Friday, December 16, 2022

Doug Hepburn Interviews, Part Six -- Jake Striefel


This photo is from the Bill Pearl Facebook page

Q [Jake Striefel]: Did you ever do 1/2 squats or 1/4 squats? 

A [Doug Hepburn]: No. I never bothered with that. I can't really think of anything else, mostly just the hold-outs, and I used to like one arm pressing. 

Q: What was the most you did on that. 

A: I think I did about 230, but it was a side press, but I did do 190 or 185 fairly strict with one arm. I don't think that Kazmaier or any of them could do much more than 200 pounds today. He pressed a pair of 170's. I think that's a very interesting thing, because I went to a show in my time, I weighed 275, and I took a pair of 170's and I almost had them up, and I never trained on it; there's an interesting thing with Kazmaier. 

Q: Yes. Because he can bench so much weight, 660 pounds.

A: Yes, I had these 170's at the show, two of them, but the things is, the guys helped me to the shoulders. I couldn't get them up, I don't know whether Kazmaier got them up by himself or what. Sometimes a guy will grab hold of them and help you get them up. I remember this, but I hadn't trained it. I made five attempts, and drove them halfway up or more. They were almost there, but you know what happened, I hadn't trained on them and they came out sideways. You see, I had the power, straight up, but I never developed the individual weight to hold them both in. 

Q: They went out to the sides? 

A: Yes, but I had them up. I could have, so there you go, there's Kazmaier. I was capable of pressing at my peak a pair of 170's. I could have pressed a pair of 170's, so my press would be on a par with Kazmaier. My standing power going by that lift must be close to what he did. Let's get Kazmaier, and put 440 pounds there, and just see whether he can press it, standing. 

Q: So today you are in the barbell and protein business? 

A: Yes, barbells, and putting out an exerciser here. 

Q: Is this 250 Kingsway? 

A: Yes. We're putting our a new exerciser here to go on the market so it will be a handy thing for the guys traveling, very small, compact and I think well worth it. 

Note: I di get to try one of them. A guy I worked with in some music thing had one. Plenty of resistance! Very smooth really. Only thing is there was no resistance on the eccentric, no lowering resistance. But when it came to a portable exerciser with plenty of resistance, useable for squats, presses, curls, etc., it was real easy to pack around. Easier than that other guitarist-guy's way of taking a bar and hundreds of pounds of plates on the road with him. He did get a 200 strict overhead in his hotel room somewhere in Northern Saskatchewan on a break one night though. Hahaha! 25's and smaller plates so's he wouldn't put two holes in the ceiling. Anyhow . . . 

The Canuck hockey team bought six of them to try out. I sure wish they were still on the market. You could be all in on that squat/hi-pull day on your lunch break in the coffee room! Come back in wet with sweat and beaming like a little boy so happy. 

Here is the patent, exploded diagrams and the rest of it in a PDF. 
Douglas I. Hepburn patent. 

Q: Did you ever do seated presses behind the neck? 

A: I never trained on them, but I once did a 350 press behind neck.

Q: Do you know James Walter, a colored fellow, who was in that bench press contest with you, or where he might be now? 

A: I remember him, but don't know where he lives now. I haven't seen him for years, I think he used to be a longshoreman. 

Q: What was your best bench press using a collar-to-collar grip and a bit of bounce? 

A: I did 5 singles with 550, probably 580. Not sure. I went to Portland once, took my own bench along [as did Pat Casey, in the back of his pickup to meets, thank you Laree] . . . told them I didn't want any spotter. I did 550, tried 600, bounced it and drove it halfway up and it went out of the groove and fell on my neck. The spotters had to come over and take it off. So . . . I was the first person to hold 600 like that on my neck! I never raised my hips when I benched that way, just wide grip and a bounce.

Q: In the squat did you pause at the bottom, that used to be the enforced rule, stay down for the count of two.

A: I can't remember for all of them, but I do remember squatting 700 and holding it down in the bottom while a photographer took my picture. 

Q: Strength & Health magazine, December, 1954 issue credits you as the first man to squat 600 pounds. 

A: Yes, that's probably true. 


Q: Can you remember a squat and deadlift contest or show in '53 or '54 at Ed Yarick's Gym in California. I think you also did one arm pressing with 170 pounds.

Here's a photo of Doug at Yarick's . . . 

A: Yes, I did two or three shows down there, he was always after me to come down.

Q: Were these contests or strength show? 

A: Just strength shows.

Q: I noticed in one photo of you benching 450 there are no uprights.

This kind of bench . . . 

A: A couple of guys would hand me the weight from the floor, after I was down on the bench and if I missed they'd take the weight and put it back on the floor.

Q: Is Ed Yarick still down there?

A: No, I don't think so. I once pressed a man who weighed around 360 pounds over my head, he was a truck driver. He crossed his legs, and folded his arms across his chest. I put my hand on the inside of his leg by the crotch and the other hand on his chest and he gave a little jump and I cleaned him and then pressed him overhead. We worked on it for a while, until I couldn't do it later. 

Q: How much could you do in the crucifix lift? 

Continued in Part Seven.

Enjoy Your Lifting! 

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