Monday, March 25, 2024

Don Colson: Herculean - Anthony Ditillo (1975)


They're not twins. 

From the May 1975 issue of IronMan . . . 

The first time I met Don Colson was during this past summer when he came down to our Elizabeth YMCA for a workout with Steve, and also to aid Steve in the photo session for the IronMan articles which have recently been published. 

I believe he's referring to Steve Sepaniak . . . 

"Power and Bodybuilding with Steve Sepaniak" - IronMan, Nov '73
"Upper Body Specialization with Steve Sepaniak for Muscle Density" - Mar '74
"Steve Sepaniak, Mr. Eastern America" - May '79. 

I remember walking into our weight room and being immediately caught up in the evening's goings on. In the center of the room was Steve being photographed while performing overhead presses. 

To his right, in the back of the room, stood a tall, blonde, hulk of a man, too big to be true. He looked like the bulky Dave Draper of the 60's with Casey Viator's thigh development. His thighs were heavy and dense with muscular bulk and his arms looked 20" at least! To say I was most impressed is putting it mildly! To say I was shocked is more like it. 

After the photo session Steve introduced us and I was immediately impressed with Don's quite, unassuming manner. He spoke in soft well-modulated tones and was most interesting to speak to. We discussed his training methods, motivation, etc., quite thoroughly and made plans for a possible article for IronMan [not to be confused with IranMan] when I was through with Steve's. All this took place around the end of 1973. 

The photos included with this article are not expensive studio shots, so some of the quality and impressiveness of his physique is lost, but let me assure you, Don Colson is a very large, massively muscular man, with fine muscle density and great physical strength and he and Steve have been training on and off for the past few years on programs very similar in performance scope. 

The main difference between both men lies within personal muscular structures and basal metabolism rates. This is why Steve is more defined and shapely than "Big Don" and yet for all his size and power, Don is very muscular and well shaped at that! 

Not a bodybuilder to shun hard work, Don believes in heavy weights, forced reps, basic barbell movements coupled with a few dumbbell moves to break the monotony. 

He believes in training daily with the weights along with bike riding in the warmer months for internal health and vigor. You see, Don and Steve are both interested in all-over health and physical efficiency. This is the reason for the bike riding, and the all your round heavy training. 

Don't diet is an almost all protein one, with minimum fat and carbohydrate intake for internal health. Don must be ever watchful for his normal tendency is to become overly bulky, since this would mar his physique ambitions.

But you can be sure he doesn't go hungry. He relies heavily on steak, eggs, liquid predigested protein and cottage cheese, as well as heavy supplementation to insure maximum muscular growth and recuperation as well as adequate training energy. He feels as we all do -- that the money spent on supplements is spent wisely if we can train and gain as we want to. 

Most bodybuilders shun heavy leg and back work -- but not Don. 

He has full squatted, Olympic style, 415 x 12! By Olympic style I mean with a completely erect upper torso, bar held high on the traps, medium foot spacing with a complete leg biceps on calf full squat for each and every repetition. Believe me, when you squat this way, complete thigh development is guaranteed with minimal hip stimulation because in reality you are performing a front squat, only the bar is held in back of the neck instead of in front, across the clavicles. 

Sometimes Don will use 355 and perform 40-50 reps if he feels he needs a change of pace, however, he enjoys predominantly sets of 12-25 reps for the thighs and hopes someday to squat 500x12 in this ultra-strict style. 

Another cornerstone in his training is heavy bench and incline work. In the bench he is good for around 475 with a hip lift and on the incline he has used 280 for 10 reps. For working the chest he favors many sets of 6-8 reps and  fairly strict form: medium grip, no bouncing, with complete control of the bar in both the upward and downward movements. 

He also mentioned to me that while he has never felt the need for power rack work for his squat or bench, he could see how such an overload system of training could be beneficial and he intends to get into such assistance work in the possible near future. 

Don's arm development is quite impressive and even when completely relaxed, his arms are very large and thick with the muscle hypertrophy actually crowding the joints. Such size and development comes by many, many sets of 6-8 reps with very heavy weights and strict form, using basic movements. Additional dumbbell work is occasionally thrown in, for shaping and intensiveness of muscle pump, but mainly for growth. 

Don prefers barbell work.

As far as physique intentions, Don has no definite plans of entering competition and, like his training partner, Steve, he trains mainly for personal enjoyment and health. However, the praise and many letters which have come to me complimenting Steve Sepaniak [there it is!] have really meant a lot to both these wholesome young men [clean cut lads the lot], and who knows perhaps with enough persuasion these men will soon be on the posing platform, battling with other future greats and showing the bodybuilding world the results of their well thought out training philosophies and also proving once and for all: you can make it without resorting to tissue-building drugs. 

Okay then. 

Here's Don's present training routine: 

MONDAY/THURSDAY - Chest and Shoulders

Bench press, around 14 sets, working up to 455 and then back down.

Decline flyes, 5 x 5-7.

Weighted dips, 5 sets using 125 pounds, forcing all reps possible.

Incline press, 5 sets up to 280 x 8.

Seated press, 6 sets up to 260 x 6.

Dumbbell press, 4 x 8.

Side laterals, 4 x 8. 

Rear laterals, 4 x 8. 

TUESDAY - Back and Arms

Weighted chins, 5 x 8 using 50 pounds. 

Pulley rowing, 6 x 8.

One arm rows, 4 x 12 with 130 pounds.

Arm work (light)
Barbell curl, 7 x 8
Reverse curl, 4 x 8
Lying extensions, 7 x 8
Pushdowns, 5 x 8. 


Full Olympic squats, 7 x 10-12.

Leg extension, 6 x 8-10

Leg curl, 5 x 8.

FRIDAY - Arm Work
As on Tuesday. 

Enjoy Your Lifting! 




Saturday, March 23, 2024

A Filmic Drama Centered Around a Female Bodybuilder (2022)

Finally found English subtitles for this 2022 Hungarian film.

Enjoy, if you're capable of it. 
If not . . . piss off. 

The Snatch: My Bread & Butter Lift - Joe Dube (1972)


More on Joe Dube here: 

At the age of 15 my snatch was higher than my press; at the time I weighed 195 pounds. I started to devote more time to the press because my ambition was to become the first teenager to press 400 pounds, which I did just before my 20th birthday. 

I gained in strength in the press lift due to concentration and gradual gains in bodyweight. My speed in the quick lifts suffered, especially in the snatch. I made gains of course in the snatch and clean & jerk, but the press really zipped up. 

When I made my first appearance on the national scene, I was known mostly for my pressing ability. My lifts were out of balance and I knew if I was to become a lifting champion I had to put much more energy into my quick lifting. 

I did not succeed for some time and my lifting suffered greatly. 

I made several approaches to the problem, with most failing. Finally, after losing the 1969 Senior Nationals to Ken Patera because of a low snatch after leading by 40 pounds in the press, I made up my mind to work the snatch until it was where I wanted. 

Walter Imahara [not in the photo] suggested the frog-leg style to me, and I started working immediately on it . . . 

In the old-style snatching I employed before, I would either lose the bar forward, or I was  continuously off balance to the front. The frog-style made me keep the bar close to my body during the entire pull. I could then get a lot of leg power in my snatching and was in excellent position to descend into the low position faster than before. I worked, or specialized, on this style and began to get the results I wanted. The poundages went up for records in training, and my speed was much better.

With about two months' training from the Senior National loss to Patera to the World Championships, I had the snatch to the point where I could make up ground and not lose any of the top lifters. The snatch in the Senior Nationals was 320, in the World Championships it moved up to 358. It was this specialization work I did before the World Championships that really won it for me. The snatch had finally done me a favor! 

Since then the snatch has consistently moved up, but I have begun turning my attention to the clean and jerk. I snatched 363 in the 1970 World Championships making all 3 attempts. This year I have moved the lift up to 369 which I made in the Senior Nationals. I had great expectations for my lifting in the Pan American Games and the World Championships, but rather than disgrace the United States with a subpar performance I withdrew because of an illness and injury I suffered 5 days before competition. My training was going better than ever, but there will be a next time! 

With some luck and determination I hope to set a world record in the snatch some time in the next year. My goal is a 402 snatch before I retire.

I believe everyone has a certain style to suit his own body proportions. It's like most things in that no two people do something exactly alike. A lifter should strive to find, work on, and perfect the best style suited for himself. He should do some free movements with a stick or the unloaded bar to mentally and physically train himself to react. Speed, coordination, position and flexibility should be in his mind during any form work. 

At this time my TRAINING FOR THE SNATCH consists of mostly basic movements. I do regular snatching, working up to a pre-planned weight, power snatching once a week, and have recently employed into my program the snatch deadlift. The latter is done with a fast pull, but with both arms held straight throughout and rise on toes at the finish. I like to train the snatch twice a week and will alternate power snatches and the snatch deadlifts from one workout to another. I usually lift a limit snatch every couple of weeks; this is no rule, however.

I have trained my snatch and power snatches from wooden blocks about 14 inches high. This tones up my second pull and is an excellent movement for speed training. 

Straps are a handy training aid in assisting the grip; so much concentration can be put on actually pulling. I use the straps occasionally during regular snatches, but try to restrict their use to the assistance exercises. I like the natural feel of the bar during the regular snatching, especially the closer it gets to a tournament. 

Before each training session I use a wooden stick to limber up my shoulders. I also do some freehand movements to loosen up the back and legs, and the ankles.

I do mostly singles with heavy weights, but do reps on occasion. I keep the reps to under 3 per set, and most of the reps are done during the early phase of the workout or the warmup period. 

Here are examples of two snatch workouts I did last week: 

Power Snatch - 135x3x2, 205x3, 245x2, 265x1, 285x1, 305x1x3
Snatch Deadlift - 225x2, 295x2, 325x2, 365x2, 385x2

Snatch - 135x3x2, 205x2, 255x2, 285x1, 310x1, 330x1, 350x1

I considered the snatch my weakness; overcoming this weak point has helped my lifting greatly. 

To me the snatch is the most athletic and beautiful movement in the field of sports. I think it is perhaps the key to a rise in the popularity of the sport. 

In concluding this article I would like to point out that everyone should be able to improve on his lifting if he puts enough work in on his weak points. If he doesn't, his lifting may never reach its potential and he will certainly be discouraged. Having an open mind and an honest approach to training is the key to success. 

Enjoy Your Lifting!

I enjoy watching Anatoly the Cleaner pranks and videos. He's a good lifter with a great sense of humor who, to the best of my knowledge, has yet to take a beating for it! I wanted to check out some of his programs so I did. Here is a nice power-lifting/building one transcribed to a printable doc. 



Monday, March 18, 2024

Tricks and Wiles of the Modern Strong Man - Prof. Joseph. Szalay (1901)


Courtesy of Jarett Hulse and the Iron History Forum. 

The Editor: There is so much of trickery associated with the average strong man "show" that, in the true interests of genuine displays, I have decided to unmask a few of the more common tricks.

The pity of the thing is that the genuinely honest performer stands no chance with bona fide feats against the more apparently wonderful feats of unscrupulous rivals. 

Quite recently, in Paris, I witnessed a disgustingly barefaced fraud, in which a certain strong man (!) brought down the applause of the house by pretending to lift with one arm a triplet bicycle and its three riders. I will illustrate and describe how this and one or two other seemingly marvelous feats are performed in the next number. 

The first article dealing with the subject is from the pen of Prof. Szalay, who has done so much to train and encourage amateur as well as professional strong men, and who certainly deserves the title of "Father of Amateur Weight-Lifting."

More on Joseph Szalay here: 

It may be remembered that some few years ago, when the strong man trickery was at its highest pitch, it was Prof. Szalay who bravely came forward in the interests of the public and honest performance. I can promise some very startling articles on the subject of stage trickery in future issues. I want to educate the readers of this magazine so that only honest performers will be able to secure applause and profit.  

In accordance with my desire to educate the public mind in the interest of Physical Culture and to define the real strength from the fancy performances as seen on the stage, practiced even by some of the most advertised and famed strong men, I dedicate this article to the perusal of all those interested, in the fervent hope that they will continue to assiduously practice and develop their body and mind, even if they cannot attain such marvelous strength as to all appearances such men seem to possess. 

There is no doubt we cannot all become "The Strongest Man on Earth," as there is a limit to all attainments, but allow me to point out to you, and no one is better qualified to enlighten you on the subject, that those who constantly wish to impress it on your belief that they are the strongest and do the greatest feats, are more often the farthest from it. In all cases it is a matter of business to procure an engagement and draw a lucrative salary. 

Yet no matter how strong a man is, and granted that he is trained to perfection and possesses the greatest amount of science or knack of weight-lifting, he cannot overcome the natural law of displacing or lifting a greater weight with a body of lesser weight unless artificial means like a lever or a force of gravitation of falling bodies are used. 

Now, a man of about five of six feet in height cannot raise above his head with one hand more than his own bodily weight, and perhaps in the best case one fifth more, which is the equivalent of the force of gravitation a man is able to apply considering his height and weight. 

In the matter of lifting weights by sheer strength, the shorter the man the more power he will be able to apply, on account of being able to work closer to the center of gravity than a man of equal weight and greater height, whose longer arms place him under disadvantage on account of the greater leverage his muscles are subjected to. 

Now, having made this clear to the reader, I shall be able to describe the "faking" the professional, and even sometimes the amateur strong men, resort to in their endeavor to surpass others when their strength fails them to do so.

In the first instance, the size of the dumb-bells, barbells or any other weights is no criterion for their actual poundage, as all these implements can be made perfectly hollow with astonishingly trifling weight. I can well remember some most remarkable cases, and if I tell you that I am speaking of the performances of some of the most famed strong men we have seen, you will hardly believe me, yet it is the truth. 

One man at first sight astonished me when he stated from the stage that he turns a somersault over a chair with two 56-lbs. dumb-bells in his hands. Now, that was past my belief, and I went to inquire into the matter and found that equally similar bells could be made to weight eight to ten lbs. each. 

The next biggest fraud in the barbell line was a so-called 1,000 lbs. bell, which was wheeled on to the stage on its own carriage, and the audience challenged to stand over it and simply raise the bell an inch or two, which feat, of course, no one was ever able to do, except the performer himself.  


Now, that very same bell had an accident some time afterwards. Some unfortunate attendant dropped it one afternoon by moving it without its carriage, and, lo and behold, the bubble burst, as it was made of the thinnest shell possible and could not stand coming in contact forcibly with the stage. Though the iron balls were about 30 inches in diameter, yet they did not weight over 150 lbs. the lot. It was the carriage which had all the weight, and the bell was fastened to it by a secret lock, which only the performer could release by standing on the key. 

On another occasion I observed a different method employed, which was just as daring as the one before, namely, the performed lifted a huge weight supposed to be 300 lbs. or over, raising it above his head and carrying it off the stage. Behind the scenes the weight was substituted for another of the same appearance but full weight, and, of course, all and sundry were quite graciously invited to test the genuineness of it. 

To be correct, two men have done the same thing, but, they have a little altered their methods of fraudulent performance. In both cases they used hollow steel bars with the ends closed by a screw cap hardly visible to the casual observer, and the instant the performer went off stage after performing his wonderful lift an attendant lowered a full charge of lead or shot into the hollow part of the same and, if requested, the bar was allowed for inspection, but not before good care was taken of the filling. 

The method of the imitator of this trick was much more simple. He had a box made with two compartments, and used two similar bars, one empty for his own use, and one very full, which was passed on to all those who can on to the stage to inspect the weights.

But both, of course, walk off the stage after they do their so-called great lift. If anybody challenged them before or after, they made all sorts of excuses, or started bluffing to do it for 1000 pounds. 

While speaking of dumb-bells and barbells, I must here state that hardly ever does any performer use bells of the weight they are represented to be. Neither can it be expected, as no man could work top weight every day. What I fight against is the outrageousness of some of the exaggerations. If a man works with 20 to 50 lbs. less on each represented weight, that is reasonable, but I am sorry to say in a good many cases the weight is hardly one-half of what it is represented to be. 

There are other "fakings" with the bells, such as using very big grips to  prevent most people from being able to hold them on account of the weakness of fingers not accustomed to the grip, or using unequally balanced bells, so as to give very little chance for anyone not knowing the peculiarity of the bell to successfully lift the same as per challenge on first trail, but I take these fakings as being a more legitimate part of the business, just like those high-flowing challenges to give anybody 500 pounds who successfully imitates a public performer, which is hardly ever possible, as everyone has a pet feat of his own, very difficult for anyone else to to at first sight, or unless time would be given to practice. 

This giving away of 500 pounds reminds me of a very interesting story, which is not generally known, though it marked the beginning of the  great fame of a very well known strong man. It happened thus: 

Some years ago a very well-advertised "strongest man on earth" offered to give away nightly that sum -- which he probably never possessed -- to anyone would come on the stage and break his chains [stop yankin' my chain, asshole] and lift his weights, knowing, of course, that it is nearly an impossibility for anyone barring himself to find the prepared link in the chain which is to be broken. 

The great success this man had for many months made others very jealous. One man in particular, who wished to become his partner in the business, not being able to gratify his desire, worked on the ruin of the other's reputation by importing a man to beat him. This very man, the hero of many tall tales, one memorable evening accepted the great challenge, and all those who were able to get into the hall, I am sure, will never forget that night. We may never see another like it. 

The whole of the excited audience favored the younger and handsomer man, who eventually was adjudged winner, though I must say that, no matter how bit a swindler and bouncer the other was, he has not yet been beaten on his own game fairly. No doubt our young man was by far the strongest and could lift heavier weights, but he certainly could not accomplish all the tricks the other set, and, after all, that was the challenge thrown out. 

The chains our hero broke were not those of the challenger. His astute manager prepared them for him, and had them ready in his pocket, and as soon as a certain chain bracelet had to be broken on his arm he objected to using the challenger's on account of difference in size of arms. Immediately his manager was to hand over his own, which were never inspected, but put on and hurriedly forced apart. 

Another one was used over the chest, naturally to the great disgust of the duped trickster. It was of no use for the man who offered the 500 pounds to get into a great rage. The good old British Public decided against him, and secured the great fame of our hero to the detriment of the other. 

Now all these performances of breaking chains, ropes of wore, nails, horseshoes and coins or cards are more or less tricks prepared for the occasion. With this, I do not mean to say that anyone is able to do them. No, it requires a strong man to be trained for the purpose, but they are not such extraordinary feats as the public believes them to be. 

Take, for instance, the chains. Usually ordinary iron jack chains are used for the purpose. Their S-formed links are most suitable for the preparation, as the ends of the links are not welded together; the chain is put into a vice with the jaws carefully protected so as to prevent the showing o any marks of preparation on the selected links, which are prized open and closed up several times until the link is nearly broken. The closing up of the link is done by slight taps with a hammer, and, if skillfully done, the link should not show any marks of the break, except that the link will assume a slightly altered shape -- that is to say, it is not quite as round as it was before preparation.

A chain so prepared will stand all the ordinary tests it is subjected to. A favorite test with the original performer was to have six men from the audience, and allow them to pull by a rope attached to the chain, which was fastened to a hook in the floor. A most ingenious and clever trick this is, which never failed to impress even the most skeptical, and it took me a long time to find out the manner of working it, especially as sometimes, if the performer wanted a sensational advertisement, he would invite a committee of pressmen, and show them that two horses could pull a heavy loaded cart attached to the chain, which he would afterwards break by the contraction of his biceps of right or left arm.

Yet, one you know, the trick is as simple as possible, by reason of the fact that when a chain is folded and placed over a strong hook, part of the link which is in contact with the hook bears no strain whatever, and that is the prepared part of the chain, the rest being genuine. All you have to do is to take care how you place the chain on the hook. Keep it there, and, of course, use only one prepared link in the chain you wish to break. 

Chains which are handed round for inspection must be a little stronger but not much, as there is very little chance of anyone finding the prepared link, and they never pull hard enough, recognizing the hopelessness of their efforts, or if anyone does by some chance pull hard enough, the effort is mostly given to the wrong part of the chain.

Coins are similarly treated in the vice, except silver coins, which can be prepared by an immersion of several days in mercury (quicksilver) after coating them with wax on both sides and cleaning a small space in the middle corresponding on either side, which allows the uncovered part of the silver coin to be chemically destroyed and rendered impossible to break by finger strength. 

To perform with such prepared coins, you must work with confederates to hand up the right ones on the demand from the stage, or they must be substituted afterwards, which is quite easy to work in several ways. One of them is to ask for the necessary coins, which will be quite eagerly given by more persons than you want. Choose your man, or, preferably, a woman, take the coin or coins, and go to some other person to mark the same, on the way substituting the coin, which must be handy in a secret pocket where your hand naturally would be held. As the other person does not know the coin, you are quite safe in handing him your own. Then take it up on the stage and astonish your audience. 

There is another way of breaking coins which need not be prepared. That is by sewing in the thumb of both gloves (which are used on the pretext to save the skin of your fingers) a specially prepared piece of narrow hard steel, about the length of your thumbs, with a slot on the end of such steel, and of sufficient depth to hold half the biggest coin intended to be broken. The leverage and strength so obtained will be enough to break any coin of the realm.        

Saturday, March 16, 2024

High Intensity Thigh Training - John Little (2006)

While Mike Mentzer was renowned for his spectacular arm development, his thighs may have been his most striking bodypart. Indeed, they were huge and shapely, with each muscle group well chiseled.  And when he struck a thigh pose, it looked for all the world like rolling waves of muscle that would crash and explode into splinters of fibrous activity upon the bone and tendinous shores to which they were attached. 

As much as Mike was taken by big arms (Bill Pearl had been his hero), he never once lost sight of the beauty and impressiveness of a well developed pair of legs. As he once recalled: 

"When I got into bodybuilding, it became obvious that no matter how tremendously developed your upper body might be, if the legs didn't match, forget it!"

And while proper training is crucial for optimal leg development, Mike also recognized the importance of genetics in this area. He once pointed out to me two classic examples in which a genetic deficiency hindered the professional careers of otherwise phenomenally gifted bodybuilders: Freddy Ortiz and Dave Draper. In both cases, Mike indicated, the problem wasn't ignorance or a willingness on their part to bust ass in the gym. As Mike explained it: 

"Though I don't know this for a fact, I'm guessing that in most cases where a bodypart is lagging way behind the rest of the body, there is less fiber density in that area. This means that even if the individual were to double or even triple the size of the existing fibers, there just aren't enough total fibers to amount to much in the way of mass." 

On the topic of genetics and leg training, Mike once made the following observation: 

"I have been more fortunate than many in that I inherited a pleasing shape in my leg muscles, as well as the potential for developing a lot of mass. My dad never even knew what a toe raise or leg curl was, and yet his calves measured about 17 inches. I well recall as a youth marveling at his thighs when he mowed the lawn in his shorts. However, my thigh development is not merely the result of having 'chosen the right parents.' In spite of my favorable genetic predisposition for developing massive, shapely legs, I've always trained them hard." 

Mike's leg strength was almost legendary even when he was a teenager, for he began working his legs very heavy when he was only 14, at which time he could quarter-squat with more than 700 pounds. At age 16 he was full-squatting with 500 pounds. He once confided to me that he believed that the foundation he laid with those early squat workouts contributed to his ability to develop muscle at a rapid rate later. 

Too many young bodybuilders, blinded by their quest for big arms, neglect leg work. The imbalance in development that results from such neglect, unfortunately, typically proves ruinous to their bodybuilding aspirations. 

The workout below is relatively brief compared to most of the other top champions layouts. However, brevity is vital if your concern is power and lasting mass. If you're training with maximal intensity, carrying each set to failure while using maximum weights and strict form, your workouts will be brief of necessity. The moment you begin adding sets to the number recommended, intensity must diminish, and there will be inroads into your ability to recover, both of which add up to little or no progress. 

The following workout is one that Mike used to prescribe for his Heavy Duty clients and, with only minor variations, essentially the one he employed in training for competition. 

Mike recommended working legs in a separate workout (unless a client was on his consolidation routine . . . 
which meant working legs, at most, once every 12 days and often but once every 21 days. 

The muscles that form the legs are large -- the largest muscle group in the boy -- and as a result, exercises that work them are especially taxing. Compare how you feel after a set of barbell curls to failure to how you feel after a set of heavy squats to failure. See what I mean? The strain that hard leg work places on the body's reserves is so great that we must be especially cautious. According to Mike: 

"The possibility of overtraining looms ever present when we do leg work, so we must perform the absolute minimum amount that will stimulate growth. Doing more sets than necessary to induce growth will only hinder the recuperative process and possibly even prevent growth. Remember that following a workout the body must recover and replenish what was used up during the workout. It is only after full recovery has taken place that growth can occur. So to stimulate growth, train intensely; and to allow for such growth, train briefly and not too frequently." 

Here, then, is the leg routine that Mike Mentzer employed and recommended to his clients: 

1) Leg Extension supersetted with Leg Press

The leg extension exercise is valuable in that it focuses the stress almost entirely on the front thigh muscles, the quadriceps. Here is what Mike had to say about the performance of these two exercises: 

"The isolation of these muscles is important because the strength of the adjacent muscles such as the adductors and the buttocks is preserved for the second exercise to follow -- either squats or leg presses. When you perform exercises such as squats or leg presses, it's usually the smaller and weaker adjacent muscle groups such as the hips and lower back or buttocks that fatigue first, thus preventing the front thighs from carrying on to the point of failure. By first carrying a set of leg extensions to failure, we pre-exhaust the quadriceps. This means that in the second exercise, squats or leg presses, the adjacent muscles are temporarily stronger than the quads, and we're able to work the quads to the point of failure without the surrounding muscles giving out first.

"The second exercise of the pre-exhaustion must be done immediately, with zero rest, while the front thighs are still exhausted. If you rest and saunter around between the two exercises, the front thighs will regain most of their strength and the effectiveness of pre-exhaustion is nullified. 

"Use enough weight on the leg extension to allow for the strict performance of 8-15 reps, with a distinct pause in the locked, or contracted, top position, where the movement arm of the apparatus is parallel to  the floor. Then lower slowly to the starting, or stretched position.

"If you cannot pause and hold the weight momentarily in the top, contracted position without having the weight fall out of control, it means you used excessive body leverage and momentum in lifting the weight. Since your static strength is considerably greater than your ability to raise a weight, you should be able to hold the weight at the top for about 2 seconds. 

"After you've completed the last possible rep, have a partner help you force out two more reps. His assistance must be minimal, just enough to help you barely make it." 

Immediately after leg extensions, move to leg presses. This exercise is so productive because you can use extremely heavy weights. According to Mike, heavy weights can make a world of difference: 

"At one time I had trouble muscle on my inner and outer vastus. Then I started doing leg presses. I eventually got to a point where I was doing 8 reps with 1200 pounds, and that solved the vastus problem. If you have access to the Nautilus Compound Leg machine, the one with the leg extension and leg press contained in one unit, fine. That machine is perfect for pre-exhausting the thighs, since you can move directly from the leg extension to the leg press without having to get up and run across the gym to another machine, during which time the front thighs would recover.

"The first time I used this machine, I simple could not believe it; it can only be described as an otherworldly experience [right up there with the "squat altar" when it comes to low-shelf otherworldly experiences.]. If you don't have the compound machine, try to set up your leg press as close as possible to the leg extension machine so you can jump right off the one and onto the other with as little rest as possible. 

Remember that your quads will be fatigued at this point, so you may require less weight than normal.  

For forced reps, push with your hands on your knees, providing yourself with jus enough assistance so each remaining rep is extremely difficult, requiring all-out effort. Keep in mind that intensity refers to the force exerted through muscular contraction. Too much assistance on the forced reps lowers intensity. Negatives on leg presses are difficult for obvious reasons. so emphasize the lowering of the weight during the 2 forced reps." 

2) Full Squats.  

If you don't have access to a leg press, substitute squats as the compound movement of a pre-exhaustion superset. That is, do your leg extensions and immediately go right into squats. 

Don't worry about forced and negative reps on squats, however, because of obvious safety considerations. Merely go to positive failure if you have spotters or squat in a power rack. If you don't have spotters or a rack to catch the weight in case of failure, terminate your set at least one rep short of failure. Always remember, safety first. Be very careful to keep your spine straight during the lift. And slowly lower the weight to a little shy of 90 degrees. 

Do one set of squats to failure, again for one set of 8-15 repetitions. Mentzer's quad routine was short and sweet: one pre-exhaustion superset of leg extensions and leg presses or squats, rest, and then one final set of squats to finish off the muscles. 

3) Leg Curls

This is an exercise that Mike eventually dropped from the workouts of his Heavy Duty clients, as he believed that the hamstrings received ample stimulation from the leg presses or squats and that performing another direct set for them simply used up more recovery ability, which delayed the production of new muscle mass. Nevertheless, Mike did do leg curls during his competitive days, and he had a unique way of performing them:

"I use enough weight to allow for the usual number of strict positive reps, with a momentary pause in the contracted position of each rep. I continue with the forced reps, my brother Ray helps me into the fully contracted position and holds the weight there for me until I can mentally and physically lock and pull the weight into the buttocks for a several-second count and peak-contract the leg biceps as hard as I can against the resistance of the weight. 

"Working the leg curl in the fully contracted position not only works the total hamstring muscle but activates many of the muscles on the upper inner thighs. I saw muscles I never knew I had come out in my thighs when I employed this technique. And I know that fully contracted leg curls done in the aforementioned manner were responsible." 

Again, Mike would recommend no more than one set for 8-15 repetitions. Many advanced-level trainees have inquired how Mike advised people to perform advanced Heavy Duty techniques, such as negatives and forced reps, in leg training. Here is what Mike advocated: 

"More advanced men should continue beyond the positive reps and one or two forced reps with the addition of two or three more negative-only movements. Have your partner or partners lift the weight all the way to the top, fully contracted position and hold it there momentarily so you can lock into the contraction and hold the weight there before lowering slowly. And make sure the downward progression of the weight on these negative reps is continuous. Don't ever try to stop the weight on negative-only extensions or leg curls until the movement is completed. Lower slowly and under control to the starting position. Do not try to  stop and hold the weight." 

So there you have it -- a truly Heavy Duty leg workout that helped Mike's already well-developed legs become even better. And if you follow his outline, even the most stubborn underpinnings will respond. Yes, leg training is tough if progress is your goal. But then, as Mike said: 

"Need I remind you that growth never comes easy? I must literally be forced." 

And now you have the perfect routine for doing just that. 

Enjoy Your Lifting!     

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