Thursday, March 16, 2023

Power for All - Reg Park (1957)

Chuck Ahrens, shirtless. 

Paul Anderson, beltless.

Hey Liam! 

At the offset I must confess that even though I am classified as a body-builder I have always employed principles of power training in my own training and I have subsequently included these theories in my Mr. Universe course. 

No doubt Weider will now proceed to tell us how he discovered power training. [Note: that's Reg Park summing up Weider, not me. This article is from an issue of the Reg Park Journal.] 

It is my belief that only a physique built by power principles will bear the characteristics of a physique champion; these characteristics being my opinion, maximum muscular size with definition and power in proportion to one's size, as for example possessed by Grimek, Eder, Brenner, Delinger, Robert and Pearl, all of whom are not only great body-building champions but also extremely powerful men. 

Many body-builders still spend far too much time exercising the smaller muscle groups such as the biceps, at the expense of the larger muscle groups such as the thighs and then they wonder why they never gain in overall size and strength. The basic principles of power training can and should be employed by both the body-builder and lifter and it is concerned with devoting more of their training time to exercising the larger and stronger muscle groups such as the thighs and back so that more rapid overall gains both in power and size (if required) will be forthcoming as a result. 

Factors in Obtaining Greater Power and Size 

Obviously, several factors must be considered if one is to obtain more power and bodyweight and these are as follows: 

1) Exercising the larger muscle groups such as the back and thighs to a much greater extent than the small muscle groups such as biceps and triceps. 

2) Handling progressively heavier poundages and ensuring that you stabilize these increased poundages by the method I shall relate later in this article. 

Dave Sheppard, performing the incline barbell press with 285 pounds, although he has done 310 on this exercise, which he finds greatly benefits his standing press.  

3) Getting more nourishment in order to replace the energy which is used up during progressively heavier training schedules. This is where food concentrates and supplements are most advantageous. Of course, many lifters may not wish to increase their bodyweight (as do the majority of body-builders) in which case they could remain on their present diet but utilize food supplements in order to obtain the necessary dietary replacements without increasing their bodyweight. At this stage I feel that I should mention, however, that the majority of world class weight-lifters prefer and indeed endeavor to increase their bodyweight during training -- approximately 5 to 10 pounds depending upon which class they lift in -- this increased bodyweight does in turn enable them to handle heavier poundages during training and subsequently gives them greater ligament and tendon power. They then reduce gradually about two weeks before the day of the competition, so that they are thus able to make the required bodyweight comfortably; furthermore, they are able to retain the power they possessed at the heavier bodyweight until the big day, although it has been observed that if they remain at the higher bodyweight too long their poundages will in due course suffer. 

During their reducing period most lifters tend to make greater use of food supplements in order to get equal nourishment, but in less bulk form. Body-builders could also use the above principles when training to compete on the strength lifts, squat, bench press, and curl [the previous "big three"] -- that is, to increase their bodyweight during training to approximately 5 or 10 pounds more than the weight at which they intend to lift and and then reduce gradually just prior to the contest -- making full use of the Reg Park energy and tonic tablets and that'll be about enough-a that sales pitch.

4) With the more strenuous training schedule you will probably find you need more sleep and you should endeavor to get at least 8 hours sleep each night. 

5) Probably the most important factor of all in power training is to have a positive approach to your workouts -- compelling yourself to feel the master of the poundages you many handle but at the same time selecting your poundages wisely so as not to try for poundages just that little bit ahead of your power -- because too many failures on a certain poundage often create a mental barrier and all future attempts at that poundage are done with a slight negative mental approach and often leads to continued failures -- this is where the use of STABILIZING POUNDAGES comes in.

6) Of course all the previous factors are dependent upon regularity and stickability of your training -- you will not get anywhere with irregular training on a power course. 

When to Commence Power Training

A basic power course such as the one outlined by Ernest Peacock in this issue should be followed by anyone who has been training for 6-12 months. Ernes gained 26 pounds in bodyweight and added 70 pounds to his bench press, 80 to his squat, and 100 to his deadlift . . . all in 8 weeks, on the course which he has outlined for you. [I do not have article yet]. This course is ideal for body-builders and lifters who have never done any power training -- although the lifters could possibly leave out the calf and rib box exercises suggested on alternate nights. 

Stabilizing Poundages

As Ernest explained, on all exercises use the first 2 or 3 sets of 5 reps as warmups, increasing the poundage used on each set, and then perform further sets of 5 reps on the poundage handled on third set.

For example, if you are able to perform 200 x 5 reps on the squat, then warm up with 160 x 5, then 180 x 5, and then 200 x 5, and then try to perform another 3 sets of 5 with 200. When you are able to do this, increase your poundages by 5 pounds throughout, via starting at 165x5, 185x5, 205x5 x 4 sets. This principle should be employed on all the lifts included in your power schedule. It will ensure that you are working with weights well within your capabilities and not too near your limit. 

Beginners to a power course should try their limits at the end of the 8 week course and then take at least 3 days rest before proceeding on to another course.   

Degrees of Power-Training

The fundamental exercises of all power schedules are the squat or front squat, bench press, and dead lifts -- although in the case of Olympic lifters the deadlift is usually performed in a fast rebound style in keeping with their cleans. 

To these exercises can be added lunges with the bar at the sternum or resting across the shoulders. This is performed by lunging forward alternatively on either leg, sinking forward on the front leg as you would with a low split clean. For lifters this aids the recovery on split cleans and also gives lifters full, rounded, powerful thighs. 

Pressing off the stands is another exercise performed by many power men.

The standing dumbbell press is another favorite. 

Another favorite is the jerk press, in which the knees are just bent a little so that the weight is jerked to the top of the head and then pressed out -- a weight in excess of your best press must be used. 

For cleaning and snatching power -- modern lifters perform such lifts as high pulls with narrow (clean) and wide (snatch) grips with the bar being pulled at least to waist level. This is also a wonderful exercise for body-builders.

Another fine exercise, mainly for lifters, is WALKING WITH A BAR ON THE STERNUM [front rack] -- or even supporting a heavy weight at the sternum using a poundage well in excess of your best clean. Lifters would be advised to bear in mind that these lifts ALONE will not improve your Olympic lifts and three Olympic lifts should also be included in your power schedule. 

Enjoy Your Lifting! 



  1. WHaaaaaaATtttt!!?? mean the bodybuildin' universe really didn't begin on 1 AD [Anno Dollar] when Weedy spoke into existence, in the space of six literal business days, all forms of the living principles of multiplying muscle??

    But, if Weedy didn't create pumpin' ahron ex nihilo (or at least, with an old Canadian typewriter); and if Father Hoffman of York before him didn't create pumpin' ahron in 1,000 BC [Bringeth Cash], as he preached he did (in his Sermons On The ComPlain About How The FDA Persecuted Him For Righteousness' Sake Of His Supplement Claims); then, you insinuating that bodybuildin' EVOLVED like that bleeding-heart Sandow-Hackenschmidt-Steinbourn-MacFadden-Jowett-Calvert radical la-di-da "science" crap which claims we hypertrophied gorillas came from the ancient Greeks and Egyptians?? Eh??!!
    As of immediately right this instant now, CANCEL my subscription!!

    1. Thanks, Joe! My day got funnier there, yeah! In my view Joe Weider will always be the man who created muscle. No. Literally. Joe was the guy who designed it, brought fleshy muscle forth from the void, made a big noise about it, and died.

    2. And, giving credit for credit due, Weider did. Like most everyone in the muscle game, he certainly used it to make his $$$ but his motives weren't only financial; I believe he genuinely loved bodybuilding same as we each love parts or all of the iron game.

      Like Hoffman's of weightlifting principles and methods, Joe Weider's misappropriations and plagiarisms of bodybuilding principles and methods don't negate the interest in and popularization of bodybuilding generated via the circulation of his 1960s/1970s magazines. Not even a more-objective, trying-to-be-honest-and-to-avoid-personal-bias magazine like Rader's had the positive impact which Weider's self-biased magzine had on bodybuilding.

      For a teen guy like me during the early- and mid-1970s, in a town where no public weight rooms existed, where many guys, especially adults, still frowned on barbell training done for the sake of hypertrophy instead of as a tool for sports, where bodybuilders were still often perceived as sexual deviants, and where I was one of perhaps three under-age-21 guys who I knew considered themselves bodybuilders, Joe Weider's mags were a primary source of both information and inspiration as I trained alone in the basement of my folks' home.

      Schwarzenegger may be the One who, due to that right place, right moment, right mood in history, became the incarnation of bodybuilding for the public. But if not for the base of preexisting "average-guy" bodybuilders (including me) and bodybuilding fans built by Joe Weider's magazines, I suspect not even Gaine's "simple-but-colorful-writing-about-real-human-beings" style in 1974's "Pumping Iron" nor Butler's clever docu-dramatizing of Schwarzenegger's ego and charisma in 1977's movie of that name would have catapulted bodybuilding to the public familiarity if not endorsement it holds now?

      That enough pretentious, bombastic rambling for another day?

      Hey, how are your eyes faring after those cataract surgeries??

    3. Hi Joe! Thanks for asking, and the eyes will be lift-ready on Wednesday and back to almost 20-20. Changed my life quite a lot! Things are twice as bright and half as gloomy.

      For all their foibles and business tactics, I'm still grateful the muscle-rag guys put out their product! No question on this end. Sure, they were both slimy at times, and I see it as a side-note to the contents I like in their stuff. Boho, Ben & Joey's, Dan Lurie et al . . . they did some positive, and some negative things in the Iron Game. Oddly enough, Weider gets singled out most often, even though there's way, WAY worse business behavior from currently highly respected individuals in the Iron Game. living or passed.

      It's easy to forget how important those mags and the few books at the time were to me. And still are it seems!

      Sounds like you came up at the beginning amidst the same misconceptions about bodybuilding as me. No problem! I enjoyed the "cult" status and the way people still thought it odd to want to, well, simply make your body look good. Where was the problem with that? I still can't figure 'em out, but waste much less time bothering to figure that out now that it's so popular. So, I owe Arnold and all the others before him who forged a trail to make bodybuilding more accepted among the masses.

      Hey, I started out with bodybuilding. That is, up until I saw a guy bench 315 and beyond who was in high scholl with me. And one fellow at that tiny Y "gym", the main mentor there, was squatting four plates a side regularly. After that, I became more interested in the not-so-visual aspects of weight lifting. The strength, the athleticism to be gained, and . . . FEELING LIKE A MILLION BUCKS NO MATTER WHAT ANYONE THOUGHT.

      We had some great times back then, and the mags were a part of it.

  2. Between the scaled down and shirtless shot of Ahrens, and the never-before-seen (at least to me) shot of Shepard incline pressing and the sarcastic potshot Reg Park took at Weider, this article oozes muscle building history. Are there any more articles like this at home on TTSDB!

    1. Your home of Iron History sarcasm on the web. I've been typering out one by Barton Horvath titled "The Hoffman Expose" from 1956 that's over the top.

  3. Where & who got the rare Chuck Ahrens photo?

  4. I first saw it, a small photo on an article over at Joe Roark's Iron History Site. It was posted a few years earlier in a Chuck Ahrens examination thread, trying to determine what was real and what was myth. I missed it the first time! There's so SO much on that site.


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