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Since 3 Dec. '02



My Story - The Early Years

Let me begin by sharing with you a couple my
before and after photo’s…
Before
After
 Here I am at age 16, 5’ 11”
 & weighing a buck fifty-five.
 Here I am weighing
212-pounds.

I wish I could tell you that the 57 Pounds of Muscle Gain displayed in the “After Photo” was accomplished in JUST 1 YEAR but the TRUTH is it took me 12 long years and I was under the guidance of some of the world’s most advanced, and respected, bodybuilding coaches.  My muscle gain factor averaged only about 5 pounds a year!  Suffice it to say I wasn’t exactly a genetic superior as a bodybuilder.

It has been said that all men are created equal! Do I believe that?  Does a chicken have lips? I know I wasn’t created equal because from that day I was born until my 16th year I was weak, skinny and timid.  I struggled mightily just to be on par physically with other males my own age but to no avail. Basically I was a bone rack with buggy whip arms, a chicken chest, Venetian blind ribs, legs that looked like a pair of pliers in boxer shorts and shoulders so narrow they almost choked my neck (which looked like a pencil balancing a medicine ball “my head”).

I know one thing.  I was always the guy everybody put in a corner and then picked dead last, first time every time, when it came to games and team sport.  It’s no wonder with things like this happening to me that I’d start thinking if I was the only person in a contest I’d still only place 2nd.

Click for larger imageNot only was I underweight and weak but in addition to that I wore enormously thick ‘Coke bottle bottom glasses’ and had the worse case scenario of acne imaginable. To put it bluntly, I was an unfortunate kid while growing up that the other kids gravitated to when they wanted to ‘pound someone to a pulp’. And ‘do me ugly’ they did. It wasn’t uncommon to get the living dog crap out of me on a weekly basis IF I could be caught.  I say IF because I was a super fast runner but if I got cornered I was basically screwed.

I remember another time as a freshman in high school and some really BRUTALLY HUGE guys in the senior class cornered me and were going to haze me. I broke into tears and sobbed uncontrollably and they shoved me, sneered with distain and said “Let the baby go.” That was a close one. Whew!

Suffice it to say I sometimes felt as worthless as ‘tits on a Boar Hog’ most of my childhood and teen years.

People used to call me “WEAKLING WEIS” and as a result of this I became very insecure regarding my physical stature.  I guess in one sense I was the Classical weakling because I remember when I was a freshman in high school and I tried pressing 80 pounds overhead one day during PE. I lost control of this monster

poundage and fell over backwards with it putting a huge dent in the gym floor and even a more gigantic dent in my fragile self worth as a person. Why?

Because not only the guys but some of the most popular girls in school saw this incident (some laughed and some sneered) and I was embarrassed beyond belief. It was incidents like this that kept my self esteem at low ebb socially and as a result I didn’t even attempt to start dating women until I was 21 years of age.

Oh yeah, I did eventually manage to finally press the 80 pound barbell overhead while in PE class, and without falling backwards but the only problem was  when I was lowering the weight down from my shoulders. I had my thumbs sticking straight out from the bar (reminiscent of the ‘thumbs down signal’) rather than wrapped around the bar. Well as a result I ended up ripping the pockets out of my shirt when my thumbs got hooked in them.

Or how about the time, one Monday morning, when I walked into the men’s restroom at the high school and promptly got thrown out through the door and landed on my back up against the wall in the hall way.  The next thing I see is this HUGE (he reminded me of the ex WWE Pro Wrestler Brock Lesnar) senior classman with his size 13 shoe on my throat.  He looked like Mr. Tomato Head as he screamed obscenities in my face.  I was so scared I almost pooped my self.  No joke! What brought on altercation?

Ah, well I had hit him in the ear with a very hard snow ball (if I’d had stuck a rock in the snowball I’ll bet it would have hurt even worse J) two days previous and then was laughing at him hysterically because he couldn’t catch me as I ran away. This is probable the only incident where I deserved to get beat up.

 When I wasn’t getting the stew beat out of me I took a lot of guff in the form of tainted name calling (besides “WEAKLING WEIS” I was called “DENNY DIMWIT”, “COKE BOTTLE EYES” “MR. MAGOO” “SISSY BOY” and a host of other, what I considered back then, awful names) which gave me even more of an inferiority complex.  I felt like worm food back then.

I wanted so badly to be a Fitnessaurus (A creature craving physical perfection or put another way; Any beast gratified by muscular development) that I used to read the George F. Jowett and Charles Atlas ads in the comic books all the time and dream of looking like either one of them someday so I could get my evens (revenge) with every one of those school yard bullies.

Finally after getting beat up for the hundredth time and my eye glasses broken at least a half dozen times I decided no more being weaker than a flea fart for me so…  I responded to George F. Jowett's three-month power lever&Fulcrum Bell course ad.

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The Jowett course was the catalyst for surmounting my physical weaknesses and overcoming my inferiority complex but I still wasn’t the HE-MAN I envisioned myself to be (I wanted to be Mr. Excitement with muscles and a babe magnet all in one), BUT that all begin to change suddenly one day when….

I walked into the local drug store here in my home town of Ketchikan, Alaska.  I was perusing the magazine rack and was shocked when I saw the rugged and massive physique of Chuck Sipes on the cover of the May 1962 issue of Joe Weider's Mr. America magazine.

I immediately purchased the magazine, safely tucked it under my massive 12-inch buggy whip arm, and went home to read it from cover to cover. Without a doubt this magazine with Chuck Sipes on the cover began a burning passion within for what would come to be hardcore bodybuilding. My mom upon seeing my passion bought me a set of weights from Sears & Roebuck and I begin my journey into the world of “heavy iron”.

For the first 3 years of this journey I trained in the kitchen of my parent’s home and the next 27 years in Spartan like conditions in unheated sheds and warehouses where the temperatures hovered in the teens during the winter months. 

As a newbie bodybuilder I gleaned as much information as I could from the Weider magazines but I wanted to learn more.  Around May of 1965 while reading the Weider magazines I saw an ad for Chuck (Sipes) American Bodybuilding Club.  It only cost a measly $2.00 a month to have Chuck make up an exercise routine and answer questions. 

Having read articles by or about Chuck he became my bodybuilding hero from the onset so I quite naturally and eagerly responded to his ad. I began corresponding with Chuck Sipes through letters and then phone consultations regarding the "how-to's" of pumping the heavy iron for nearly 9 years until 1974.  Later (1976) when I became a bodybuilding journalist, I would ironically write articles about Chuck Sipes for Peary Rader's Iron Man magazine.

Ironically even though I was now bitten by the iron bug big time, the Charles Atlas ads in the comic books still looked very intriguing to me so… 

I filled out the coupon, for the free 32 page booklet revealing the Charles Atlas secret of Dynamic Tension, and mailed it off. 

When the booklet arrived I was amazed by what I read so I ended up putting $5.00 in an envelope and sent for the complete 12 lesson Charles Atlas course.

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Log onto: www.charlesatlas.com


I must be perfectly candid here and say that while I did receive the above certificate I didn’t train exclusively with the Atlas 12 lesson System of “Dynamic-Tension” but used it in conjunction with my weight training.  However having said that I must say that the “Dynamic-Tension” exercises offered in the Charles Atlas course did increase the muscle gain factor (in my shoulders, arms, back and chest) beyond what the weight training alone would have provided. 

My burning passion for hardcore bodybuilding
was taken to a higher level
on June 11-12, 1965,
when I had the opportunity (as a spectator)
to attend the AAU Mr. America Contest
at the Embassy Auditorium in Los­ Angeles California.

Sergio posing at a contest

Here I was in the big city; I must have looked like I just got off the turnip truck. I accidentally walked backstage at the Embassy Auditorium, during pre-judging of the AAU Mr. America, and couldn't believe all the Herculean physiques milling around. There was one huge black man who stood out above all the rest, in my mind. Someone said his name was Sergio Oliva.

I'm lucky I didn't get the boot the way I was staring wide eyed (like a deer caught in the headlights) and gape-mouthed (like I was trying to catch flies) at all the giants of bodybuilding of that time.
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Randy Watson 3rd, Mr. America Jerry Daniels
and Bob Gajda 2nd

My first Iron Man magazine

It was at this ’65 AAU Mr. America contest that I became aware of the existence of Iron Man magazine through the meeting of Mabel Rader (Peary’s wife) the associate editor.  I flew back to Ketchikan and began a new assault on my bodybuilding endeavors, armed now with not only Mr. America magazine but Iron Man as well; they became my best friends and why?  

I was the only person in Ketchikan crazy or dumb enough to do the bodybuilding thing and more than a few people made fun of me and even laughed at my new found hobby at least to begin with.  My Dad even said I wouldn't amount to anything lifting the darn weights. My Mom however gave me tons of encouragement to keep lifting weights.  Still being the only one around lifting the weights I was as lonely as a fever blister on a snowball.  But that was about to change.

Rene Leger, a former Mr.Canada
performs
Seated overhead presses on the roof top gym at the Sandy Surf Hotel.  

All of his personal friends in the iron game including Charles Atlas and the great John C. Grimek were guests of the Sandy Surf Hotel from time to time. By the time I arrived in Miami in 1966 the lease on the hotel had expired and Donne chose not to renew because he had three other business ventures going which were taking up plenty of his time.

Donne in his physique competition days. 

My burning passion for hardcore bodybuilding excelled to an all time high in 1966, when I moved to colorful Miami Beach, Florida for about nine months.  It was my privilege to meet and become close friends with Donne Hale, the East Coast “Bodybuilding Guru”. Donne earned this title legitimately for he had studied and experimented with all the recognized systems of advanced weight training for the past 34 years and as a result the hundreds of bodybuilders that trained under his guidance made, not normal, but exceptional muscle gains.   

A couple of years previous to my arrival in Miami Donne owned and managed the ‘bodybuilding dedicated’ Sandy Surf Hotel located at 89th Street and the Ocean in Miami. The Hotel included a unique rooftop gym.

Donne at his health food store.
 He was the publisher and editor of The Florida WEIGHT – MAN (as well as being a noted author for Iron Man magazine) plus he owned and operated ‘Hale’s Health Foods’ (which is still going strong today in 2005), and ‘Hale’s Fitness and Figure Gym’.

Don’t let the words “…Fitness and Figure…” fool you into thinking that Donne’s gym was for wimps. To begin with there was Donne.  Donne wasn’t just a look good on paper “Bodybuilding Guru” but actually performed at a very rugged strength level at age 44.

I remember seeing him casually pull 600-pounds cold (without any type of specific warm-up what-so-ever) in the deadlift from just below the knees in a power rack.

Even more amazing was watching him do a MAXIMUM REPETITION SET (one applied set where four or more repetitions are executed with the most poundage involved) in the non-apparatus Leg press (back in the early 1900’s this exercise was called the “foot press”) with a 500-pound barbell.  Wish I had been camera ready for this exhibition of brute hips and legs strength but I wasn’t so the following illustration will have to suffice with the accompanying description.

Don’t Try  Performing This Exercise Alone!!!
Always Solicit The Assistance of a Couple of Savvy Spotters!!!

 While lying on the floor in his gym, and without the aid of spotters, Donne would pull a barbell (400-500-pounds) to a position over his chest and then bridge press it to arms length.  From here he bent his knees toward his chest (as depicted in the illustration above) and placed the barbell evenly on the soles of his feet.  From here he extended his legs to a complete lock out and lowered the bar back down, smoothly until the frontal thighs were touching his chest. He continued extending and lowering the weight in the manner described for a few more reps. I am not too proud to say that I could never quite master the balance involved (to say nothing of getting a moderate weight of say 300-pounds up in position on the soles of my feet even when I had the assistance of a couple of workout partners). 

The gym was brutally hardcore from the get go and the hub for many elite athletes from around the nation who were passing through town.  Five of the most hardcore dudes who trained at Donne’s gym when I was there was mighty Ken Newman, Len Lawson, Richard Franz, the late John Carl Mese and Barry Popiel.


Richard Franz deading 628 lbs

Richard Franz was a 198 pound Olympic and Powerlifter.  He became the national record holder in the deadlift at around 650-pounds, but what really impressed me was watching him do 110-pound Standing dumbbell presses for sets of 10 reps and with such ease.  The only thing I could do with the 110-pounders was the Dumbbell Clean from “Hang” and that seemed to impress Richard just a little. Richard had a bit of an ego so he wasn’t often impressed by much.


John Carl Mese contracting
his 19+ inch upper arm.

John Carl Mese weighted around 235 sported 19+ inch upper arms and could do Flat barbell bench presses raw with 400+ pounds. But what amazed me, for being a big man, was his explosiveness to do the 100 yard dash in well under 11 seconds.  In addition to the accomplishments mentioned John also penned numerous articles around 1967-68 for The Florida WEIGHT – MAN (and later in the ‘70s became a contributing author for Iron Man magazine) the most noteworthy in my opinion being a series of articles titled: THE ARM FORUM.


Len Lawson, 1965 teenage Mr. Florida
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Mighty Ken Newman, 1963 Mr.
Florida
See Addendum Section for
The  Successful
Bench Press Blueprint by John Carl Mese
See Addendum Section for THE ARM FORUM conducted by John Carl Mese
Barry Popiel really impressed me at Hale’s gym. He had just turned 13 years of age, and at 4’ 10” and at a bodyweight of 145 pounds bench pressed 325-pounds and pressed 225-pounds overhead.  If I hadn’t seen these sensational lifts with my own eyes and you were telling me this story I would have asked you what you were smoking.

There is one other person
 who I should not
fail to mention
and that is…
Frederick W. (“Doc”) Tilney– I met and befriended “Doc” Tilney when I lived in Miami during my 9 month stay in Miami in ’66-67.Obviously from the photo you can probable guess that the late Frederick W. (Doc) Tilney wasn’t one of the hardcore elite bodybuilders who trained at Hale’s gym.  He was in fact a 70 year old famous lecturer and author on physical culture. Over the span of his life he wrote literally hundreds of articles on exercise and nutrition for the Weider publications and other numerous bodybuilding magazines. 
Frederick W. (“Doc”) Tilney

In addition to the articles he wrote several books including YOUNG AT 73 and a nutrition book used as a text at Oregon State University. 

Doc Tilney revealed to me that he had in many decades past formed a partnership with Charles Atlas and wrote the famous Atlas course plus the dynamic ads and sales materials associated with it.  Even though at this time I had no aspirations to be a muscle writer it is still pretty cool to know that I was in the presence of a prolific bodybuilding writer.


Donne seemed to sense early on that bodybuilding wasn't going to be a short-term love affair for me.  He realized it was going to be a part of my lifestyle forever, and he pulled out all the stops to supervise my training and nutritional needs during the 9 months I lived in Miami. 

I must digress for a moment and say prior to meeting Donne Hale I was self-taught through the mainstream muscle magazines as to the “technique-emphasis” of certain exercises.  Actually, I did pretty well, but it wasn't by accident, because I would wade through them with a fine-tooth comb in search of highly guarded tips and secrets.

I would buy any and all magazines, books and courses pertaining to bodybuilding and powerlifting etc.  There were a couple of reasons for this.  

First, I didn’t have many friends to speak of I sought refuge Home Alone” 24-7 by reading and memorizing all of the magazines, books and courses, page for page,  while the guys in my peer group was out dating the chicks and partying big time. 

Second, and most importantly I felt in the back of my mind that there was some jealously-guarded bodybuilding secrets that I wasn’t privy to relating to the discovery of a perfect workout system for creating Unsurpassed Strength and a Massive…Symmetrical…Physique! After 43 years of collective research I have found there is just enough biomechanical and biochemical individuality within each of us that “All bodybuilding programs work, but some better than others,” and “All bodybuilding programs work, but not all the time.”

Suffice it to say I had a HUGE bodybuilding library.   I still do!  Only now I have hundreds of audio’s, video’s, CD’s and DVD’s added to my bodybuilding library.  I wasn't called "Dennis, the Mail Order Maniac" for nothing! I wish I’d had a copy of my eReportBuyers Beware” back then. 

Enough digressing!  Donne Hale's training beliefs commanded my attention.  He taught me not to let my expectations get out of proportion.  He said it would take a lot of hard work and perseverance to succeed in the iron game.  I fired questions at him continuously -- how much exercise, rest, nutrition?


Donne Hale’s gym:
Here I am at age 20 warming up in the Barbell Squat using the Jackson cambered squat bar.
Donne  had plenty of patience, and with his tranquil demeanor he taught me to do multiple sets of varying rep schemes using basic compound exercises such as barbell-deadlifts, curls, bench presses, bent over rowing, shrugs, calf raises, and full squats.  Full squats!!!  What, I wondered, were those?

Up until arriving in Miami, I was doing only upper body stuff.  I soon found out what full squats were after he loaded up the Jackson cambered squat bar.

Donne  had plenty of patience, and with his tranquil demeanor he taught me to do multiple sets of varying rep schemes using basic compound exercises such as barbell-deadlifts, curls, bench presses, bent over rowing, shrugs, calf raises, and full squats.  Full squats!!!  What, I wondered, were those?  Up until arriving in

Miami, I was doing only upper body stuff.  I soon found out what full squats were after he loaded up the Jackson cambered squat bar.

Donne Hale’s gym: Posing my forearm at 11:00 p.m
My lungs felt like they had been ripped out of my chest, and my legs felt like they had been fire-bombed.

 This went on for a couple of weeks during my squatting sessions. Donne's old-fashioned, hard-core training instructions made Vince Gironda seem like the late Fred Rogers (star of the Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood TV show). But, lo and behold, all of a sudden, during a 20-rep squatting session, I got an adrenalin/endorphin rush I'll never forget.  From then on, high-rep full barbell back squats would be my core exercise for any workout. 

I moved back to Ketchikan in 1967 and continued with a lot of extra incentive to train in a 12x16-foot shed with no heat source.  I continued to correspond with Donne, Chuck Sipes, and ultimately Peary Rader for years to come.  These three men collectively became my mentors for learning how to lift the heavy iron and awakened my admiration for their well-rounded lifestyles.  They taught me to have tremendous ambitions but not just in the physical realm.  They said for most people a 20-inch arm will not put food on the table or money in the bank.  They went on to say I must develop mentally, socially and spiritually in order to achieve success and happiness in life.


What I learned especially from Donne, Chuck and Peary could be summed up as follows…

I'd crawl out from under the weight, rest five minutes and then squeeze myself back under the barbell, drive it off the wood safety boxes to lock-out, and then rack it.  I'm not going to say it was easy, because it wasn't.  I was pooped and usually had to wait 20 minutes before I could do another repetition set of squats.  The best I ever came out of the hole with (without having to unload some poundage) from a dead stop was 485 pounds at a bodyweight of 212-pounds

Of all the exercises I learned from Donne, Chuck and Peary, the one that they universally agreed was of paramount importance was the Barbell back squat. I learned that this exercise was the anabolic equalizer for entire body when performed with perfect form and motion and with lots of deep breathing and high-reps. Eventually after a few years of doing this exercise I was able to do 405 pounds for 20+ reps (without a specific warm-up) while weighting under 215 pounds.  

The value of this exercise has left a lifetime impression on me and it is with this in mind that I'd like to give some of the parameters that personally prepared me eventually to do 20+ full reps in the Barbell back squat with 405 pounds.   

I rarely if ever used training gear such as my rayon durene weightlifting singlet, cowhide lifting belt (this wasn’t a stiff, thick belt like the ones used today, where it takes the help of a training partner or two and the use of a power rack to get it buckled) or York Barbell lifting shoes when squatting in training -- loose-fitting York Barbell Club maroon training pants, and a pair of tennis shoes (with a good support base) was fine for me. During the cold winter months I would wear a pair of BH (Bob Hoffman) rubber-like Knee Bands to keep heat and circulation around the vulnerable knee joints. 

I was anatomically blessed to squat deep and I never had any knee, back, or Achilles tendon injuries associated with doing them. Squatting deep for me was when the tops of my thighs were below parallel and beyond.

1. Always do general and specific warm-ups.
2. Do heavy non-injuring compound core exercises such as; Barbell    Back Squats, Flat Barbell Bench Presses, Conventional Deadlifts, Barbell Bent Over Rowing, Barbell Clean & Press, Standing Barbell Curls, Vertical Dips on the Parallel Bars.
3. Always include some neck, forearms, abs and calf exercises.
4. Maintain a balanced diet of natural foods.
5. Get adequate rest and
6. Maintain a tranquil mind.
7. There is no magic bullet for developing the ultimate physique especially if you are an anabolic drug-free bodybuilder.
8. Bodybuilding success demands that you put forth a valiant effort and determination.

Strong erector spinae muscles, of the lower back, is necessary because they work in conjunction with the squatting process. I developed my lower back strength to the point where I could pull 500+ pounds in the Conventional dead lift (without any specific warm-up what-so-ever) for an initial set of 10 reps. I did these standing on a raised wood platform where the bar touched my instep.  As well, to be strong up the middle, I would do 60 reps in the Roman chair sit-up (a no-no by today's standards) with 60 pounds for that little extra boost in abdominal strength. 

For years (especially when I was in hard training for powerlifting & bodybuilding  competitions in the early 1970s) I didn't have a training partner (spotter), so on an exercise like the deep Barbell back squat I would use wood safety boxes (to dump the barbell on) if I got stuck in the bottom position. 


The rarest of the rare, an actual photo of me Bench pressing (around 275-pounds).
Strong erector spinae muscles, of the lower back, is necessary because they work in conjunction with the squatting process. I developed my lower back strength to the point where I could pull 500+ pounds in the Conventional dead lift (without any specific warm-up what-so-ever) for an initial set of 10 reps. I did these standing on a raised wood platform where the bar touched my instep.  As well, to be strong up the middle, I would do 60 reps in the Roman chair sit-up (a no-no by today's standards) with 60 pounds for that little extra boost in abdominal strength.

For years (especially when I was in hard training for powerlifting & bodybuilding  competitions in the early 1970s) I didn't have a training partner (spotter), so on an exercise like the deep Barbell back squat I would use wood safety boxes (to dump the barbell on) if I got stuck in the bottom position.I'd crawl out from under the weight, rest five minutes and then squeeze myself back under the barbell, drive it off the wood safety boxes to lock-out, and then rack it.  I'm not going to say it was easy, because it wasn't.  I was pooped and usually had to wait 20 minutes before I could do another repetition set of squats.  The best I ever came out of the hole with (without having to unload some poundage) from a dead stop was 485 pounds at a bodyweight of 212-pounds.

At times I would do slow single rep negative Barbell back squats with 550-600+ pounds down to the wood safety boxes. I'd then have to crawl out from under the weight, unload the bar to around 225 pounds, power clean it and rack it onto the squat stand apparatus. I’d reload the bar to the amount of weight that I would be using next. After a short rest-pause I’d do the next single rep negative. This was a most time consuming procedure to say the least.

While my squats were decent, pressing movements of any type were sub par and worse.  For example my best Barbell press overhead for a triple was 225 pounds and my bench presses SUCKED even more! 

It was a lucky day if I could bench press 300 for a triple, and then I would need a 3/4 ton hoist and David Copperfield (the magician) to help me levitate the bar up.  Maybe that's why I never excelled at benches.  I had the 3/4 ton hoist but Copperfield was just a kid back in the '70s.

Seriously I tried every bench press program offered such as…
See  ADDENDUM SECTION for an outline of :
You Can
Bench Press 400 Pounds

None of the programs catapulted me beyond a paltry 325-pound max single.  Interestingly though the poundage that I used in the associated ancillary exercises would suggest that I was capable of a 350-375-pound Bench press but it was not to be. I know that when actually performing the Bench press it was like a light switch being shut off mentally in my head. But just ask me to demonstrate some really heavy back or leg work and it was just the opposite.  Enough about my pathetic bench pressing!

I want to talk in more detail about the Barbell back squat. Fifty percent of the time I would use a conventional straight bar for squats, and other times a Jackson cambered bar (weight is carried lower in the center of gravity).  I always padded the bar with Armoflex (a pipe insulating material). 


Eventually these commando-tough workout sessions got me to the point where I was able to do 20 rock-bottom Barbell back squats with 405 pounds (in pause squat style), without a warm-up of any kind.  I wrote about it in a series of articles for Iron Man magazine in the late '70s, entitled "Bits of Advice & Routines."  Then a funny thing happened. . . . 

One evening during the late 1970s, in the month of June, I heard a knock at my door.  I opened it and saw two guys in their early 20s.  My first though was, “Oh, great, I’ll bet these two are going to tell me they are selling fur-lined bathtubs or, worse yet, Air in a Jug.”  They said, "Are you Dennis B. Weis?" to which I replied, "If you're from a collection agency or the IRS, then No!"

They assured me they were from neither, so I admitted I was in fact the person they were seeking.  They went on to say that they were up here (Ketchikan, Alaska) on a commercial fishing boat from San Francisco and wanted to stop by and chat, since they were avid readers of Peary Rader's Iron Man magazine. 

They had read in my "Bits of Advice & Routines" series that I could do full Barbell back squats with 405 for 20 reps without a warm-up, and they said, quite frankly, “We didn't believe it!”  A  direct comment such as this might irate some people as it could be a reflection on their truthfulness as a writer per say.  One of my favorite motto’s was (and is to this day) “An ounce of action is worth a pound of talk” so I found their comment challenging in a positive way.

I remembered writing that in the article, but I said that while I was capable of that feat, it didn't necessarily mean that it was an everyday occurrence that could be done at any time during, say, a five-year span.  Peaking levels vary, but I told them they were in luck because I was indeed in shape to perform 405 pounds for 20 reps.

We left the house and walked down the road a couple of blocks to my 12’ x 16' workout shed and went in.   There was just enough light coming in through the windows, even though it was late evening, which meant I didn’t have to crank up the propane lamp.  I was lucky it was June and not December so I didn’t have to scrape off frost from the bar.  I directed their attention to my squatting apparatus, a York portable dip bar attachment hooked to a Peter Dodge Dynatron A-Frame.

Over the years I used a number of training programs to accomplish my goals of squatting 20 reps with new poundages.  Below, are a couple of them:
No. 1

On this program I would do 5 sets of 8 reps in the power-style squat with 84-88% of my current one-rep max.  I still squatted very deep but carried the bar low on my traps and used a shoulder width foot placement.  I was explosive on these.  After completing the 5 sets, I would drop back to 60% of my one-rep max and do one set of 10 reps in Olympic high bar style, with my foot placement no more than 12 inches apart.  Each workout I added two reps more than the previous, until I reached 50-60 reps.  I trained twice a week.

No. 2

This program is a Peary Rader special.  I would take a poundage with which I could barely get 10 full reps and with a lot of mental tenacity (and 4-5 deep breaths between reps) would finish out with 20 reps in pause squat style.  This was done twice a week.  I'd add weight whenever possible, say, 5-10 additional pounds once a week, and just keep grinding out 20 reps, but just for a couple of sets per workout.

Dynatron A-Frame
Two wood safety boxes were positioned nearby.  I asked the guys to count up the weight on the squat bar (that was resting atop the dip bars), “And don’t forget to include the weight of the bar,” I exclaimed.  They counted 405 pounds.  I could tell they were surprised that it was loaded and ready; I told them it had been this way for a few months.  I didn’t have training partners, so I could leave equipment as is.

I asked them to stand back as I prepared to squat.  I took 20-30 seconds and mentally, through visual imagery, saw myself successfully completing 20 deep squats with perfect motion and form.  I was getting an inner rush, so I knew I was ready.  What follows is my…

___________________________________________
PSYCHOLOGY OF THE 20-REP BARBELL BACK SQUAT
Click for larger image I approached the squat rack, grabbed the bar about 6 inches wider than shoulder width, with both hands.  I dipped down slightly so that I could center the bar high across my traps.  Then I stood up with the weight and methodically but vigorously stepped back from the squat rack, taking no more than two steps with each foot.  I spaced my feet about 12 inches apart (where I felt the strongest) and rotated them out laterally from parallel at about a 45-degree angle.  I locked my legs, arched my back, tightened my abs and made sure my chin was parallel to the floor.  I was now ready to begin the first of 20 reps in the standing pause squats.

I took a huge, deep breath and proceeded to squat down to rock bottom.  I know from practical application where my below-parallel rock bottom position is so I can squat in one smooth motion without worrying about having search for the bottom position.  My negative or eccentric speed took about 4 seconds per rep going down.  I never considered squatting to where the tops of my thighs were only just parallel to the floor.  I never experienced any sacroiliac danger or knee joint injury squatting rock bottom, although this might not be the case for many squatters.  I suspect my controlled descent was partly responsible for this, as opposed to the dive-crash or collapse style descent. 

As I descended, my shins almost always extended over the instep of my feet, but no further.  Immediately upon reaching rock bottom I would begin the ascent upward, still holding the deep breath of air.  As I moved out of the squatting pocket, I always led with my head and chest to keep my hips from rising too fast.  I’m really fighting the mindless weight up, and this of course is only the first of 20 reps.  Remember, I’m doing these suckers without a general or specific warm-up of any kind, so I expect the first few to be brutally hard, vein-bulging efforts. 

As I near the top of the movement, there is less strain, so I expel the air.  It took me about 3 seconds to complete the positive or concentric phase of the rep.  I breathe in 3 huge breaths quickly, grit my teeth and grind out another rep. 

I continue on in this manner for 8 more reps – three deep and determined breaths and do the rep.  Finally, at rep 10, it starts to get easier, because I’m finally getting warmed up. 

This goes to around rep 14, and I start to fade a bit, so I start taking 6 breaths between each squat.  I of course never racked the bar during the pauses, and while it allowed the blood to free up and circulate through the thigh muscles for a rejuvenation effect, the spinal erectors were always under tension and swollen beyond belief at the end of a set.

After the completion of the 20th rep I stepped forward and racked the bar.  I never counted from 1-20 when doing the reps but would in my mind divide the whole thing into two 10-rep sets.  I’d count 1-5, then the next five I’d count backwards from 5 to 1.  That left 10 reps to go.  From here I’d radically change up these remaining 10 reps. I’d say to myself, “I’ve got just 3 triple sets to go and one single.”  I’d do 3 reps, then I’d say “I have only 3 sets of doubles and one single.” 

I do two doubles and finish off with three singles.  This mental exercise in counting worked for me then and still does today. I really varied this rotating reps countdown mind game once when on a bet for a hamburger I full-squatted 300 pounds for 75 reps. I never worked so brutally hard for a hamburger in my life.  Never again!  I’ll buy my own hamburgers from now on, thank you very much. J 

Regarding the numerous rest pauses that I took between some of the varying reps of the set, some people might say that deliberate rest pauses between reps make the set less impacting than doing a set where there is only one deep breath and no more taken between each rep.  This is speculative at best, because the bodybuilder who is used to taking only one breath between each rep may not fare any better by taking 3-6 huge breaths between reps and may even do worse, and vice versa. 

The two guys from San Francisco were impressed with my 20-rep feat and heartily congratulated me. They appreciated the fact that I could back up the claims I had made in the Iron Man article.

Imaginary Lifter Technique
Click for larger image
Elite Soviet lifter Dave Rigert, a holder of 54 world Olympic  lifting records in  the ‘70s is hoisting nearly 500-pounds
Previously I mentioned the fact that for many years I never had the luxury of a training partner to spot me for my squatting movements but yet I was able to make continued gains in workout poundage and rep increases in this and other exercises.  This was possible in part because of a technique I used which I called the imaginary lifter.

For example when I was getting ready to do the Barbell back squat with 405-pounds for 20 reps I would see an imaginary elite Soviet lifter (David Rigert was my favorite), of the same bodyweight as myself, competing against me right there in my 12 x 16 workout shed.

 I would imagine in my mind that we were competing for a world championship and that he had just completed 19 reps with 405-pounds in the Barbell back squat.  My goal then was to do at least one more rep than the elite Soviet lifter and the world championship would be mine, so I would do the Barbell back squat with 405-pounds for 20 reps. 

Sometimes however if I wasn’t into a particular squat workout mentally I would have the imaginary elite Soviet lifter, Rigert, winning the world championship.  But let me tell you that really fired me up for the next squatting session to not only beat the imaginary lifter but exceed my own PR in poundage lifted or reps increased. 

Actually I used the imaginary lifter technique with tremendous success on all the compound core exercises mentioned before with the exception of the Barbell bench press

A crazy technique?  Maybe but it seemed almost perfect for me during the years I was training era appropriate 3-3.5 hours 5-6 days a week for powerlifting & bodybuilding competitions back in the ‘70s because I never saw any signs of going stale training wise and my enthusiasm grew steadily, never declining.  Perhaps some of you can profit from the Imaginary Lifter Technique.

Epilogue 

When I first started pumping the iron as a weak, skinny teenager I couldn’t help but notice the little regard people in general gave me.  They might give me a little tiny nod of the head and with eyes downcast hurried on by, too busy to talk and  if they acknowledged me verbally it was almost a lip synch whisper of  “Weis!” compared to the gregarious greeting of “Hi Guys!” they gave to others.  

Most of the time though no greetings were exchanged and we were like two ships passing in the night. And if there was two or more of them together they’d all ignore me and act like they didn’t know who I was. 

However when I began packing on pounds and inches of muscle naturally on my skinny frame people stopped exploiting me and I started really winning their respect.   

This was never more evident that when I won some State powerlifting competitions in the early ‘70s.  And all those previously doubting people, many of whom looked like they were weaned on a dill pickle and others who looked like the deadpan Jon Arbuckle from the Garfield comic’s, were now wildly congratulating me, and reaching out to give me the glad hand or slap me on the back in their enthusiasm.   

Even my dad, who had previously given me little encouragement, was showing my iron game trophies to his friends out in the front yard.  Needless to say I now felt confident and successfulAnd those school yard bullies I mentioned earlier? After my second year of high school they never ever bothered me again!!! 

What you have just read is a personalized glimpse and glance into my world of bodybuilding in the early years.  I am proud to say that my personal accomplishments in the iron game have been achieved as an anabolic drug-free power-bodybuilder.

My Story-The Early Years
can be expressed
in the following formula: 

Weak + Skinny + Timid + Insecure + Loser = Hoist the Heavy Iron + Read the Magazines 24-7 + Learn the Secrets of Bodybuilding + Applied Knowledge  + Competing Power-bodybuilder + Confident & Successful.
ADDENDUM SECTION
The Successful Bench Press Blueprint
By  John Carl Mese 
As Told To:  Dennis B. Weis The Yukon Hercules
THE ARM FORUM-5
By:  John Carl Mese  
You Can Bench Press 400-Pounds
 
The Successful

Blueprint
by John Carl Mese
As Told To:  Dennis B. Weis The Yukon Hercules

If you want to increase your bench pressing strength, and continue to increase it for years to come then try this routine by my friend, the late, John Carl Mese, a natural 400-pound plus bench presser. 

Using his program you can steadily up your bench press approximately 10 pounds a month.  Here is how The Successful Bench Press Blueprint, was performed by the late John Carl Mese

Monday and Thursday

Step No. 1-
Warm up -with a light poundage for 1 set of 10-12 reps.
Step No. 2-
Then -do two intermediate sets of just 2 reps each.  The first set, use a poundage that is 1/3 of the way up to your 2 rep limit, from the warmup

Step No. 3-
Now -jump the poundage to the absolute most you can do for two reps and perform two sets of 2 reps each.  As your training energy and efficiency increases from workout to workout try for a third sets of 2 reps and eventually do four sets of 2 reps

Step No. 4-
Next -decrease the two rep poundage by 20 or 30 pounds which allow you to make two sets of 4-6 reps. Be sure that you are able to get a minimum of 4reps, and really make a concentrated effort to accomplish 6 reps on each set.

Step No. 5-
Again -decrease the poundage another 20 or 30 pounds and blast out two sets of 6-8 reps.  This completes the barbell portion of the bench press program.  Finish-off with Incline Dumbbell Presses for three sets of 8 reps.  Start heavy and work light in 10-15 pound jumps.  You need to hurry on these to keep blood in the pecs. This completes the Monday and Thursday workouts.

Tuesdays and Fridays

Doing assistance exercises for arms, shoulders, and back strength is a systematic way to develop more bench pressing power.  Generally two assistance exercises are done on Tuesdays and Fridays.
The first assistance exercise is the Seated Barbell Press Behind the Neck and uses the same set and rep scheme as described in Steps No. 1-5, listed on the previous age, for the bench press.  The second assistance exercise is Vertical Dips on the Parallel Bars and is performed for five sets of 8 reps.  In all, keep your training intensity up by adding additional weight to your exercises whenever possible.

Capsule Comments
about Assistance Exercises
for the Bench Press

Most generally, assistance exercises are tailored to certain specific weaknesses in muscle development and strength.  For example, if your sticking point is on the chest (as it rests) you could be lacking in back strength which is necessary since the lats help drive the bar off the chest.  In this case you will want to choose 1-2 exercise variations for the lats such as deadlifts and do four sets of eight reps, although varying the sets, reps, and poundages used can be beneficial providing they allow the lat muscles sufficient overload quality for development.

Other suggests for the sticking point on the chest would be: Watch your form by keeping your body tight.  Explode the weight off the chest by doing precise flat starts.  Do ½ reps with 50-100 pounds under your current one-rep maximum, exploding the weight off the chest 6-10 inches for one set of 10 reps and a second set of 20 reps.  Drive the bar up in an “arc” rather than straight up (too much triceps).

A sticking point at mid-chest can indicate that you are simply out of the proper tracking pattern groove in which you must then expel the air forcefully out of your lungs to bypass this sticking point.  Front delt weakness could be a problem, and here you could Dead-Stop Benches in a power rack using a beginning pressing range which is 5-6" off the chest, or perhaps you can do Barbell Front Raises for the delts.

Sticking point near lockout can be from fatigue, form, or weak triceps.  One of the best exercises for this muscle is to perform Reverse Grip Bench Presses.  Lower the bar down to your abdominals (not the chest) and press straight up from there (not in an “arc” back toward the bench upright supports as in the conventional bench press).  Do a set of 5 reps, then immediately reduce the weight by 30-40% and go to absolute positive failure! This is one series.  Do 2-3 more.


Presents The Series Titled:

THE ARM FORUM # 1

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Since arms are so popular, this new feature should be welcome.  Arm routines and problems will be discussed, great armed men presented.

One of the top arms today – ranking with those of Ortiz, Scott and Pearl – is that of DAVE DRAPER.

Some idea of DAVE DRAPER’S great arm can be gained by studying this photo – taken under clouded skies by
John Carl Mese

In that group, Dave’s arm is most similar to Ortiz’s with his high peaked biceps.  He also displays a remarkable crisscross effect in that muscle and you’ll see what I mean if you study the accompanying pose.  Although Draper doesn't possess abnormal definition, he has terrific muscle separation, resulting in this crisscross.  Tremendous size is his, naturally, but he has real muscle hardness, as well.  I asked the blond giant if his arm really was 20 ½”, as reported in other magazines.  He stated he HAS NOT MEASURED HIS ARM IN THREE YEARS!  Still, at his height of 6’ 1”, I feel his girth is at least an inch more than my own and must be 20”, plus. 

The first thing you notice about Dave is his huge forearm; it is easily in a class with that of Scott, Pearl and Sipes.  He is a believer in working on the forearms as a separate body part and has made them outstanding.  But how does he train his arms?  Does he really follow “space age methods”?  

Draper trains biceps, triceps and forearms three times a week.  He works very fast and averages 15 sets per arm part.  He concentrates and adjusts each movement so he is getting the proper feeling or pump, as he believes this is vital.  He admits he has trouble with the triceps and notes that he has a hard time getting a pump in it.  Here is one of Dave Draper’s routines:

TRICEPS

 
 

Lat machine pushdown
French press, lying
Tiger bend pushups

– 5 sets, 8-10
– 5 sets, 8-10
– 5 sets, 8-10

BICEPS

 
  DB curls, lying
DB curl sitting
DB curl on incline

5 sets, 6 reps
5 sets, 6 reps
5 sets, 6 reps

FOREARMS

 
  Reverse curl w/BB
*One-DB wrist curl
[With upper arm parallel]
Supper setted 5 series, enough reps for burn
 

*One-Dumbbell (palm up) Wrist Curl [With upper arm parallel]

Dave Draper demonstrates

Weight training devotees are constantly looking for a “secret exercise” or (even more exciting) a “secret routine” that is used by a famous star.  It’s impossible to convince the average man that champions simply were born with ideal potentials and then worked very hard to develop those natural gifts to the limit.  He’s much happier believing that he too would be great IF…..if only he could learn that secret method used by his idol!  To partially please those dreamers, here is the unusual favorite exercise Dave Draper used in building his tremendous forearms. 

Modestly, Dave doesn’t claim credit for the movement, saying Chuck Sipes originated and taught it to him.  It is a variation of the old fashioned wrist curl, using a dumbbell, but one little change makes all the difference.  The starting position is the same – the forearm is laid along the top of the thigh, with the hand and lower part of the wrist extending off the end of the knee.  Now, look at the photo on the left.  The torso is now twisted a bit, to bring the shoulder of the working side closer to the wrist.  Continue leaning forward and to the outside until the upper arm of the curling hand is parallel to the floor, or as near as you can make it.  Remain in this position while you perform the regular dumbbell curl, concentrating strongly.

Drooping the shoulder and upper arm forward in this manner, puts the forearm in an unusual position too.  You’ll notice a much stronger effect on the inner part of the arm and a quick improvement in the “gooseneck” formation when you flex the forearm.  Give this “secret movement” a trial – it has evidently worked well for both Draper and Sipes! 

So you can see it does not take magic to have terrific arms.  Hard work and dedication has been the pattern followed by Dave Draper and he’s reaping big results!

THE ARM FORUM # 2  

Flushing methods have been subjected to a lot of criticism in the past.  Sometimes, I admit, they have been misused.  Youngsters like the ‘pumped up’ feeling they give and never bother to do any other type of work.  This is definitely the wrong way to benefit from them.  

When it comes to adding size on the arms, the flushing approach is excellent, when used occasionally.  This method will often surprise you by making your arms become harder and more defined, at the same time. 

If you are at a sticking point and those ‘space age methods’ are not making your arms a bit larger, try this routine for a six weeks period.  I (JOHN CARL MESE) have used it with good success on many occasions.  Here is how it works. 

Take three or four triceps exercises that suit you.  Perform one set of each, one after another, in rapid succession.  When you have done each of them once, this will be one group set.  Take a brief rest and then repeat this group set, using as many reps as you think are right for you.  Since sixteen sets of triceps is usual for me, in this case, I use four of these group sets.

Here is a sample routine that I have used:
  Dips with weight 6 reps
  Pushdown on lat machine 8 reps
  Close grip bench press 10 reps
  1 Arm dumbbell extension 10 reps

For those biceps, here’s another good one:

  Barbell curl (or E-Z bar) 6 reps
  Dbell curl, thumbs up 8 reps
  Concentration curl 10 reps

In biceps work, I usually perform twelve to fifteen sets, so this above routine is repeated for four or five group sets.  In both the biceps and triceps work, you must learn to work as rapidly as possible, with a minimum of rest between the group sets and none at all between the individual exercises that make them up.  Great things do happen to your arms when you work this way about three times a week.  In my own case, I usually train the arms on my shoulder day and this works out very well.

Give the flushing methods a real try, on your choice of favorite exercises and I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised.  Until the next issue, happy muscle flushing!

THE ARM FORUM #3

Here RICHARD PRUMER shows two views of his fine arm development. A very high biceps but I think you’ll agree ALL of his arm merits praise!

I first noticed RICHARD PRUMER at the Mr. South Florida contest and for a good reason!  He certainly had the finest arm in the show and one of the highest peaked BULKY biceps I’ve ever seen.  I learned he won the Mr. Carolinas title in 1966 and is currently in the Air Force.  At twenty-two his enthusiasm is high enough that he can still train hard, and he does.  

Usually, Prumer manages four sessions per week.  If he’s getting ready for a contest he pushes that up to six a week.  On his four day schedule, two days are devoted to legs, chest and triceps.  The remaining two cover the shoulder, back, forearms and biceps:  waist work is done every day.  Though Richard is well developed all over we’re particularly interested in the very fine arms, so let’s take a look at his arm favorites.

TRICEPS

 
 

Lying Triceps Ext
Lat Machine Pushdown
Dips with Weight

5 sets, 8-10 reps
5 sets, 8-10 reps
5 sets, 8-10 reps

BICEPS

 
  Gironda DB Curls
Incline DB Curls
Lying Concentration
DB Curl on Incline

5 sets, 6-8 reps
5 sets, 6-8 reps

5 sets, 6-8 reps

FOREARMS

 
  Regular Wrist Curls
Reverse Wrist Curls
3 sets of 20 reps
3 sets of 20 reps

Richard is a believer in very strict form for all his arm work and concentration rigidly, as well.  He couples that with medium speed for his training.  A big protein eater, he also eats at least one pound of cottage cheese everyday.

One hundred and ninety pounds, 18 ¼” arms, 15” forearms (both taken cold) - these are the vital statistics for Richard Prumer.  He has steadily worked his way up to the point where his arms are tops in any company.  We’re pleased to salute him in this column and predict you’ll be seeing much more of him, in the future

THE ARM FORUM #4

ROGER SERVIN displays the   fine arm he has attained using   the “comfortable approach” to training.  It is more than 17” despite small bones

Many bodybuilders train hard and for long enough to be handling the same poundages in their arm exercises as the top men.  Why don’t they get the same results?  Differences in basic body types must be considered, but I still think an important point is concentration on the movements used.  I have always emphasized this in discussing arm programs and there is plenty of evidence to back me up. 

One of the exponents of the ‘get the feeling’ school of bodybuilding is ROGER SERVIN.  Starting with a very small frame, bad health and tiny bones, he had to work hard for results.  He finally became Mr. Pennsylvania, a cover man and placed high in more than one Mr. A.  For many years, he thought that straining with heavy weights was the route to a great physique.  He continued to push his exercising poundages higher, was an active lifter and really STRAINED to achieve gains.  Finally, recurring injuries and strains in many body parts slowed him down and forced a change. 

For the past half dozen years, Servin has reversed himself, training comfortably; he has made a point of finding the most pleasant movement to use for each purpose.  He has then used those exercises in a careful manner – moderate weights, extremely correct performance and, above all, concentration. 

His goal has not been exhaustion but the ‘feel’ of each repetition and the amount of pump they caused.  Results on his arms have been greatly increased since adopting this pattern, even though he is an older man who should progress slower. 

When Roger was training at the Sandy Surf a few years ago, I noticed that his workouts seemed so enjoyable it was almost a sin.

TRICEPS (30 minutes)

 

Lying extensions to forehead
Barbell extensions standing
Dbell extension lying, across body
Dips

5 sets, 8 reps with 85-lbs. 5 sets, 8 reps for 65-lbs.
5 sets, 10 reps with 30-lbs.
2 sets of 15 reps

BICEPS (30 minutes)

 
  Barbell curls
Alt. DB curl seated

Concentration DB curls
Forearm curls

5 sets, 8 reps with 85-lbs.
5 sets, 8 reps with 30-50 lbs.
5 sets, 10 reps with 30 lbs.
6 sets, 20 reps

Phil trained fast and used the one minute rest between sets and exercises.  At the contest, he displayed a peaked biceps, real horseshoe triceps and an excellent balance to his arm.  With his incredible cuts, it was very impressive.  By the way, he placed third in Best Chest and fourth in the Best Back divisions.  If PHIL ZIMMERMAN could do so well on this routine, maybe it will be worth a try for you.
YOU CAN BENCH PRESS

400-POUNDS

1.             FIRST YEAR – FIRST PERIOD (3-months)

Take a weight you can handle fairly easy for 12 repetitions and perform 10 sets.  Each week add 5 pounds to your previous weight.  If you find that after awhile you can not continue to add weight, stay at the present weight you are using until you can perform the 12 repetitions – 10 sets. 

                FIRST YEAR – SECOND PERIOD (3-months)

Take a weight you can handle 8 repetitions and perform 10 sets.  Same proven theory applies if you get stale.  Stay at that weight until you master it. 

                FIRST YEAR – THIRD PERIOD (3-months)

Take a weight you can handle 5 repetitions and perform 12 sets.

                 FIRST YEAR – FOURTH PERIOD (3-months)

Take a weight you can handle 3 repetitions and perform 15 sets. At this point of  your training, you should be Bench Pressing in the neighborhood of 265 pounds,  no matter what your body weight.  Of course, a heavier muscled person will Bench Press proportionally more. 

2.             SECOND YEAR – FIRST PERIOD (3-month)

Take a weight you can handle 8 repetitions and perform 12 sets.  Be sure to fight that last repetition out.               

  SECOND YEAR – SECOND PERIOD (3-months)

Take a weight you can handle 6 repetitions and perform 12 sets.

                 SECOND YEAR – THIRD PERIOD (3-months)

Take a weight you can handle 5 repetitions and perform 12 sets.

                 SECOND YEAR – FOURTH PERIOD (3-months)

Take a weight you can handle 3 repetitions and perform 15 sets. At this point if you must arch, you are permitted, due to the fact that you will be up in the poundages.  At this point of your training you should be Bench Pressing in the neighborhood of 350 pounds.

 In this upcoming third year every month try for a new PR bench once or twice.

3.             THIRD YEAR – FIRST PERIOD (3-months)

Take a weight you can handle 5 repetitions and perform 12 sets.  Remember! Don’t miss a workout and squeeze out that last rep.

THIRD YEAR – SECOND PERIOD (3-months)

Take a weight you can handle 3 repetitions and perform 15 sets.

                 THIRD YEAR – THIRD PERIOD (3-months)

Take a weight you can handle 4 repetitions and perform 15 sets for the first month and a half period and for the remainder of the period perform 2 repetitions 10 sets. 

                THIRD YEAR – FOURTH PERIOD (3-months)

In this period try your record every week.

1st month  3 repetitions 10 sets
2nd month 2 repetitions 12 sets
3rd month 1 repetition  13 sets

After this three year period of specialization on the Bench Press you should be Bench Pressing 400 pounds providing you never missed a workout and trained religiously to your program.  Where it took some of the great power-bodybuilders of decades past ten and fifteen years to make this fantastic feat, your time will be less than 1/3 due to modern equipment and scientific training methods. 

***Note - There was no mention within this bench press program with regard to Training Frequency (X per week to workout), Rest Intervals between Sets or Weight Jump Factors from one set to the next.    

Here’s what I did.  I would train on the above program first in my upper body workout on Monday and Friday.  I’d warm-up with 135-pounds then jump to the maximum (fixed) poundage I could use to complete the assigned number of reps and sets required for each of the training days per week during a particular period.  My rest intervals were about 5 minutes between each set. 

Upon completion of the fourth period in the first year of training (1965) using this bench press program I was right on target benching 265-pounds.  Sad to say I never continued this program into its second year because I moved to Miami, Florida and began a different workout protocol under the supervision of my bodybuilding mentor, Donne Hale.

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