you put your best effort back of pulling the weight as high as you can. As you grasp the bar, keep the arms straight without stiffness, as explained in the two arm snatch. 

The first part of the lift is done almost entirely with the legs and hips while the flat back exerts a good share of the pull also.

Concentrate on a hard pull the entire way. Pull the weight as high as you can. The arms playing a principle part at this stage of the lift. Learn the second pull, making a sudden spasmodic effort near the end of the lift as the weight is pulled to the chest. Whip the elbows forward. In lifting, pull the weight up close to the body and then in to the chest.

You have pulled the weight as high as you can, then suddenly split to the lowest possible position. Some lifters, instead of pulling straight up, pull back, not moving the front foot. Others split evenly under the weight with one foot to the front and the other extended straight to the rear. Some, while splitting the feet from front to rear, extend them to the side for balance. The more effort you exert, the higher you can pull the weight and the lower you can split, the greater will be your record. In rising to the erect position it is best and less likely to strain the back if you pull the front foot back into position, not moving the rear foot. 


Many lifters use the hook grip. At least they grasp the bar, while leaning over, with the hands never much more than shoulder width apart. Then either assuming the position shown in the cleaning illustration, or using the same style as the snatch, exert the hardest pull you are capable of. The lift is finished in the same manner, as in other styles, whipping the elbows forward.

Nearly all lifters use the same style in this part of the lift. The bar rests across the chest, the elbows are tight against the body. According to Olympic rules, the feet must be in a line and can be placed a comfortable distance apart. Many lifters can make a better effort if one foot is carried slightly in front of the other. 

You can then if you wish, bend the knees slightly several times, imparting a sway to the bell; although most lifters just bend the knees slightly and jump as you would jump in the air without a weight. The sudden straightening of the legs, the jumping, a tremendous effort on the part of the arms, starts the weight on its way overhead. Then dip as low as possible catching the weight upon the straight arms above the head. Rise to the erect position by pulling back the front foot. Stand with the feet on a line about a foot apart. The referee claps his hands and the lift is completed. 

Practically all lifters do the lift in this manner. Even those who use the squat style in cleaning will usually employ this style in jerking. Some lifters split equally to the front and rear; some split their feet to the side while splitting to the front and rear. But most of them split the feet with most of the movement being forward with the front feet. In other words, step forward under the bell as you dip, otherwise the weight will go front and frequently will be dropped, spoiling the lift. Tall, long-armed fellows will have to dip very low to get the weight overhead while the short-armed men can give the weight such a push that they dip very little. 

A close examination of this lift will show that the weight is hardly lifted at all. You give the weight a start, raising it slightly and then dip suddenly catching it on your straight arms before it has a chance to drop.

There is another style of jerking used by very few, for it is not suited to all. In recent years, John C. Grimek has had a great success with this style, jerking as much as 360 pounds at a bodyweight of slightly over 180 pounds. The elbows are thrust straight to the front, the weight resting across the front of the shoulders. In this manner the bar is about six inches higher and the arms traveled a shorter distance to straighten the bell. 

Continued in Part Two.

Enjoy Your Lifting! 







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