Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Doug Hepburn Interviews, Part Four -- Jake Striefel


Q (Jake Striefel): What was the most you pressed over your head? 

A (Doug Hepburn): About 440. 

Q: Di you clean that? 

A: No, I took it off the racks, the most I ever cleaned and pressed was around 390. I just did it one day, and I was capable of more, but had a hard time getting it to my shoulders. 

Q: What about incline presses? 

A: Never did them. Daggitt is extraordinarily strong. I'd say his lift, that press behind neck, has got to be a world record. I don't think anybody else can do that. I'd like to see them, the only thing of course is that Daggitt specialized. 

Q: How much did he do? 

A: He pressed behind the neck, seated, about 360 and that is one hell of a lift. It's the equivalent, I would say if Willoughby figured it, I think it would give him the same as a 600 pound bench or close to it. I think it's equal to that, it's for more than a 530 bench in merit, I would say.  

Q: So you would say that he's a better incliner than he is a bench presser. 

A: He's a better presser than he is a bench presser, by far. Bench pressing is not his forte, he's a presser. 

Q: Do you feel that powerlifting was your sport rather than Olympic lifting? 

A: Well, you can call it powerlifting, I just called it strongman stuff in the old days. Yes, that was my sport, it wasn't weightlifting, because I never even trained much on it. I went in and trained on the clean, just before the meet, maybe a month, but I was no Olympic lifter, you know, the technique and that, no way. Mind you, I was good in the clean, because I actually was close to a 400 pound clean, which was close to a world record at that time. 

Q: What about the lift . . . where you used to clean 145, and then you'd press it, straight forward at shoulder level and hold it.

A: That's a hold out; I held out about 145. Here's an interesting thing. If you took Daggitt, and you want to test real natural strength there's a way you can do it.  You do it by hold outs, because hold outs show the strength of the tendon. They show the great potential of a man is by his hold out strength. You can get a guy who can bench, because he has developed the muscle bulk, but when you hold the weight out the muscle bulk doesn't help you that much, it does, but the ratio goes down, you're now depending on your natural tendon power, and what I couldn't figure out is, for example, in a one arm hold out I could lay you odds that Daggitt . . . I can bench press about 350 now and Daggitt can do 530 and I'll bet you any money that he isn't going to beat me by that much. How come? I found out once that when he was bench pressing 420 and I was training at the Broadway Gym. He was doing about 420 on the bench and I was around 360 or 370. I held out 130 pounds; Daggitt at that time couldn't even begin to do it. He pushed it out and it just fell right down, and he had me by about 70 pounds in the bench. 

Q: Did you wear wraps when you lifted? Knee wraps, wrist wraps. 

A: No, no, as a matter of fact I didn't even wear a belt. All my lifts were done with no belt, squats, the whole thing, no belt. I never wore a belt, and no knee wraps. I put them on when my knee got sore, but I never wore knee wraps and I used to train in the gym with my bare feet doing real heavy squats with 600, bare feet with a pair of swimming trunks on. I'd go in there, like you're going to the beach, bare feet, pair of swimming trunks on, no belt, doing 650 squats.  


Q: It's a shame. All that lifting and you only entered that one meet, though if your lifts would have all been recognized to this day they would have been real impressive. 

A: Well, these guys now, they're another breed, they're way ahead of me. You got to give these guys credit, things get better. I mean, in my day, I was the best, that's gone. It's like taking an old-timer and putting him against these new guys, but the only thing is, it's unfortunate, very unfortunate that we can't get a proper comparison now, because now they're taking drugs, and there's no way to compare the old with the new.

Q: Would you ever take them? 

A: I've never taken them and I wouldn't take them, because I feel you should have a respect for your body, and if I had to take drugs to do it, forget it, because you like to feel that you've done it. I can't see how a man can take drugs, and, looking at himself, admit to himself he did it, he knows bloody well that he didn't do it, and if he's honest with himself, he'd have to say what would I have done without the drugs. How can he expect credit. The only way you can say it is, well, they're all taking drugs and I'm the best.  

Q: If you could say one thing, what would be your pet peeve about the whole iron game, or don't you have one? 

A: The only pet peeve that I would have, and I had it myself which is necessary, is the fact that when you get deeply into the iron game you lose your sense of equilibrium if regard to other thing in the world of value, which is probably necessary. A man that's so deeply into that sport, he loses sight of all the other things of merit in life. Things of beauty that he probably can't see because he's so deeply immersed into the thing of his chosen field. Beautiful music, or a beautiful painting, I don't believe a lot of these men can see it. 

Q: Knowing what you know today, would you have done the same thing. Would you have devoted yourself so totally? 

A: You have to do it, mind you, what I mean by this is, for a man to become a champion he has to bury himself in it. He has to, at that time. But I could say now, that he does not have to do it because how we know more. A man can become a great champion and be very intellectual, because the Russians proved it, but in my day; you might say because of the society that we live under . . . I always said if you do it in Canada, twenty years ago, and you got to be a world champion, in those days they should have given you two medals: one for winning the championships, and one for doing it in Canada under all these handicaps. This guy should get two medals, one for doing it and the second one for doing it so bloody hard with very little recognition and help, because over in Russia and these places you're walking down the street like Pierre Trudeau. 

Q: You won the Worlds in Sweden? 

A: Stockholm. Sweden, yes. 

Q: When you came back by plane after winning the championship, was there much of a crowd to greet you at the airport? 

A: The mayor was there and a few people, but the story is there sure as hell wasn't anyone there when I left for Sweden. They were all there when I came back champion, and the mayor was there with his motorcycle escort and I thought it was for me, but he left when the motorcycle escort left. It's a long story, it's the same old story of the small minds of these people and they're immature and ignorant, like I said, and all I can say is to use the biblical phrase blame them not, they know not what they do. That's all we can say.

What gets me is the Canadians, now they're so wise, what they're finding out with all this "new" training coming out, and these "new" principles. I knew a lot of this stuff twenty years ago, but you're walking around like a dunce, I mean I knw a lot of these things in training. Now they're all smart. Now they know what I knew, now they're just brains, you see. 

Q: When you were at your peak in training, did you train every day or 3 times a week or what?

To be continued in Part Five. 

Enjoy Your Lifting! 


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