Saturday, December 30, 2023

Facts and Fallacies About the Squat (with new comments) - Bruce Randall (1962)


During the past few months I have encountered many questions pertaining to the feasibility of the Deep Knee Bend. Some coaches maintain that this exercise is undesirable because it tends to stretch and tear tendons, ligaments and muscle tissue at the knee. They maintain that when a person is down in the lowest possible position, with the weight upon the shoulders, the weight will cause tendons, etc., about the knee to stretch and extend unduly. 


In order to counteract this happening, these coaches recommend that their charges perform only the quarter squat, half squat, or in some cases coaches will eliminate the Deep Knee Bend altogether. 

For many years there has been almost unanimous agreement among the trainers and experienced trainees of the world of weights that if a person only had time to do one exercise he would probably derive more benefit from the Deep Knee Bend than he would from any other single exercise. The reason for this was that when one performs the Deep Knee Bend properly he will bring into play more of the major muscle groups at one time than he will with any other single exercise. 

Quadriceps, leg biceps, calves, back, deltoids, trapezius, and rib box are only a few of the muscle groups that are stimulated when performing this exercise. 

Paul Anderson . . . 


. . . worked almost exclusively on this exercise in his early months of training and this undoubtedly served as a basic foundation of his enormous strength. He has performed a Deep Knee Bend with a weight well in excess of 1,000 pounds and is the possessor of what are unquestionably the strongest pair of legs in the world. 

Let's examine the facts of the Deep Knee Bend. It is quite possible to sustain some sort of knee injury when doing the Squat as it is sometimes called, IF IT IS PERFORMED IMPROPERLY. 

Surely we will all agree that there is a right way and a wrong way to do everything. This fact, of course, applies to weight training as well as it does to any other activity. I will not agree that performing a Deep Knee Bend PROPERLY will ever injure the leg, or any part of the leg, in any way whatsoever. 

When I go into the Full Deep Knee Bend without any weight upon my back, my haunches are less than one inch from the ground. My leg biceps are pressed firmly and completely against the calf and I am prevented from going any deeper into the squatting position. If I go down with 100 pounds upon my shoulders my haunches are still about one inch from the ground; if I use 500 pounds, I am still about one inch from the ground, and if I were to try 800 pounds (which obviously would be far from my ability to come up with), I would still be about one inch from the ground. It is simply structurally impossible for me to go any deeper into the squat. 

What I am saying is that whether I go into the complete Deep Knee Bend with no weight upon my back or with a heavy weight upon my back my knee is in the same position. 

If we are to condemn the Deep Knee Bend with weight upon the back because it stretches the ligaments, etc., then we must also condemn the Deep Knee Bend when it is done without weight. This, of course, would be ridiculous. 

As a side thought, I also wonder what might possibly be wrong with stretching ligaments, tendons and muscles to a degree. This will, if gone about properly, increase flexibility which is always desirable. 

Often a person cannot place the palms of his hands upon the floor when he begins. As he gets used to bending over he finds that he gets lower and lower and finally he is able to touch his toes with his fingers and eventually, if he pursues this exercise long enough, he will able to touch the floor with the palms of his hands without bending his legs. 

Now what has the individual done? He has gradually accustomed the ligaments, tendons and muscles to stretch somewhat, thus enabling him to touch his toes. Actually he has improved his flexibility. 

I can do a split without too much difficulty when I have been practicing it regularly. I find, however, that if I am to neglect doing the split for some time I cannot do it again until I have worked back into it for a while. What I am actually doing is stretching the structure of the body gradually, thus improving flexibility. 

I believe that now we have established the desirability of performing a complete movement, and this included the Deep Knee Bend. COMPLETE and TOTAL contractions and extensions of each limb and muscle group assures COMPLETE and TOTAL development of each muscle group and perhaps more important, enables a person to retain complete and total flexibility of each limb and muscle group. 

It is, on the other hand, quite possible to lose flexibility and attain only partial development. When we exercise properly, making complete contractions and extensions, we find that the end result will be the fact that rather than being "muscle bound" we will simply be "bound to have muscles." 

One more point in defense of the Deep Knee Bend before we examine the potential reasons that have caused coaches and trainers attack upon this exercise. 

When a lifter uses the Squat Clean he puts far more stress and strain directly upon the knee than will ever be put upon it while doing the Deep Knee Bend. One of the chief advantages of the Squat Clean is that it enables a man to go lower and still have the weight at the fixed position at the chest. 

When a lifter pulls the bar from the floor and drops into the squat position, the weight falls upon the deltoids and upper chest and drives the lifter deeper into the squat than and Deep Knee Bend will ever drive him. This puts tremendous stress upon the knees, tendons, ligaments and muscles, and will certainly cause an injury if anything will. Actually, we find that lifters who use this style of squat clean posses tremendously strong, well-muscled legs; they are extremely flexible and seldom, if ever, sustain knee injuries. This type of clean would not be feasible or popular if it caused leg injuries.  

Isaac Berger . . . 

. . . the greatest 132 pound lifter in the world, cleans 325 pounds and more, using the squat style clean. Think of the fabulous pressure that is put upon his knee as that terrific poundage falls into place at the shoulders. Berger's legs are studies in strength, shape, and flexibility. 

There is no logical thinking person who will, after examining the facts, blame the Deep Knee Bend WHEN PROPERLY PERFORMED, for injuring the legs. 

What then seems to cause all of the hue and cry against this basic exercise? 

Why do the theorists attack this basic exercise? 

As we mentioned earlier in this article, it is quite possible to sustain some sort of injury when performing the Deep Knee Bend, if it is PERFORMED IMPROPERLY. 

The following reasons are the factors that cause 99% of all injuries incurred while doing this basic exercise: 

1) Many coaches and trainers fail to ascertain whether their charges have complete and total flexibility in the area of the leg and knee prior to beginning any Deep Knee Bends. If we were to place a heavy weight in the hands of a beginner, who cannot touch his toes, the weight would pull him into a bending position and might well stretch the tendons, ligaments and muscles of his back much farther than they are accustomed to stretching. This obviously would not be a wise thing to do. 

We should first encourage the beginner to gradually bend over a little more during each workout session and soon he will be touching his toes without difficulty. 

Many coaches are not careful in observing the flexibility of their charges prior to putting them on a weight training program. If a person who has difficulty performing completely normal squats without any weight is suddenly placed in a position where he has to go down with a weight upon his back, the weight may drive him into a much lower position than he is accustomed to and hence will overextend the elements at the knee. 

Always be certain of the looseness or flexibility of a beginner before starting on any exercise! If he lacks flexibility give him movement which will enable him to regain total contraction and extensions BEFORE he uses weight. 

2) Be sufficiently warmed up before starting your Deep Knee Bends. It is just as important to warm up the legs before doing squats as it is for a pitcher to warm up his arm in the bullpen before bearing down with his fastball. The pitcher who throws as hard as he can without taking a sufficient amount of warmup pitches is very foolish. The man who begins his Deep Knee Bends without warming up is just as foolish and very likely to sustain knee injuries. 

3) Be absolutely certain that the collars are fastened tightly.  

In quite a few cases of injured knees, the man performing the Deep Knee Bend tried to compensate for a shifting in the weight due to loose collars. As the load begins to slide down will often try to move with it and consequently drives upward from an unnatural angle. This can cause severe wrenching and tearing about the knee. LOOSE COLLARS HAVE BEEN THE CAUSE OF MANY AN ACCIDENT IN THE GYM!  

4) Too much weight. This is a simple, yet basic reason for leg stress and strain. Always use the theory of progressive resistance when working any muscle group. Work your body within its capacity, gradually increasing the work load. As the poundages are increased, the strength and size of muscle will also be increased, providing, of course, that you are also combining proper nutrition and rest with your exercises. You will find that as you can handle heavier and heavier weights progressively you will not only improve muscle strength but tendon and ligament, ligament and joint strength also. Tendons and ligaments are, so to speak, the cables of the body. They can be strengthened through proper exercise. 

5) We now come to what I believe is the most common cause of knee injuries due to the Deep Knee Bend. It is perhaps the most overlooked cause also. Try to stand with both feet about shoulder width apart as you would when doing the squat. Now drop into the lowest squatting position as fast as you can. When I do this even without weight, I feel a terrific pressure at the knees. Many people, far too many, use the "bounce technique" when doing the Deep Knee Bend. They take a heavy weight and rely upon the sudden drop and the "bounce" which is then caused when the tensed leg bicep and the tensed calf meet each other. 

Consider the tremendous pressure that is brought to bear up on the knee and all of its component parts when this "bounce" technique is used! It is totally unnecessary and absolutely foolish to use the bounce, and yet it is widely employed by those who want to use poundages which are beyond their ability to perform properly. 

By going down with moderate speed and recovering, you will derive all of the wondrous benefits which the Deep Knee Bend has enable men to receive in the past. 

In conclusion, when I think of legs I think of John Grimek.   

His legs are as flexible as those of a ballet dancer, and have the shape and beauty to inspire a Michelangelo and possess the strength to see him through a lifetime as a Master in the field of strength and development. These legs are the product of many exercises, the primary of which was the Deep Knee Bend and its many variations. 

Think twice before you follow the advice of those who advocate the omission of the Deep Knee Bend. When done improperly, it is the cause of unnecessary and avoidable stress and strain. 

When done properly it is rightfully . . . THE KING OF EXERCISES! 

Enjoy Your Lifting!  

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Happy New Year

"I'll keep carrying on for as long as the body allows." 

A little ahead of the clock here, wishing any lifters out there who had replacement surgery last year a 

Enjoy Your Lifting! 

Don't Neglect Your Dumbbell Training, Part Two - Bob Hoffman (1947)

                                                                               Steve Reeves at 15. 

Calls for "More cowbell!" left the dumbbell feeling lonely, 
hence the need for this two part article . . . 

Continuing from Part One

with the exercises in the York Swingbell Course, able to be performed with dumbbells, or anything you can hold on to that offers resistance: 

11) Teetotum or Twisting Dead Lift. 

Start with the usual position. With the legs as straight as possible, bend and twist to the side so that the bar touches the floor or ground at the side of the right foot, back to center and then down to a similar position at the left, back to center and continue the movement.   

12) Compound Swingbell Exercise. 

To practice a compound exercise you select any three good movements from this course, and without stopping at the end of the first or second continue until all three are practiced. 

 Back now to the original article . . . 

The side press, which has proven to be one of the best shoulder and upper back broadeners, single curls, back and front hand, while leaning with one arm resting upon chair, box or bench, the one arm rowing motion in the same position, the one hand swing, the one hand snatch, the one hand clean & jerk, the military press. 

While most articles on developing the legs point to the necessity of developing the lower extremities because half of the muscular bulk of the body is in the legs and hips, we must remember too that the other half of the muscular weight of the body is in the upper part of the body. It is just as essential to develop the upper part as the lower when one hopes to increase strength, muscular proportions and bodyweight. 

While much strength and muscle can be built with the barbell alone, which owing to the ease of handling great weights, has proven to be the number one piece of body building equipment, even greater strength and better looking body, a more efficient, stronger and more capable body, one which includes broader shoulders, deeper, more muscular chest, a broader back and a more classical torso, will be built when heavy dumbbell training plays an important part in the body builder's program.

As so often mentioned before, the body is made up of an estimated 720 muscles, each of these consists of scores or hundreds of thousands, even millions of muscular fibers, a full 4 billion in all anatomists estimate. These muscular fibers and the muscles they make up are designed to move the body and its parts in every conceivable manner, to exert force from ever possible angle. 

The barbell has a tendency to strengthen and operate the muscles in the same direction or the same groove always. From the floor to the chest, and overhead, up and down in the rowing motion, or in the curl. While dumbbells permit a much greater range of movement, while they can be utilized over a greater range, and in more directions, as the hands can be turned not only down and up but at all sorts of angles, placing the muscles in operation in various manners, one of their greatest values is the fact that much more strength and muscle is developed by controlling them or balancing them than with the barbell. 

The muscles of the body operate or synchronize together in performing any task asked of them. While one group of muscles may seem to do all the work, such as the front of the arm in curling, the back of the arm in pressing, all other muscles are simultaneously in action. They serve as balances, stabilizers, controllers, and much resulting benefit is received in strength and development. 

You don't need to take my word for it, you can make your own tests. 

Consider the sort of training you have been doing lately. Have you been following the easiest method, using the barbell alone? Like many others I have a tendency to do this, it is so easy and simple when training at home to practice a few to a dozen exercises with the barbell alone, and end off with the two arm pull over with dumbbell. If the complete York courses were practiced, including dumbbell exercises, superior results would be obtained. 

Over a period of years we have offered many self improvement stories relating how men who had difficulty in gaining weight, with a special program of heavy dumbbell training had gained fifteen or twenty pounds. In the past I personally have benefitted greatly by a period of comparatively heavy dumbbell training. 

Note: before I forget . . . here's some things on hanging a dumbbell or bells, thanks to Mr. Al Myers. Also, search "dumbbell" at that USAWA site for plenty of interesting things you can do with a dumbbell: 


If I had more time I would use dumbbells more as I am urging you ambitious body builders to do. Take a leaf from the book of experience of the great strong men, the most magnificent physical specimens of the past and present and include in your training program, not less than once or twice a week, a heavy dumbbell program.

With heavy dumbbells there are three basic movements for the upper body, and scores of variations in these movements. There is the dead weight lift and the various forms of deep knee bends, these five exercises develop most of the major muscles of the body. If you add the two arm pullover in its various forms and some of the abdominal exercises, and if you like the wrestler's bridge or some form of neck exercise with a head strap, you will have a good all around course. 

As an illustration of the great number of dumbbell exercises which can be practiced, consider the following forms of curling. The front curl, the back curl, done simultaneously or alternately, the curl with the thumbs up, and the twisting curl. 

They can be performed while leaning forward or while sitting. Curling leaning forward is particularly valuable, for the body builder will not curl with the elbows resting against the side as he may do while standing, a position which robs the arms of considerable of the developmental effect.

Rowing motions can be practiced while leaning forward with the upper body at right angles to the legs, and the upright rowing motion, either with arms working simultaneously or alternately. Rowing lying face down on a high bench is valuable for then there is no back movement to assist the pulling power of the arms. 

In pressing there is the one and two arm military press, the continental press, the side press, the bent press, the press while deep knee bending, the sitting press, the press on the inclined chair, pressing alternately or regularly while lying upon the floor or bench. 

To develop the back as well as the entire arm and shoulder assembly, there is the one and two arm swing, the one and two arm snatch, the one and two arm clean, the flat back and the stiff legged dead weight lift. 

While the barbell lends itself particularly well to deep knee bending, deep knee bending with heavy dumbbells is different and builds strength from other slightly different angles. Flat foot deep knee bend and on toes while holding the dumbbells at the side, deep knee bend, pressing while going into the squat position, deep knee bend and pressing while rising are all good leg developers. 

The rowing, curling, pressing, back and leg developing exercises already offered will make it possible for you to select a good, result producing routine of exercises, and there are many other good ones which will bring you excellent results. 

In the Big Arms book alone, there are 101 dumbbell exercises to develop the arms . . . 

Chapter Twenty One, here: 

Some of these not already mentioned in the five categories offered are: Alternate curl and press, arm swing to side while leaning, swinging from overhead far to the left, down and up to the right, then reverse, swinging from position at side of foot to overhead down to side of other foot and continue. Triceps exercise while straightening arms to back of body while leaning forward, forward raise, using some body movement so that heavy dumbbells can be employed, alternate forward raise, some of the best strength athletes perform this with a pair of 50's, John Davis, while training in Paris at the world's championships, sometimes used a pair of 77 pound dumbbells, much to the astonishment of the regular French patrons of the gymnasiums who too often train with dumbbells of five pounds or less, wrestler's bridge and press two dumbbells, flying exercise while lying upon bench. Keeping arms bent at elbows draw the bells together over body until they touch, extend to side and down while keeping the elbows bent and continue the movement like a bird flying except that you are in the upside down position as compared to the flying position. Pullover lying, alternate curl and press to arm's length back of head while lying on your back, alternate press while lying, hold arms out to the side at shoulder height, curl to shoulders with palms up, curl under arm pits, two hands clean and jerk with dumbbells, two hands clean and press with dumbbells. 

Note: rather windy, eh. 

This latter exercise is one of the best in the entire line of physical training, if you develop the ability to perform 15 repetitions in the clean and press with a pair of 75's you will be quite a man, a champ, a shaven ape, a chimp with tricks, the same number of repetitions with a pair of 50's requires the effort of an advanced heavy dumbbell man, hold bell overhead, touch toe, carry dumbbells while walking, running, or climbing stairs, dropping and catching bell from hand to hand, hold the dumbbells at shoulder height, knuckles up, press without moving the hands, this is a good triceps developer, hold dumbbells at chest, lean forward as in the good morning exercise with barbell back of neck, back to the erect position and continue. 

The scores of exercises I have offered will illustrate the unlimited possibilities of dumbbell training, the regular practice of heavy and comparatively heavy dumbbell training will do things to your physique which will please you. 

Permit dumbbells to play a more important part in developing your body. 

If you have apparently reached a sticking point, spend a few weeks with heavy dumbbell training alone. It is reasonable to expect important gains during this exclusive dumbbell period. 

Enjoy Your Lifting!   



Monday, December 25, 2023

Weightlifting Exercises for Bodybuilders - Charles A. Smith


Center: Tommy Kono

Thanks to Eagle Eye John for this one! 

The easiest thing in the world is to start an argument between a number of weight trainers on the relative merits of bodybuilder, weightlifting and their adherent physical qualities. Personally, I refuse to recognize these two divisions within our favorite sport. 

To me, all men who use weights are "LIFTERS" and I have never been able to understand why members of these groups make, and continue to make disparaging remarks about each other. 

Now, I did intend to start this article with a wise crack -- you know -- something to take the sting out of what I was going to say, and give the impression that the "coolness" between the muscle men and the "Olympic Boys" was a fit subject for the pages of the Sunday funnies. But, thinking it over, I don't feel that it is a joking matter, not even something over which you can preach a sermon and wag an admonishing finger in print -- I think it is high time that we all recognized the respective merits to be obtained from bodybuilding AND Olympic lifting; how you, the lifter, can use bodybuilding exercises to improve your specialized form of strength athletics, and how you, the bodybuilder can use the various assistance and enabling exercises of the competition man to improve your physique and add more power to your "tout ensemble." 

I think it is a sorry situation when two famous weightlifting clubs refuse to allow (a) bodybuilders, or (b) Olympic lifters, within their premises. One organization calls all bodybuilders nuisances and the other names weightlifters as hazards to life and limb. Both these contentions are of course out of line. The sooner we realize that the only difference between a Physique man and an Olympic man is that they are using the same means to get to different points, then the sooner will we produce men to take the place of Davis, George and Stanczyk, and Theriault, Reeves and Ross. A plane pilot might be dragging freight or passengers, but it doesn't alter the fact that he is a pilot. He uses the same medium for different objects -- HE GETS TO WHERE HE IS GOING JUST THE SAME. 

If we sit down and admit to ourselves that no matter how hard we try none of us can be perfect, and if we recognize that we ALL have our little faults and peculiar ways, then we will have gone a long way towards regaining our supremacy in the strength world and making our sport that much more preeminent in the domain of athletics. If we also recognize that there are benefits to be obtained from a broadminded acceptance of the claims we make for our respective branches of weight training, then our future victories are assured. 

Let's examine the essential differences in development and power between the muscle boys and the quick lift artists. The Olympic man is accustomed to using his strength in swift bursts of power -- he, except in the Press, moves rapidly with heavy weights. Speed is a necessary factor to his lifting success. Coordination of his legs, back and arms into one savage effort is what he strives for. Basic bodily power is what he seeks to develop. Looking at his physical makeup, one can see in it, the results of this specialization. The development of the trapezius is heavy, the vastus internus and externus pronounced, the upper and lower back outstanding and the deltoids objects of remark. His muscular make-up seems so much thicker than the bodybuilder's. 

But the physique man tops his Olympic lifting brother by better pectoral development, by more thoroughly developed lats and abdominals. In one instance only, is the Olympic man better in the midsection and that is in pronounced obliques. He gets this from the use of the one hand snatch and clean & jerk. 

The bodybuilder has better all round thigh development and his calves are more proportionate. The lifter has, however, that bulkiness combined with definition which is at the same time the delight and the despair of a heck of a lot of physique men. They all want it, but they don't get it. The bodybuilder, however, has what a lot of lifters covet -- Strength plus Endurance. 

So here is where I help you to get that bulk and definition, where I also show you how to develop that sustaining strength and the basic bodily power, which will help you hold your own when you either decide to enter Olympic competition or show the lifter what YOU can do. 

It is a pity that present day competitions are devoted entirely to the two hands press, snatch, and clean & jerk, for those lifts do not give the bodybuilder a chance to shine. Except in physical excellence contests, the muscle man has no opportunity of exhibiting his prowess. Looking at this problem from a purely commonsense viewpoint, it is as it should be. Only be speculation can our strength athletes hope to be victorious. 

In the exercises which follow, the bodybuilder can back up his claims to extraordinary power, improve his physique AND all around strength by the inclusion in his routine of exercises which themselves parallel the Olympic Three, and which are themselves used as enabling or assistance exercises by the weightlifters. 

It is very important to recognize the FACT that ALL successful routines are ones which offer a great deal of variety -- that quality which we are told is the spice of life. It is IMPORTANT to recognize the FACT that one of the principle causes of staleness or failure to make progress is BOREDOM. I know I will be forgiven for repeating myself when I tell you that exercise is meant to be ENJOYED not endured. 

If you approach your workout with a pleasurable anticipation, then you are BOUND to succeed. If, however, you perform them as a DUTY,  then you are wasting your time. 

May I make myself more clear. Barton Horvath, Abe Goldberg and I usually take an hour or so during the day to work out. Barton has been a weight trainer, more years than some of you have lived. Abe Goldberg is an athlete of such experience that it is hard to believe he could improve -- as for myself, well, I will admit under extreme pressure that I am not so bad. 

Now, we all simultaneously hit a sticking point. None of us seemed to be able to make any headway, and we ground away at the same routine, hoping to eventually snap out of the slump. I suggested that we try some of the POWER exercises which I have been writing about, and for the last three months we have been engaged in a routine closely resembling the one which I am going to give you to follow. We worked harder than ever before, and that extra work was more than justified. 

In three months my bench press increased by 45 pounds, my dead lifts from reps with 400 to reps AND sets with 495. Abe is looking more muscular than ever before. He has never been as bulky and as muscularly defined as he is at the present moment. His power in the squat, bench press and dead lift is prodigious. 

But the most improvement was made by Barton, who at 40 years of age is in such terrific shape that you are shortly going to see him on the magazine cover. He has never looked better and he is still improving.

I am not crediting my power exercises for the advances which we have made, but I do credit the change in routine PLUS the power exercises, plus the force of reps. The three of us might have kept to our regular schedule for months with little or no success. By a change in our exercises, we all greatly increased our physiques and strength and are still improving. Both Barton and Abe gained remarkably in bulk without sacrificing any of their definition. 

So now to the real business. Here you must begin to think in terms of HARD WORK and extra reps. Start off with a certain number of reps as a minimum, but don't restrict yourself as much to the number you should perform in each exercise. Do as many as humanly possible with each set of each exercise. WORK HARD and with every ounce of energy. 

The first exercise was a favorite of the old time Viennese strongmen. It is used to some extent today in the training routines of the Olympic lifters, for it encourages them to handle heavier poundages in the press. Karl Swoboda has raised the heaviest poundage in this lift -- THE TWO HAND CONTINENTAL PRESS, with a lift of 359 pounds odd. It is unexcelled in developing the fronts of the thighs, the lower back and the shoulders. It coordinates these groups to an extremely fine degree where all pressing feats are concerned. 

1) The Two Hands Continental Press. 

Start off with a weight which you can handle for AT LEAST 5 reps. A standard to set is to take a poundage 15-20 pounds below you best press, Olympic style. Clean the weight into your shoulders, then, with a slight bend FORWARD, come back to upright position and start to press with all you have, at the same time dropping back into as deep an arch as is comfortable for you. Wait until the barbell is overhead at FULL arms' length, and then try to deepen the arch of the back before returning the body to the upright position and repeating the press. 

Use up to 3 sets with this exercise and no more than 10 reps each set -- force out all the reps you can, STOPPING AT THE TENTH. My reason for this advice is that the exercise is an extremely strenuous one and back strain can easily take place if your enthusiasm runs to 20 or more reps. The important point in this exercise is to make every effort to keep the press going once it has left the shoulders by back arching. Increase the weight by 10 pounds when 3 sets of 10 reps are possible. 

The second exercise is one which is finding increasing popularity in my "Foundations of Power" articles published in Your Physique. It is in my humble opinion one of the most valuable single exercises in the whole book of weight training. I firmly believe that when its full possibilities are exploited, we are going to see more record snatches and cleans & jerks, and more outstanding physiques than ever before. In combination with other body-building exercises it influences the muscles to a remarkable degree. It is the HIGH DEAD LIFT. It has been used by every champion weightlifter from Davis down. In a recent article in a British magazine, Charles Coster, contributor to Weider Publications, mentions the fact that both Davis and Stanko had remarked how much it increased their second pull and how light their limit snatches and cleans appeared. 

Note: Search here for more on Power Training by Charles Coster. 

 2) High Dead Lifts. 

Take two boxes around 15 to 20 inches in height -- of sufficient height that the bar will be just a little above the knee when a LOADED bar rests on the boxes. The bar should be loaded up to your BEST dead lift in the regular style. Use a reverse grip when taking hold of the bar and keep the back as flat as possible, taking care to distribute the effort equally between the back and thighs. Start off my making 5 reps, take a good rest and then perform 2 more sets. Increase the reps by one each workout period and ALWAYS, if you feel it is within you, force out another one or two reps. 

Work up to 3 sets of 15 reps and then increase the weight by 15-20 pounds. 

As the body reaches upright position make every effort to clean the weight. Of course you will be utterly unable to do this and the clean is more "token" than anything else, but nevertheless, make this effort. Pull up with all you have. As your strength increases, this lift or exercise can be made all the more interesting and result-producing by gradually placing more and more pads or boards under the feet so that a regular dead lift position is more closely approached. 

You will experience quite a bit of stiffness in the trapezius, deltoids, lower part of the triceps and the erector spinae after your first session with this exercise. Some self-massage and a hot bath should take away the stiffness. 

The third exercise is another excellent power and muscle developer. Some of our foremost physique and strength athletes have used it to bring out their pulling power and upper back development to its highest peak. I well remember reading a letter from Tony Terlazzo to my pal, Harold Laurence in the early 1930's. Tony mentioned a lifter by the name of Joe Miller and his words conveyed the opinion that if Miller had the technique, he would be snatching 300 pounds, so high did he pull the bar. Joe's favorite exercise at that time was the two hands clean -- but with that little touch which makes all the difference between success and failure -- between POWER and average strength.  

Joe would deliberately clean the weight without ANY split and with as little dip at the knees as he could manage. Another devotee of this exercise was the sensational Keevil Daly.    

Standing, right. 

Smiling, right. 

I have seen Keevil clean well above 300 using this method. His back was one of the most muscular I have ever seen. It is interesting to note that Joe Miller, after an intensive training period on the stiff legged clean found that not only had his snatch and pulling power improved considerably, but his press had also skyrocketed. 

3) The Stiff Legged Clean. 

Commence with a weight 5-10 pounds BELOW your best snatch. If you have never performed the snatch, then the standard method is to determine the weight which will allow you to make 5 comfortable repetitions. Take a grip a little wider than shoulder width and clean the bar to the shoulders, and put ever ounce of power into pulling the bar as HIGH as you can. A good standard is to take each clean to EYE height before dropping the weight across the clavicles (collar bones). Place weight on the ground and repeat. 3 sets of reps are very effective, working up from 5 reps per set to 12 or 15, an d increasing each set by one per workout.

The fourth exercise, the "bendover," was a popular one some years ago in the Mark Berry era. Wally Zagurski, champion strongman, and the Good Brothers used the movement to increase the strength of the lower abdomen and back. The loins too are very much activated by this excellent strength and muscle builder. 

It is possible to work up to some extremely heavy poundages with correspondingly greater benefits. Take the poundage which you can press from the shoulders with one hand for 5-8 reps. Hold it a single arms length overhead, and keeping your eyes on the weight all the time, bend over to the side opposite to which you are holding the weight -- if the dumbbell is held in the right hand, then bend over to the LEFT. 

DO NOT bend the knees, but allow movement only at the waist. Touch the right toe with the left hand and return to upright position and repeat. Some practice will be necessary before you are able to keep your balance. This exercise, most closely approaches the movement which takes place when an Olympic man does a one hand snatch or a jerk. It very much affects the obliques and the erector spinae INDIVIDUALLY. 

Start off with 3 x 8 reps and work to 3 x 12-15 before adding weight. 

Note: The eras when so, SO many lifts were contested, the one handers and all the others, the odd lifts and the lot of 'em . . . the various implements and objects . . . those are MUCH MORE INTERESTING to me than the 2-lift current Oly setup and the 3-lift powerlift deal. As always, when a more or less "cult" endeavor becomes excessively popular and it loses that status of being the involvement of a small minority it invariably becomes a watered down, saleable form of its earlier more exciting origins. It's quite the bizness now, ain't it all just. Big money to be made whoring out ideas you didn't originate to people too damned lazy to figure shit out for themselves blah blah blah who cares . . . Fortunately, we are NEVER LIMITED to what lifts and exercises we CHOOSE to perform and ENJOY, and all the do-right know-better fucks with their comments and "advice" don't know what they're missing. What, there's "egoless" lifting? What, Me Worry? Fuck that noise. Hit the dislike button, don't follow, unsubscribe, PLEASE! I don't need or want anyone's support, advice, shitty supps or chemical knowledge. Use the money you save by reading this stuff for free to help some poor bugger down on his luck out there . . . there, just us here now. 

The 5th exercise for power and development is one of the very finest in the world. It can, for developmental purposes, be classed with the high dead lifts. It not only induces coordination and speed, but it is unapproached as a deltoid developer and entire back strengthener. 

The one hand swing has long been in use and some of the most outstanding strength athletes perfected their power and technique by a liberal use of same. Some of the outstanding performances were made by Ronald Walker and Hermann Goerner. Walker made a right hand swing of well over 200 pounds, and the titanic Goerner (Titanic Teuton?) performed 48 consecutive right hand swings from between the legs to FULL ARM'S LENGTH overhead with a 110 pound dumbbell. 


5) The One Hand Swing. 

The dumbbell which you use for your bend-overs can be taken for this exercise. The initial swing is between the legs to gain a little momentum and from there to arm's length overhead. Allow the dumbbell to drop down between the legs and take it to arm's length again with no pause. As the weight reaches shoulder level it will be found necessary to bend the back a little, and then at once straighten it out again as the dumbbell is taken above the shoulder level. 

Your first workout with this exercise will cause you to feel a little stiff in the deltoids and lower back, but a rest of a day or so will suffice to recuperate the area. 

A high number of repetitions can be used with as high as 3 sets of 20. However, for normal purposes, 3 sets of 15 is best. Beginners should stick to 3 x 12-15, while the more advanced can use the higher number of reps.

Commence with either the right or left hand, it isn't important and the non-exercising arm is usually rested against the knee. 

The final exercise in this program has been evolved from a movement which is usually impossible to perform in the ordinary gymnasium. I refer to supporting chains from which you can hold a considerable weight overhead at arms' length. 

Not so long ago, John Grimek told us how he had held 800 pounds overhead with the barbell supported by these chains, and the late Ronald Walker also practiced this movement in almost every workout. It builds tremendous sustaining strength and deltoid and triceps power. The serratus magnus and teres major are also greatly affected. 

I know of only two gymnasiums that have these chains . . . 

Note: A couple years or something ago I searched mags, books and this oh-so-effing-important computer toy for photos of old gyms with chains available for support work. Of course, what with the popularity of chains being used to create differing resistances at different points in the range of motion, well, that's what you'll find 99.9999999999% of the time when you seek such photos out. There's one good one here on the blog, somewhere, a photo of a Vic Tanny's maybe, but I want to wrap this article up instead of finding it. 

. . . and so we have had to find another medium which retains all the benefits of the above exercise. 

Note: Here's where I thought Mr. Smith would go with this very simple yet effective setup . . . 

But he didn't! 

Some time ago, one of the world's foremost researchers in strength athletics Joseph Curtis Hise, discovered that by holding a heavy weight across the shoulders -- as in the commencement of the deep knee bend -- and shrugging the shoulders while the weight was across them, trainees gained greatly in bulk and power. Not only could advanced men gain, but the absolute novice could commence his career with this exercise and make gains from the very first week of training. Furthermore, it had a valuable psychological advantage in that beginners thought nothing of using normal exercise weights after they had 300 to 500 pounds supported across their shoulders. Hise used this exercise by advising 3 to 5 DEEP breaths between each shrug. Gene Jantzen used the exercise on beginners at his studio and all gained remarkably in bulk -- three weeks was the period mentioned as the most in which it took pupils to register gains. 

Gene Jantzen with Wife and star pupil, er, Son. 

6) Heavy Shoulder Shrugs [Hise Shrugs]

Note: The accompanying photo shows the bar for these being held front squat style . . . but I'm sure you've all seen photos of a Hise Shrug before. I tried, some years ago, doing Hise shrugs in the front rack position and it wasn't so better. Bar across the back. Or not . . . it's always your own individual call. 

You need a pair of adjustable squat racks for this exercise. Load up the bar to your BEST regular dead lift -- that's right, you heard me! YOUR BEST regular dead lift poundage. Take the bar across the shoulders, and LOOK STRAIGHT AHEAD throughout the exercise. Make every effort to perform an orthodox shoulder shrug, pulling the shoulders as high as you can -- try and make them touch your ears. 

As they raise, squeeze the shoulder blades together and press UP on the bar with your hands. Relax, take two to three DEEP breaths, and repeat. Take it easy at first, commencing with 8-10 reps and working to 15-20 reps for 3 sets. 

When you increase the weight make it AT LEAST a 20-pound increase. A good performance on this exercise is at least 600 pounds for 30 reps -- AND THIS IS IN NO WAY REMARKABLE. 

Note: Is this what's called ego lifting? By who? Some silly hairdo kid with a pile of equally clueless childish followers? God almighty, I am bloody old now! Hahaha, I love it!  

I have heard of up to 950 pounds used for 20 reps. I am aware that this exercise is somewhat unorthodox, but you can only prove its effectiveness by TRYING IT. I CAN GUARANTEE YOU RESULTS. GOOD results and outstanding ones. 

Let me end this article with a word of advice -- perhaps the most valuable that that can be given to any Lifter . . . WORK HARD. You will find that schedules DO NOT WORK UNLESS YOU DO. 

Enjoy Your Lifting!
And to hell with anyone who can't understand what you're up to. 

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