If there is one lifter in the United States who is near the top in all of the three categories of strength, that lifter is Jim Dorn. First, he is an excellent Olympic lifter, having won the North American Championship in Canada last year, as well as the 1963 Junior National Championship in the lightheavy class. As an Olympic lifter, he has officially pressed 315, snatched 285 and jerked 365 for a 965 total as a mid-heavy.
Second, Jim is unusually strong in the power lifts. He has never entered a contest in power lifting and therefore has no official lifts to his credit, but he claims to have made a bench press of 470 (Jim does this lift lying on the floor with the bar on the power rack about 4 inches above his chest, from which position he presses it to arms' length), a squat of 500, and a deadlift of 670 (Jim does this lift off the pins in his rack at a height only slightly higher than the regular height of an Olympic bar loaded with 45 pound plates). Jim's 205 pound curl, 275 cheat curl, 1100 pound quarter squat, 670 parallel squat with hands on thighs, and 450 jerk off rack are further indications of his great all around power.
Third, Jim is successful as a bodybuilder, having won the Mr. Pennsylvania title. His bodybuilding success is due for the most part to his naturally stocky build and his work on the power rack rather than to any exercising of a bodybuilding nature. He has entered very few physique contests, preferring to concentrate on Olympic lifting, but his appearance in a lifting suit is more impressive and causes greater audience reaction than the poses of the "Mr." contestants who follow the lifting. Although massive from head to foot, the outstanding part of Jim's musculature is the almost unbelievable development of his latissimus dorsi area. For his height and weight, he has unquestionably the broadest back in the world.
Jim is 24 years old and works with his father as a building contractor in Telford, Pennsylvania. Although this is often grueling, back-straining work, Jim trains three times each week, with each workout being hard and heavy. He does not believe in light form work, and when I asked him the reason, he replied, "When I'm training for a meet, I don't train any differently than any other time. I don't cut down on heavy work and concentrate on form.
"For instance, if I want to improve my snatch, I do a lot of power cleans. When I practice light form work, I find that I get in a rut and the weight feels much heavier than it should, causing me to have to mentally concentrate in a contest on pulling the bar high enough. When I train for power and use heavy weights, I find that at a contest I can use all my mental energy in concentrating on form, since I am confident that my pull will take care of itself. This may sound backward, but it has worked for me."
He works eight hours a day for five-and-one-half days per week in his contracting business, so his workouts must be done at night. He has built himself a well equipped home gym and always takes his workouts there, although he frequently drives down to York for his Saturday lifting.
Jim usually manages to get seven and a half hours sleep each night, and he is a healthy eater, which is a necessity because of his physically demanding job and his vigorous training methods. Luckily for his pocketbook, Jim eats his meals at home. He specializes in eggs, ham, steak, roasts, vegetables, and milk, which he downs at a rate of a gallon a day. He avoids sweets of any kind.
Listed below is his regular weekly workout. The poundages listed represent his best efforts at the different positions.
1) Top Press -- 20 x 1 (3" below lock out). Hold for 10 seconds.
2) Eye-Level Press -- 340 x 1. Hold just off pins for 10 seconds.
3) Chin-Level Press-- 520 x 1. Hold just off pins for 10 seconds.
4) Quarter Squat -- 1,000 x 6. Supported for 10 seconds.
5) Middle Pull (clean grip) -- 420 x 1. Hold for 10 seconds against a top pin, which is about waist high.
6) Front Squat -- 390 x 3. He starts at the bottom and stands all the way up.
7) Deadlift -- 670 x 1. He starts several inches above regular deadlift height and stands erect. Then he shrugs as high and possible and holds this position for 10 seconds.
8) Bench Press -- 470 x 1. He lies on the floor with the bar about 4" above his chest. From here, he presses it to arms' length.
9) Chin Behind Neck -- He does this one set of 6 repetitions, stretching as much as possible.
Wednesday: Same as Monday
Saturday (Olympic Lifting):
1) Press -- 225x2, 280x1, 300x1
2) Snatch -- 225x2, 250x1, 265x1
3) Clean and Jerk -- 300x1, 325x1, 350x1
4) Power Clean -- 225x6, 260x3, 280x2, 300x1
5) Chin -- one set of 6 repetitions.
It should also be noted that Jim does one set of 25 repetitions in the jackknife every night before retiring.
If Jim is able to overcome the difficulty he had recently with sore knees, he has the potential to go still higher in any or all of the fields of Olympic lifting, power lifting, and bodybuilding.
Enjoy Your Lifting!