Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Reefer Madness, circa 1977 -- Vince "Buzz" Gironda


Not nearly as funny as I had hoped but there are moments here, providing you get high first. I enjoy reading articles and books from dead seekers of health and longevity fans! 

The active chemical in marijuana (THC) acts directly upon the nervous system when taken into the lungs as schmoke. The residue, like found in a pipe stem or cigarette paper is taken into the lungs in the schmoke absorbed directly into the blood stream and carried to all nerve cells of the body. 


Not only does the schmoke go into the lungs, but also the residue which is the remaining part of the schmoke separated from the carbon monoxide and the THC and left in the lung sacs. This residue is many times more to the lungs than cigarette nicotine and tar. It also takes much longer to clean out after use has stopped. 

This is the reason behind the so-called . . . wait for it . . . "spacing out" or drifting out of consciousness . . . 

As the nervous system becomes more degenerated, the amount of THC needed to produce the euphoric feeling must be increased because the nerve cells lose sensitivity as they degenerate (Yes, twice in one line. Go Buzz!) from the accumulation of the toxic drug. 

 -- I believe Buzz is referring to tolerance levels here, but doesn't know what he's talking about. No, the nerve cells do not degenerate. In fact, a shit ton of research tissues, er, papers have shown that THC slows down nerve degeneration and dementia, that wunnerful, naturally built-in to the system rotting out we all know and love so much! Take a knee and give thanks! 

As a result, one must increase the amount of marijuana as time goes on and use it more frequently to feel "high"  -- in quotes no less.
 -- Buzz wasn't too into cycling, but then, few physique artistes are. Lay off for a spell to lower tolerance and come back rarin' to go. It don't take long really. 

This is the nature of addiction or dependency on the drug, as even habitual marijuana smokers must go through withdrawal symptoms if they wish to stop smoking it. 

Withdrawal what, Buzz? Oh, you're spewing horseshit again! 

As the nervous system accumulates the toxic wastes of marijuana schmoke and as the overall nervous system degenerates, the less the individual is able to cope with the ordinary stresses of life. Sounds of machines, cars or unpleasant situations cause overreaction. Simple stress becomes unbearable. The hallucinations and consciousness changes experienced in the "euphoric high" -- ah, the seriousness implied when quotes get stuck on randomly -- are also results of the effect the drug has on chemical balance. 

 -- And . . . he's got it backwards. Just reverse everything Buzz pontificated on up there in that wee paragraph-pile of. Ya gotta love it! 

The drug also degenerates [Buzz musta loved this word] the highly sensitive pineal and pituitary glands, and can alter basic body functions such as hormone secretion and regulation of other glands in the endocrine system. Ya mean like roids, Buzz? Let's ask any of your clean physeek champeens. No wait, perhaps Buzz's awareness of his surroundings degenerated to the point where he believed Scott et al were blah blah, yawn. Clean as little whistles the lot of 'em! 

Because of the upset of the chemical balance, the user has an overreactive nervous system that can bring nervous breakdown.  -- Fuck off, Buzz. 

The dangers inherent in the use of marijuana cannot be overestimated

 -- Coulda fooled me after reading the above there. 

Besides the effects on lungs and nervous system, there is a vital organ which also is damaged from the bloodstream and I don't mean the dick. The liver, silly! Because the liver works as a filter, the THC residue gets trapped in the liver's filtering lobules and accumulates along with other toxic particles that have been absorbed. 

 -- Yes, the liver is in many ways a filter and in some ways a mammalian toilet of sorts. Now, where'd I put those desiccated liver tabs taken from the bovine among us? I still can't understand why they never flavored those rabbit droppings. Fruity Pebbles of Goodness brought to you direct from the finest cattle carrion!   

Habitual smokers have degenerated [that's it, Buzz, keep it up!] and weakened livers. This accounts for much of the jaundice and hepatitis epidemics among hippies [you really can't make this stuff up, and damnit, it's hard to create anything funnier than reality in so, so many instances, ain't it just!]. It can also lead to cirrhosis of the livre, a hardening of pages in texts. 

All these disorders prove marijuana is a dangerous drug. 

 -- Not quite as dangerous as getting two years less a day for a roach during that era, of having a good friend hang himself at 19 on his first night in jail for what was scheduled to be a couple years via possession of less than a gram of leaf. Fucking leaf. For a time I believed lifting weights was a gateway activity to blunt stupidity and pompous blind ignorance, but got over it by lifting weights. 

Under influence of the drug, the mind is unable to function normally . . . 

 -- Odd, Buzz, considering I would appear to be functioning normally at this very moment and getting paid for it at work here. Go figure! 

. . . and the consciousness is drawn away from intellectual and spiritual perception and pulled into sensory perception, says Great Spiritual Enlightenment Seeker Buzz, no less. The mind becomes dull and its activity is reduced to  the sensuous, emotional level of body awareness. 

 -- This from a fella who made his living focusing on piddling about with muscle development and creating an illusion of width blah, yawn, blah. If there's anything funnier than the childlike excuses and rationale behind bodybuilding, Buzz style, the anal, ego-driven hoo-ha baloney and unrealized stupidity of even attempting to claim some great epiphany while pumping and fluffing your floppers, well, I anxiously await it. 

The brain, too, is affected so that such things as walking and talking become impaired temporarily. Oh fer fucksake, adapt and enjoy the high while doing anything and everything you choose too, once you've adapted at various levels to the thing. The toxic THC accumulates in the brain cells and causes damage. The "spacing out" that smokers feel after they have stopped smoking for a while is the THC that has accumulated in the brain which gets activated again when the body tries to eliminate it from the system. 

 -- Why certainly. One can, by experimenting with quantity/potency, find just how much one needs in the p.m. to carry over to the following a.m. in a nice, mild way, if one so desires, right Buzz? 

The fact that anyone should believe marijuana is anything but harmful is a good example of how perverted the values of so many people are in this era of civilization. 

 -- Of course! Why leave out the usual conservative judgmental view from on high . . . not high? . . . on high! These scabs of humanity, these do-right asshats, these non-Johnsons, these sappers of energy, these pathetic "god"-goggled miscreants and their boring minds, average I.Q.s and redundant beliefs are pretty much unbearable to be anywhere near, physically and in psychic ways, Pot can, of course, make them a little more tolerable when forced into contact with the lot to make a buck. 

I believe any tendency to legalize marijuana because of the profit motive or inability to enforce the law is the price civilized (civilized? oh, really?) society has sold itself for. If marijuana is not curbed by law, which doesn't seem likely, the whole moral structure of society is undetermined --

 -- finally starting to get funny near the ender. 

If children can no longer be protected from exposure to this harmful drug, nothing can prevent their deterioration at ages when growth and maturity (a subjective term in this context?) are of the utmost importance. We need somehow to at least protect the young. 

This is the only hope of the future. 

There, a great punchline at the end that has me spewing coffee at work! 

Fuck all these Buzz-types and Enjoy Your Lifting!     

Tailoring the Workouts -- C.S. Sloan

Tailoring the Workouts to Suit Your Needs and Body Type

We are now going to look at ways you can tailor the programs discussed, so that you can accommodate such things as age, training experience, body type, and goals.

If you are new to training, make sure you haven't skipped ahead to the advanced approaches without laying a solid foundation first, thinking you need to better understand your body type when at the early stages of training. 

You Don't! The first thing you need to do is perform progressive workouts in a systematic fashion to establish that foundation. 

You will have noticed how some exercises make you grow faster than others. For example, you may have discovered that sumo deadlifts really cause the muscles of your back and hamstrings to grow, while conventional deadlifts just don't do that much for you. Or you may have discovered that incline bench presses, dumbbell bench presses, and dips do wonders for making your chest grow, while flat benches seem to do little other than give you big shoulders and arms. 

Everyone who has used the earlier routines should know two things: First, you should know whether you respond best to full body programs or to two-way split training. Second, you should know whether you do best on a program that uses only a few basic exercises, or whether you do best by routinely rotating exercises and repetition ranges. 

Keep in mind, too, that once you reach a more advanced level, all of the programs should only be considered as outlines. After I write these programs and you start using them, I'm not there to make changes based on how your body responds -- or doesn't respond -- to the workouts.  

Here we will take a look at four key components in all good strength programs in general. they are: 

 - core exercises
 - sets and reps
 - weight progression, and
 - workload at each workout. 

Core Exercises 

There are plenty of lifters -- especially competitive powerlifters and Olympic lifters -- who are perfectly satisficed with doing essentially the same core exercises year-round. Other lifters need constant change in order to either 1) stay interested in the workouts they're doing, or 2) to continue to make progress. 

For the most part, I would put myself, for example, in the former category. I'm happy training the squat and deadlift year-round without rotating much to other exercises. I enjoy both of these exercises more than just about any other, and I can increase both of them by just, well, training both of them.

The difference for myself is the bench press. In order to make progress in this exercise -- and other upper body pressing movements -- I need to rotate exercises on a fairly consistent basis in order to progress. If I don't rotate bench exercises, then my progress will soon start to stagnate on the lift. 

For a vast majority of you that are reading this (assuming you have built your foundation over time), you will need to change routines every 5-6 weeks, and exercises every 1-2 weeks in order to not grow stale and hit sticking points. 

Now let's take a look at the kind of training I typically utilize in order to keep my lifts continually moving upward in terms of raw strength and power. Remember, I need to rotate bench exercises regularly, and I can just train the squat and deadlift in order to keep those lifts moving. Keep in mind, as well, that this is the kind of training I need to do. But it should give you a good example of the kind of variety you need in order to continue to make gains.

First, I would (typically) begin a training cycle by performing 4 weeks of advanced-style full body training. After that, I would switch over to 4-6 weeks of Russian-style two-way split training. At this point, while my squat and deadlift should be consistently gaining in strength, my bench would start to stagnate (keep in mind that variety is build into the above two programs, but my bench needs even more than what those two programs offer). Now, it's time for me to utilize 8-10 weeks of Power Volume Training. With the PVT, variety is already built into the system -- how much variety is up to the individual lifter. For myself, I will rotate bench exercises on a weekly basis, in addition to rotating assistance exercises for the bench at least every two weeks. 

For my squats and deadlifts, however, I have to do little more other than just squat and deadlift. In fact, all I really need to do is rotate two weeks of squatting with two weeks of deadlifting. Throw in some bottom position squats and some deficit deadlifts on occasion and my squats and deadlifts, for the most part, will continue to gain strength. 

The biggest problem I run into when lifters change exercises is that they pick easy lifts instead of hard ones. The new exercise has to be as demanding as the one you're trading it out for. Also, if you're using Power Volume Training or the Westside-style program [comin' up], not only do you need to rotate exercises on a regular basis, but you also need a large number of exercises to rotate from. The more advanced you are, the more exercises you need in your arsenal. The important thing is that you must trade a heavy exercise for a heavy exercise, a medium exercise for a medium exercise, etc. 

Sets and Reps 

While strength training is an art in addition to being a science, let's keep in mind that is is a science as well, and there are optimum numbers of sets and reps to use. 

When deciding which program to use, or how you might need to alter the number of sets and reps in one of the programs you've already performed for a certain length of time, you need to take into account your goals. If you are solely interested in building strength, then there is no reason to do a lot of sets, or as much "extra" work in a session. This means, for instance, that if you're following Power Volume Training and you're just trying to gain strength, there is no need for as many progressively heavier sets until you reach your max weight (more on this later), and there is no need for as many sets of "assistance" work. 

If you're trying to gain strength and muscle mass 
more on this from Anthony DitIllo here: 
then the opposite is true. You need additional work. The more you train, the harder you train, then the better your body gets at adapting to stress. For the most part, at least; some lifters do better with lower volume when aiming to gain muscle mass than other lifters. 

As with core exercises, you need some variety built into your program. Just how much variety will, once again, depend on your body type and lifting temperament. Here's an interesting thing to keep in mind when coming across any programs you want to try:

When training for strength, rotating exercises is more important than rotating different set and rep sequences. 

When training for muscle growth, rotating different set and rep sequences if more important than rotating exercises.  

This is because for strength and power, you need to stick with sets of really low reps (5 would be considered high if strength is your goal). However, since a certain amount of variety has to be built into your program, you must rotate to different exercises. The variety for strength, then, entails rotational exercises. 

Muscle growth is different. Of course, you already know I'm a big fan of heavy weight, low rep training for muscle growth, but you can certainly have weeks where you rotate to more high-rep workouts. In fact, I believe that kind of training is paramount for advanced lifters to continue gaining muscle mess, er, mass. When it comes to hypertrophy, you can really do the same exercises almost year round and get good results. However, rep ranges must be altered. 

To explain how you might choose to rotate sets and reps, let's use the Program 2 from here . . . 

. . . the more advanced program, as an example of what a month of training might look like for a more advanced lifter. For this, I will use myself, and my body type, as an example. If I was trying to gain muscle, while also keeping my core lifts increasing, the following is what I would do during four weeks of training. 


Heavy Day

 Squat, 7 x 5 reps
 Bench press, same
 Deadlift, same

 Wide grip dip alternate with 
 Wide grip chin, 4 x 5 each

 BB curl alt with
 Pullover and press, 4 x 5 each

Incline situp, 3 x 30.

Light Day

Oly style pause squat, 5 x 5

One arm DB bench press, 5 x 5

Round back good morning, 5 x 8

DB curl superset with
Lying DB extension, 5 x 8 each

Crunch, 3 x 60

Medium Day 

Bottom position squat, 7 x 5 reps

Incline bench with pursed lips, 7 x 5

Deadlift off box, 7 x 5

Reverse grip chin, 5 x 5

Lying BB extension, 5 x 5

Hanging leg raise, 3 x 20


Heavy Day

Squat, 2 x 4, 2 x 6, 4 x 8 no wait that's the lumber I need
Squat, 4 x 8

Bench, 4 x 8

Deadlift, 4 x 8

Wide grip dip alt with
Wide grip chin, 2 x 10 each 

BB curl alt with 
Pullover and press, 2 x 10

Incline situp, 3 x 30

Light Day

Oly style pause squat, 3 x 8

Incline one arm DB bench press, 3 x 8 each arm

Round back good morning, 3 x 12

DB curl superset with
Lying DB extension, 5 x 12

Crunch, 3 x 60

Medium Day

Bottom position squat, 4 x 8

Weighted Dip, 4 x 8

Deadlift off a box, 4 x 8

Reverse grip chin, 4 x 8

Lying barbell extension, 4 x 8

Hanging leg raise, 3 x 20


Heavy Day

Squat, 8 x 3

Bench, 8 x 3

Deadlift, 8 x 3

BB curl superset with 
Pullover and press, 10 x 3 

Incline situp, 3 x 30

Light Day

Front squat, 8 x 3

Incline one arm bench press, 8 x 3 each arm

Round back good morning, 5 x 8

Crunch, 3 x 60

Medium Day

Bottom position squat, 8 x 3

Three board bench press, 8 x 3

Sumo deadlift, 8 x 3

Reverse grip chin, or, what a barber does when shaving your neck, 8 x 3

Lying BB extension, 8 x 3

Hanging leg raise (when people get strung up they superset these with 
running on the spot), 3 x 20


Heavy Day

Squat, 3 x 12

DB bench press, 3 x 12

Deadlift, 4 x 8

Wide grip dip alt with
Wide grip chin, 2 x 20

BB curl atl with 
Pullover and Press, 2 x 20

Incline situp, 3 x 30

Light Day

Oly style pause squat, 3 x 12

Incline one are DB bench press, 3 x 12 

Round back good morning, 3 x 12

Crunch, 3 x 60

Medium Day

Bottom position squat, 3 x 12

Dips, 4 x AMRAP with bodyweight only

Deadlift off a box, ahem, 3 x 12 

Reverse grip chin, 3 x AMRAP bodyweight only

Close grip bench, 3 x 12

Hanging leg raise, 3 x 20

Weight Progression

One of the most important yet often neglected components of strength training is weight progression. The kind of weight progression you utilize should be based on your goals, your body type, and the number of repetitions being used on an exercise.

When beginners start on a heavy/light/medium, 5 sets of five program [note: my error there, that should read five sets of 5], for instance, one of the first things they need to understand is how to program in weight over the course of the 5 sets. For most lifters the 5 sets should be evenly spaced apart in poundage steps. The 4th set, however, is often the "tricky" set for lifters. A lot of lifters, myself included, like to take a 4th set that is very close in weight to what will be used on the 5th set. When I do this it actually makes my 5th set stronger.

Using squats as an example, here is what 5 sets of 5 would look like for myself: 

135x5 | 225x5 | 315x5 | 405x5 | 425x5. 

To be honest, I would use more than 5 sets on squats. The amount that I use, and my age, entails that I do do so. Otherwise, I would be risking injury. Here is an even more "realistic" version of what my squat would look like if I were using 5 reps: 

135x5 | 225x5 | 315x5 | 350x5 | 405x5 | 425x5.

Other lifters who are just as strong as I am, prefer to take a 4th set that is not so close to their 5-rep max. Assuming one of these lifters was using 5x5, this is what his weight progression might look like: 

135x5 | 225x5 | 315x5 | 350x5 | 425x5.

Another factor here is the number of reps that are going to be used. Generally speaking, the higher the number of reps in sets, the fewer sets that need to be performed. Let's assume that a program calls for sets of 10 in the squat. Let's stick with squats as our example here. The number of sets for 10 reps will depend on the level of strength-fitness of the lifter. Generally, for sets of 10-12 reps, there is no need for more than 3 or 4 sets. Possibly more for advanced lifters who are both well conditioned and have a high level of endurance-strength. And it would possibly be less for J. Arthur rank beginners who reach their 10-rep maximum on the second set.

If I was doing sets of 10 reps in the squat, my progression would look something like this: 

135x10 | 185x10 | 225x10 | 275x10.

Obviously this is a pretty good squat session, even though only 4 sets are involved. 

Okay, now let's say that I am going to do sets of 3 reps for my squats. Here, my weight progression would be different. For one, not only would I be using a lot more sets, I would also begin with a few sets of 5 in order to warm up properly. Here is an example of my weight progression for 3's: 

135x5 | 225x5 | 275x5 | 315x3 | 405x3 | 450x3 | 465x3 | 495x3.

Now, keep in mind that all human thought processes are disturbingly inefficient endeavors based on protecting mental ruts and end in short circuits. Don't believe me? Yes! See how well those ruts hold. No! -- that all of the programs incorporate progressively heavier sets, as in the examples above. Several of the programs entail "straight" sets where you use the same weight on all of your work sets. 

Let's say that I am going to use a squat workout that requires 5 x 5 using the same weight on all sets. Here is what my hypothetical progression would look like: 

135x5 | 225x5 | 275x5 | 315 x 5x5.


Another component that you need to have an understanding of is workload. When a program here calls for 3 days a week of heavy/light/medium workouts, what makes a workout "light" or "heavy" is its workload, workload being the amount of weight lifted x number of sets x number of reps.  

I have had lifters write me or talk with me requesting that I outline a program for them. If they're at the beginner or intermediate level with regards to their goal (strength, muscle growth, or a combination of both), then I always have them perform a heavy/light/medium, full body workout. Invariably, several of these lifters will call me or write back wondering why they aren't making enough progress. When I have them write down what they're doing in order to assess the problem (even though I've already guessed what the problem is), they're usually surprised to hear that they're simply doing too much work on their light and medium days. 

The extra work is usually because they don't feel as if they've had enough of a "workout" on the light days, so they do a bunch of sets of curls, or chins, or, well, you name it. Because they're doing these assistance lifts with such light weights, they assume it makes them perfect for the "light" training day. But when we look at their total workload throughout the week, it's clear that their "light" day is actually heavier (more total workload)  than their "heavy" day. While training with such a workload is fine for a week or two -- in fact, I require it from some lifters, I work with -- it can lead to overtraining if done persistently over the course of several weeks. 
Let's take a look at two of the hypothetical squat workouts I used in our "weight progression" discussion to further understand just how workload affects your training. If you look at the workout I used for 10 reps of squats:
135x10 | 185x10 | 225x10 | 275x10
and the workout I used for 3 rep sets of squats: 
135x5 | 225x5 | 275x5 | 314x3 | 405x3 | 450x3 | 465x3 | 495x3 
you would probably assume that the 3 rep workout was the "heavier" session, using more total workload. But is this the case? Well, actually it is, but not by much. Despite the fact that heavier weights were used and twice as many sets, the workload for the 3 rep workout is 9,565 pounds, and the workload for the 10 rep workout is 8,200 pounds. If I had performed 5 sets of 10 reps instead of just 4 sets of 10, then the 10 rep workout would have been heavier. 
In case you haven't already figured it out, this is what makes "straight sets" so particularly demanding on your muscles and nervous system. Sticking with the squats and using my straight-set "5 sets of 5 workout" above:
135x5 | 225x5 | 275x5 | 315 x 5x5
the total workload for that workout is 11,000 pounds, more than either of the previous squat workouts. 
One more thing about workload: AS you become more advanced, your total workload should consistently go up. The more workload you can tolerate (up to a point, obviously), then the bigger and stronger you are going to be. 
Enjoy Your Lifting!    

Saturday, November 26, 2022

My Talk With Bob Simpson -- Jeff Greathouse (2016)

Bob Simpson (Nov. 20, 1937 - April 9, 2022)

More from Bob Simpson here:

Thank You, Jeff!

It's not every day you get to correspond with a legend in the iron game. It is my sincere hope that the information presented here will be of use to fellow lifters, and if I can help even just one person, I'll die a happy man. My regret is that I didn't take more time to correspond with Bob further. Let it be a lesson to always set time aside to talk with a friend or family member. You never know if it'll be the last conversation you have with that person. Without further ado, here is my conversation with Bob, which took place during April of 2016. 

 - Jeff Greathouse

Q [Jeff]: My name is Jeff and I am a huge fan of what you accomplished with your partial rep training. I have been doing the same type of training for two years now, and can't seem to make the kind of progress you have. I was hoping you could help me out and give me some advice. I can tell you all about my failures, training, diet, etc., later if you like. 

A [Bob Simpson]: Hey Jeff, thanks for your interest in my training. Basically, my training philosophy is just to start light and add weight every workout, until it just gets to be too much. Then, start light again and get a running start, trying to reach a higher peak. 

I like working on a muscle group twice a week. For example . . . 

Bentover Row. Start with a weight you can get for 3 reps -- add 5 pounds a workout, twice a week. Eventually, of course, you will not be able to get the full movement throughout its entire range. That is okay. Just keep adding weight and pull as high as you can -- eventually even just barely getting the weighgt off the floor. I got good results doing this, doing only 1 set of partials like this, and sometimes, whenever I wanted to, drop to a lighter weight and do a set of full movement. 

This works equally well with Press, and Upright Row. Main thing -- just keep adding weight. You will surprise yourself with what you can do, if you do it with DETERMINATION. Nutrition is very important, of course. 

Just keep the poundage going up. You really can go much higher than you probably think you can.

The same approach can be applied to squatting. I once trained a guy who lifted at home and used 85 pounds on the squat. I had him squat twice a week, adding 5 pounds each workout. He kept adding weight every workout even after he could not do the full movement, and got up to over 500 on the top part of the lift, going as low as he could for reps. I believe it was around 10 reps with this weight -- this was decades ago. He reached a good squat with 400. His bodyweight increased from 136 to 196 in about a year. I had him use the same system on his bench presses. 

Another friend of mine, back around 1962, started taking a weight more than he could handle for the full range after his regular sets on both the squat and bench. He would lower to bottom position and attempt to come up for 3 or so reps. Both lifts improved from 400 to 460 in a couple of weeks.   
Q: Thanks, Bob! Trying to increase my military press off a rack and curl. My best press was 215@200 bodyweight. I did that two years ago and have been stuck ever since. I recently started squatting and can do 435x10 in half squat position. Can lockout 655 on my back for 1 rep in 2" range of motion. Best low press partial is 315 held for 3 seconds. Same for lockout. My best curl is 160 strict. Upright rows hurt my wrists and bentover row strains my back so I don't do either of them. I prefer V-bar pulldowns and pull-ins as well as one arm DB rowing for my back work. I also do one arm thick bar deadlifts for partial reps as well as farmer walks with 200 in each hand for about 100 feet. 
I've tried doing cycles like Bill March did in his training, but going up 10 pounds a week is just too much and has caused my progress to stall. Now just going to train year round like this and try increasing my press and curl by 2.5 pounds a week. 
I know you're a big proponent of push pressing for partials but I can never press like that. For some reason I never get anything to budge even with leg drive. I know my triceps are probably weak but whenever I try doing extensions my elbows get really bad pain. I've tried benching but I feel it doesn't help my press at all. I've locked out 565 for 1" on bench but I don't like the way it feels compared to lifting overhead while standing. 
I get plenty of sleep, usually 8-9 hours a night. Diet consists of mainly chicken, eggs, sardines [yes!], brown rice and pinto beans with homemade salsa. Also juice via vita mix using veggies, fruit and vitamin C powder. I am lactose intolerant and red meat does not digest well in my stomach. I don't count protein grams but if I were to guess I'd say about 150 grams every day. In the past I've tried eating excessive amounts of protein and all it did was make me constipated and fat. Now I eat only when hungry and I feel better by doing so.
A: Actually, Jeff, I did not do push presses, only regular press -- partial and full. 
Q: Okay, that's great. For some reason Mike Brown stated that you did push presses in a book that I have. I'd appreciate any more helpful tips you can give. 
A: If I think of something, I'll let you know. There really is not much else. It is all pretty simple . . . and simple is good! I saw once that Mike Brown said he trained me. HE DID NOT -- we talked and agreed on some things, but I was pressing 500 before I ever met him. He did espouse partial movements.
Q: Have you ever tried progressive movement training like Paul Anderson did? I'm currently doing that with my squat and deadlift, working from lockout down to full range, gradually over a period of time. I'm wondering if that method can work for the press. It's easier for squats and deads because there's not much of a gap in poundage between spacings on the rack. 
For example . . . I started doing quarter squats with 455 for 2 x 25 reps and now I can do half squats with 435. Just missed 455 because I was tired, but it is working. However, when I try press lockouts I've found that for every two inch spacing I have a 30 pound difference. Doing lockout is easy but trying to work down in the rack is harder. I have a few 3/4" mats to make the gaps less arduous but still the pressing is hard.
Do you feel that benching in any way contributed to increasing your press? I've never felt that it made an impact. 
Do you have a theory as to why lifters such as Hepburn and Anderson used it effectively but Grimek never benched and still achieved an awesome press? 
Note: John Grimek has stated that at one point he found that benching was hindering his pressing ability. 
My best bench using a regular semi-wide grip was 300, which was four years ago. Recently I've done 235 with a close grip which is only 20 pounds more than my press. I guess I just suck at benching! Many lifters have used the 60-70 degree incline press with success. Have you ever done any incline pressing? I've seen the cool incline [standing] benches that the Oly athletes used in the '60s, but it's rare to find those nowadays.  

Note: Old style slant (ab) board on a bar on lower pins in the rack at the angle you want, bar to be lifted on top pins, there it is. The actual ones back then were no more stable. Sweet D.I.Y. of life at last I've found thee.

A: I never used the progressive movement method that you mentioned. Back around '58-59 I worked the bench press pretty hard and it did help my press a good bit I thought. Never really trained it much after that, but did do some in the top and mid position, when Isometronic came along --  but for a very short time. Did not do inclines. I did a lot of partial standing presses in start position with very heavy weights. Also same way with lighter weights starting at shoulders and pushing higher to various heights. Triceps presses were a big help also.

Q: I see that triceps presses are a staple in elite lifters such as yourself and Chuck Ahrens. I understand that lying triceps presses are easier done than standing. For many years I performed them incorrectly by solely using triceps alone in the movement but I think I read that you stated that if you incorporate the lats into it like a pullover it relieves the much of the stress on the elbows. That's my main reason for not doing them . . . elbow pain. Maybe it's worth another try? You did them with 420 and your press was only 110 pounds more than that, so they must have had a direct carryover more so than benching or inclines. 
A: I did not incorporate pullover on lying triceps presses -- I lowered the bar to the forehead. I only did these for about seven weeks and I feel that regular standing triceps press had a better effect for me. The point is to get strong triceps and any exercise that does that for you is what you should do.
Q: Thanks, Bob. When you did benching or triceps press did you do them after your press on the same day, or did you train those exercises on a separate day? Also, when you reach a plateau in a partial press, how do you overcome it besides lowering the weight? For example, I can lift 315 and inch off my shoulders and hold for about 3 seconds. Do I lengthen the movement and work up to where I can drive shoulders to nose height, or should I add more reps and then increase the weight? 
A: A lot of my training was basically the chaos method. I REALLY JUST DID WHAT I WANTED TO MOSTLY. I usually did do the partial presses first and then everything else was usually just . . . "CHAOS". I might do squats, high pulls -- just whatever I wanted to. I did go through a few times where I did triceps on a progressive set routine, but rarely. 
As for the partial presses getting to a very difficult point -- when I first started them, I held them at the high point for a few seconds. Later, I adopted the way of just pushing as high as possible and not worrying about holding for seconds. To make even these feel light and manageable -- set the pins to about the quarter squat position, then stand up with it and press it even if it is only a half inch distance -- just get to a monster weight on this and then drop to a lighter weight and press to a higher distance. These will then feel a lot lighter. 
Q: Bob, when I read your power rack article on a blog I immediately sought out a rack and hit it hard these last two years. It's been really cool corresponding with you because your training opened my eyes on how to achieve superhuman strength. Thanks for this, and I really appreciate your info. I'll keep you updated once in a while when I hit a new PR. 
A: You are welcome, Jeff, and good talking to you. May God bless you and I hope you can accomplish what you desire. 
Q: [after some time has passed] . . . Hi Bob. Your tip on using the push press from the quarter squat position really helped! I got 325 for the low press start for half an inch . . . a 10 pound improvement. Also did a partial press lockout and did 345 for a half inch. I was very happy! Afterwards I benched 405 for a 3" lockout and then worked up to 555 for a one inch support  lockout. The partial push presses really fatigued my triceps and made the bench lockouts harder to do than usual. 

You mentioned previously that your type of training can be applied to the bench as well by lowering the bar down from the pins and attempting to bench from the low position for a few reps. You said a friend of yours increased his bench from 400 to 460 in a couple of weeks, so I'm hoping you can go into a few more details on that. I couldn't care less about the bench but I've decided to use that as assistance for the military press to get my triceps stronger. 
Also, did you use this type of training for barbell curls? I've been doing the Peary Rader thing
and doing partials with holds against restraining pins. I got up to 160 on an EZ-bar but have plateaued so I'm working with much lower weight right now. The odd thing is that I struggled to do 160 for a partial lockout but did it easily for the start position of the curl. I got so mad that I took off the top pins and did a regular curl with 160 in strict form for one rep, and I had no problem locking it out even though I had just failed that particular position. Is it possible that this partial position training may not be the best to increase my curls? I have no problem doing partial curls in the start position but I sometimes really struggle to do the mid and top positions.
A: There really is nothing else to tell about that, Jeff. I was not there at the time he did that. As you stated, he would just take take more than he could bench, lower it to the chest, and attempt to press it for a few reps. Same thing on the squat -- just go down with more than he could squat with and attempt to go up for a few reps. I would likely do a few reps of quarter squats before I did those, TO MAKE THE WEIGHT SEEM LIGHT. Think what you could do just by adding 10 pounds a month to this -- 120 pounds in a year, on a negative squat and bench. You could doubtless add more than that of course. 
Something helped my curl a lot, many years ago . . . I would sit on a bench, leaning forward, with upper arms sort of resting between my thighs and with a close grip, do a set of full curls. Then add weight and do a set of partials.
Glad you are making progress already! Just keep in mind, see in your mind what you can be doing in a year on some of these things.
Q: Thanks, Bob. So for the bench negatives I should only be using a little more than my max and attempt to press a few reps for partials. Or would it be better to simply just do several controlled negatives? I read that Bob Peoples would do negatives for the deadlift [that genius hydraulic jack idea!], and once he was able to complete seven of those he could do one regular full rep. 
A: I would do these just as you stated -- just take a little more than you can press all the way and do 3 or so partials. Of course, you can make adjustments any way that you like, but that is the way I would at least start off doing them. 
Q: Okay, Bob, will do. Also, just as you stated about the squats, I think I'll do bench lockouts and then the negative partials. Did those seated curls have decent carryover to doing them standing and strict? My best standing strict curl is 160, so I figure I should be able to rep that on the seated version. I'll know soon enough tomorrow when I try them out. 
A: Yes, those seated curls did have a good effect on my standing curl. I only did them for a short time though -- I did not do curls often. I know that I should have, but I just did what I liked to. 
You are doing really well. 
 And so concludes my conversation with Bob Simpson. Here's a link to a great conversation Bill P. had with Bob that gives great insight into the man and the life he lived: 
Enjoy Your Lifting! 
p.s. Hello Laree, if you see this. All the best to ya! 



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