Sunday, August 13, 2017

Trimming Down - John McCallum (1968)

Originally Published in This Issue (February 1968)

Trimming Down
by John McCallum (1968) 

If you're training hard and eating well it's easy to slip on a few pounds of excess fat. The trouble is that fat's an insidious substance. It creeps up so gradually you're never really aware of it. One day, though, you may find you've accumulated enough blubber to mar the physique you're working so hard to perfect. 

At this point, the smart thing to do is trim off the excess lard, get into fairly hard condition, and then start bulking up again. This is the procedure followed by a lot of physique champions.

Some trainees are reluctant to trim down even on a temporary basis. I've know men who'd pack around fifty pounds of pure fat just to look bulky. My daughter's boyfriend was like that.

I started Marvin on weights a couple of years ago on a bet. It was a mistake. He got to like it. Marvin's training methods are as simple as he is. He went from a skinny nut to a bulky nut in nothing flat by squatting three times a week and eating everything that didn't bite back.

Marvin avoids work like the bubonic plague. His only other recreation is the beach. He walks around with his chest stuck out, eats hamburgers, and kicks sand in everyone's face.

A few months ago I talked him into trimming down.

He'd been to a show with my daughter. They walked in and he flopped on the coach. She bustled around in the kitchen and brought him back a plateful of sandwiches and a king-size Coke.

He bit off half a sandwich and washed it down with Coke. I put down the book I was reading and gave him a cold look.

"You know, Marvin," I said. "There's a lot of restaurants in town."

He pushed the other half of the sandwich into his mouth and licked his fingers. "Who needs them, Dad?" He swished Coke through his teeth and swallowed like the last of the water going down the bathtub drain. 

"Marvin," I said. "It seems to me that when you take my little girl out for an evening the least you could do is feed her in a nice restaurant once in a while."

"Man," he said. "You know that cafe society ain't my bag."


"I'm the domestic type," he said. "A stay-at-home."

"Stay-at-home?" I snarled. "I wish to goodness you'd stay at your own home once in a while."

"Leave him alone, Daddy," my daughter snapped. "Marv likes home cooking."

"Home cooking!" I said. "You could parbroil slops for a Hudson Bay dog team and that nut'd eat it."

Marvin ate another sandwich with an air of studied indifference.

"Did you have anything to eat at the show?" I asked him.

"Of course not."

"Marvin!" my daughter said.

"Some popcorn," he admitted. "Just to take up the slack."

"How much?"

"How much what?"

"How much popcorn?"

"Three boxes," he said. "And a chocolate bar."

I rolled my eyes towards the ceiling.

"And a Coke," he added.

"Marvin," I shouted. "You ate enough junk in that show to last you six months. You need that snack like another hole in your head."

He looked pained. "Man," he said. "I'm a lifter, like. You know, the body beautiful."

"You're a fat slob." I said.

He opened his mouth to protest but I cut him off. "Furthermore, I'm getting sick of watching you sit here and feed your face every night. My grocery bill looks like a ransom note."

He picked up another sandwich and bit into it. "Try not to think about it, Dad."

I gritted my teeth at him. "Marvin," I said. "I'm thinking of one thing only. You got to go on a diet."

He dropped the sandwich and blinked at me. "Dad," he said. "You're putting me on."

"I mean it."

"But a diet, Dad? Like why?"

I knew this would be the tough part. I sat back and racked my brains like mad. "Mo," I said to my daughter. "Do you mind leaving the room for a minute? Marvin and I are going to have a little masculine talk."

She gave me a searching look. "You can talk in front of me."

"Mo," I said. "You know that dance you're going to next week?"

She nodded.

"Well," I said. "If you aren't out of here in two minutes you ain't going."

She got up. "I'm going."

"Good," I said. "I knew you'd listen to reason."

She left the room. I went over and sat on the couch beside Marvin. He looked nervous.

"Marvin," I said in my most fatherly tone. "You could be a very handsome young man, you know."

"I'm already handsome," he said.

I closed my eyes for a moment. "I don't mean facially, Marvin. I mean physically."

He gave me a blank stare.

"Yessir," I said. "You could have a real appealing physique with very little effort. And," I added, "it'd be well worth your while."

"It would?" he said. "Why?"

I winked at him and nudged him with my elbow. "The girls, Marvin," I said. "Girls."

His mouth fell open. "Girls?"

"Right," I said. I gave him a risque leer. "You know how the girls go for a muscleman."

He shook his head.

"Well they do," I said. "They to right outta their skulls."

He looked interested.

"Yessir," I said. "Only they don't like guys to be fat. They like the Mr. America type. You know - slim waist, lotsa definition, the whole bit."

He started to speak but I nailed it down before he could argue. "And, Marvin," I said. "With a little work at it you could have them pounding on your door."

He closed his mouth again.

"All you'd need to do," I said, "is trim down a few pounds. Cut a few inches off your gut. You're plenty big enough. All you need to do is sharpen up a bit."

He mulled it over. "What would I have to do?"

"Just follow a special diet," I said. "A definition diet."

"Definition diet?"

"Right. Follow it for two or three months and you'll be fighting the girls off."

His eyes opened wide. "Tell me about it."

"I'll do better than that, Marvin," I said. "I'll write it out for you." I went into the kitchen and brought back a pencil and paper. "Here." I wrote down a list of  foods. "The trick is to not eat anything on this list. You can eat all you want of anything else, but nothing that's on this list."

He studied the paper. "Nothing on the list, eh?"


"But anything else I want?"

"Right. Anything."

"That shouldn't be too tough."

"It's not," I said. It's easy. And a couple of months from now the girls will be lined up for blocks just to get a look at you."

He folded the paper and stuck it in his pocket. "I'll make it easy for them," he said.

Three days later Marvin walked in eating a Popsicle. I couldn't believe my eyes.

"Marvin," I screamed. "What's that?"

He blinked and stepped back. "It's a Popsicle, Dad."

"I know what it is," I said. "What are you doing eating it?"

"Man," he said. "Popsicles ain't on the list."

"What are you talking about?" I said. "I put candy down."

He broke into a triumphant grin. "But these ain't candy." He held it up like an exhibit. "You see, Dad, what they . . ."

I snatched it out of his hand and heaved it in the fireplace so hard it splattered on the hearth. "I know how they make them," I yelled. "They're candy and don't eat them."

During the next ten days I caught Marvin eating a bag of potato chips, a package of donuts, and an handful of chocolate eclairs because I hadn't put them on the list. I kept hounding him. Finally he got the idea and started dieting properly. He stayed on the diet two months.

He lost 21 pounds of pure fat while his muscles increased slightly. His waistline dropped from a soft 36 to a hard 31-1/2. His small waist and new definition made him look terrific and even I had to admit it.

"Marvin," I said. "You look really good."

"That's true, Dad." He flexed his abdominals and bounced his pecs.

"Marvin," I said. "Will you quit rippling when I'm talking to you?"

He spread his lats and admired himself in the mirror. "Amazing what Mother Nature can do," he murmured, "when she really strains."

I was beginning to think I'd made another mistake.

"Well," he said. "I'm off to the beach."

"Okay, Marvin," I said. "Have a nice time."

"Man," he gloated. "I will. Wait'll the girls see all this."

I let him get to the doorway. "Marvin!"

He looked back.

"Marvin," I said, "if I catch you running around on my little girl I'm going to punch your head in."

The definition diet is the modern way to trim off fat but stay big at the same time. You can lose fat and increase your muscle size while you're doing it. It's quick, effective, and painless. You can trim down to Mr. America condition and never know you're dieting.

Every trainee should trim down to moderately defined shape once or twice during the building up process. Hold your defined condition for a month or two and then start bulking up again from your new base. That way you'll stay fairly hard all the time, you'll avoid any skin stretching problems, and you'll end up with a much, much better build.

Keep up your running as outlined in the last issue. Next month I'll detail the definition diet for you. 


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Squat and Deadlift for Basic Body Power - Doug Hepburn (1954)

Doug Hepburn, One Arm Deadlift
Original Photo Courtesy of Jan Dellinger

Overall Body Power: Key to Weightlifting Success
by Doug Hepburn, as told to Charles A. Smith (1954)

Article Courtesy of LIAM TWEED. 

Just after I had won the world's heavyweight lifting championship in Stockholm last August, a famous American authority approached me, and among other things, asked me what I thought was the most important factor in lifting success. My reply consisted of two words: 


His expression clearly showed that he did not agree with me, so I went on to explain why I thought the development of sheer strength was important. 

Above and Below: Doug Hepburn

So far as I am concerned, the success or failure of a lifter depends solely on the amount of basic body power he is able to develop. Don't misunderstand me, I agree that technical lifting skill is important too, but I feel both I and Paul Anderson have proven that given enough basic body power any man, even with a crude style, can and WILL defeat a less strong yet more skilled opponent.

If you ask why John Davis managed to to so long without being beaten in International and National competitions, when there were men who had more basic body power than he . . . the answer is simple. It is because John Davis was that very rare combination of power and science. 

Davis realized early in his career that strength development shared at least equal importance with lifting skill, and used the Squat and Deadlift (I am informed) extensively. And I state without hesitation that if John had not used these two fundamental exercises he would never have raised the world total to the magnificent heights of 1063-1/4 pounds.

In the final analysis, lifting success depends on the power of the entire back and thighs; so the deep knee bend and the two hands or one hand deadlift are vitally essential to a lifter if he wants to get as strong as possible in these muscle areas. Even the bodybuilder has to rely on these movements for maximum muscularity development of legs and back, and as components of any weight gaining schedule. So no matter how you look at it, the facts are plain. Any serious lifter or bodybuilder who desires to perform at higher levels in the World of Weights must practice the Squat and Deadlift.

While this is not a bodybuilding article, but concerned only with the use of the squat, deadlift, and one arm deadlift for developing Olympic lifting strength, the physique contest entrant can use the information contained herein with great benefit. He will find that the act of supporting heavy poundages across the shoulders, or holding them in his hands, will not only build up the back and legs, but thicken the shoulder muscles and pack the grip with POWER.

Most readers know that I have always used the deep knee bend, a.k.a. the Squat. And whenever I had time I also specialized on the dead lift. 
Hepburn Deadlift booklet courtesy of Reuben Weaver.

My experience has been that one helped the other. If I increase my training poundage in the squat, the next time I went to the deadlift I found that it had improved too. The reason for this is not hard to figure out. Both movements influence the same muscle groups, and largest and most powerful in the human body.

In the squat, because of body angle strain comes on the back when a certain stage of recovering from the low position is reached - therefore any degree of strength gained through deadlifting is also power gained for the squat.

In the deadlift, the thighs have to handle a heavy poundage at the start when they are in "parallel position" - therefore the power built up with squatting is also power gained for deadlifting.

More proof in favor of these two body power builders and the way they improve your quick lifts can be provided through my own experiences. With little technique in cleaning and jerking I officially made many formidable lifts, in spite of my handicap and inability to properly assume and hold the most desirable lifting positions.


I had to rely on the power I gained from squats and deadlifts. I can go even further and instance men like Maurice Jones, Louis Abele, and Steve Stanko, who were all men of great strength and who all used these wonderful basic power movements.

Let's get on to some practical instruction. To get the utmost benefit from the two movements, they must be used in a position that closely resembles that of the quick (or other) lift you are attempting to improve. Suppose you are using the deep knee bend to pack your clean with power. Your feet should be placed in the same position used for cleaning, and the movement performed with as much 'snap' and speed as possible. You should aim to develop the same forceful drive and explosive power used in the clean.

You can, of course, place a thick board under your heels and drop down into a deeper position, thus working the muscles over a more complete range. This will also enable you to keep better balance, put more work on the thighs and less on the lower back; however, my personal recommendation is that you try and perform the squat as you do the clean: flat footed.

A system of progressive repetitions is best because it will enable you to use the maximum amount of weight suitable for developing great power. Start off with 5 sets of 3 reps, gradually adding a rep when you are able, until you are performing 5 sets of 5 reps. Then add 10 pounds, drop back down to 5 x 3, and work up to 5 x 5 again.

Here are tips for keeping your balance. Always face a wall when squatting and never look down at the floor when coming up with the weight, otherwise there is a tendency to tilt forward and a bad lower back strain will result. Keep your gaze fixed on an eye level spot on the wall, and remember that the position of your head controls your balance. Make sure you perform the exercise correctly.

There is a definite connection between strength in snatching and cleaning, and dead lift power, and I believe the latter can be used by the Olympic man to increase his quick lifts. This does not mean that just because a man can dead lift 700 pounds he should be able to clean 400. Some men are outstanding in the dead lift, just as others are outstanding in the clean, but it is hard to strike a proportion between two. However, it is worthy of note that both John Davis and Charles Rigoulot lifter great dead lift poundages, and both were outstanding cleaners. Others who share these abilities are Hermann Goerner and Paul Anderson.

Charles Rigoulot

Ernest Cadine 
1893 - 1978
In my opinion, the main advantage to dead lifting for Olympic Power development is PSYCHOLOGICAL, in that it develops not only physical strength but MENTAL POWER . . . a contempt for the heaviest poundages. You will have to agree that if you handle 500 or more pounds in the two hands dead lift, a 300 pound barbell is going to feel relatively light in your hands when pulling it off the floor at the commencement of the clean. [The one hand deadlift is also very effective in making a two handed lift feel 'light' in comparison.]

And herein lies the secret of using the two hands dead lift for cleaning and snatching strength. It is easy for you to grasp the important connection between the clean and the dead lift: when you observe that the hand placements of each are almost identical. For this purpose we are speaking of the two hands dead lift should be performed with your regular cleaning grip, the feet in the same position as in the clean, and pulled up with as much explosive force and at the same speed in the initial stages.

Position at the bar should be the same as the clean . . . back flat, shins up to the bar, eyes looking forward and head up. You can use the hook grip if this causes no discomfort, but it will be found that he actual practice of the exercise will strengthen the hands and fingers, a vital necessity when cleaning heavy poundages. It has been said that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. So if you can't hold a weight, you can't lift it. If you grip is weak, your back and thighs cannot be put to effective use.


One common mistake in dead lifting is to perform the exercise with the legs practically straight. Not only does this throw too much strain on the lower back, but it will not build muscular coordination. Remember that you are training for maximum muscular efficiency, therefore you must make sure not to use any movement that will defeat this purpose. In the clean the legs and back coordinate to tear the weight off the floor and the dead lift must be used in exactly the same manner . . . a drive with both legs and the back muscles.

Start off with 5 sets of 5 reps and gradually work up to 5 sets of 8, increasing the weight at this point and dropping down to 5 sets of 5 again. Start off the floor, just as in the first stages of the clean. Or, alternately, you can lower the bar to just above the ground, never letting the stress off the lower back, grip, and legs. In the last repetition of each set shrug the shoulders as high as you can before lowering the weight to the ground. 

It is not advisable use both he squat and the dead lift in the same workout. And it must always be remembered that these movements are not meant to take the place of any lift, but are assistance exercises. So first go through with your Olympic lift training routine, then use either the squat or the deadlift. 

You can alternate the squat and deadlift workout for workout, or else spend a definite period of not less than a week on each. If you prolong the use of either movement, train with it until you show signs of slowing up in poundage, the switch to the other exercise. Both the dead lift and the squat are extremely strenuous, and since your legs and back will already have had a good workout with the Olympic lifts, you will readily see why both should not be used in the same training period. Staleness can result if they are.

It isn't necessary to keep to the ordinary squat or dead lift. Vary both exercise forms, performing half squats, quarter squats, bench squats, and front squats. Vary the dead lift forms too, using the snatch grip spacing, clean hand spacing, taking the weight off of boxes to shorten the range of motion, or deadlifting while standing on a block to extend the range of motion. 

You are certain of one thing from the practice of using the squat and dead lift as Olympic lift assistance exercises - MORE POWER. If you already have the style, there's only one way you can increase your individual lifts and total, and that is by becoming stronger. Both the dead lift and the deep knee bend (and their variations) can give you that strength.



Thursday, August 10, 2017

Running - John McCallum (1968)

Originally Published in This Issue (January 1968)

by John McCallum (1967)

Vancouver is the third largest city in Canada. It’s nestled on the west coast about 25 miles north of the American border, with the blue Pacific on one side of it and snow capped mountains on the other. “Where else,” the natives say, “can you lie on the beach all morning and ski in the mountains half an hour later?”

The northern tip of the city consists of 1000 square acres of sylvan beauty. It’s called Stanley Park, and it draws people like a magnet. On a Sunday afternoon you can see everything from a busload of nuns feeding the monkeys to 300 hippies holding a love-in.

If you’re really lucky you might see, jogging along the 11 mile path that circles the park, a broad and bulky gentleman who is perhaps the best built, probably the best conditioned and certainly the most modest man of all time. His name is Maurice Jones. He stands about 5’8”, varies his weight at will between 205 and 235, and packs more pure muscle than any six people you’ll ever meet.

Maury, as he’s called, is a truly modest man. Getting his shirt off is like pulling teeth. Getting him in front of a camera is tougher than getting your old lady in front of a firing squad.

Maury is the finished product of sensible weight training. He’s a trained athlete in every sense of the term. His muscles are enormous, yet he carries himself with the grace and agility of a cat. He’s an all-around strongman, not a one lift specialist. He performs as well on a reverse curl as he does on a squat or a deadlift. He has superb health and unbelievable endurance. Someone once said that Maury can lift anything not nailed down. They should have added that he can also run up the side of a mountain with it. 

Maury’s in his middle fifties now, but he has the health, the strength, and the physique of a 21 year old superman. He has reached and maintained this level of physical excellence through the wise use of heavy weight training, a sensible diet, and mile after countless mile of outdoor running. 

Running plays a big part in Maury’s program. I asked him once if he thought so much running might hinder his bodybuilding progress.

“Not a bit,” he said. “It helps.”

Let me explain one thing first. This material is not for the beginner. It’s for the man who’s been training at least a year and has made a fair change in his level of bulk and power. It’s also for the man over forty regardless of his condition. If you’re in either of those groups, running could be the most important thing you’ll ever do.

To summarize, then:

If you’re a beginner, leave running alone for now. Carry on with basic bulk and power routines. If you’re an advanced trainee with some size, or if you’re over forty years old, work the following into your training. It’ll revolutionize the way you look and feel.

There’s an old saying that nothing is perfect. It’s true of most things and it’s true with weight training. Weights provide the quickest and best means to improve yourself physically. There’s no denying it. You can convert yourself from a scrawny bag of bones to an absolute superman by training sensibly with heavy weights. Weight training is so superior to every other form of exercise that comparisons become ridiculous. But weight training, good as it is, is not perfect and we might as well be honest and admit it.

Weight training, as most of us practice it, has three flaws. Generally speaking, and unless you work specifically for it, weight training

a.) doesn’t provide enough stimulation for your heart,
b.) doesn’t necessarily ensure crisp definition, and
c.) doesn’t, as a rule, build outstanding endurance.

While the plaster is still falling, I’ll explain what I mean by that.

a.) Weightlifting is not harmful to your heart. Quite the opposite, in fact. Heavy training strengthens your heart just as it strengthens all the other muscles in your body. Weightlifters have hearts far healthier than the general populace. 

But standard weight training, while good for your heart, doesn’t provide quite enough stimulation. Your heart is best stimulated and strengthened by light exercise of a rhythmical nature carried on uninterrupted for at least half an hour. Exercise of that type provides the cardio-vascular stimulation necessary for really outstanding heart health.

b.) Weight training doesn’t usually build really sharp definition unless you train deliberately for it. You can, if you wish, alter your training routines and go all out for definition. If you work hard enough you’ll probably end up fairly well defined. The trouble is, you’ll also end up so weak and dragged out it’s debatable if it’s worth it. Physique contestants who have to train deliberately for definition are a pretty weary bunch by the time the contest rolls around.

c.) Weightlifters, as a group, have far more endurance than the average man. But, here again, weight training doesn’t generally build the kind of endurance you could and should have. Like definition, you can go on a program of very high reps and build endurance, but it usually wipes out your musclebuilding progress. Endurance is developed by very high reps. You can’t do both effectively in your weight workouts.

The solution to these three problems is to supplement your weight training with exercise of an extended, rhythmical nature. This will strengthen your heart, improve your health, sharpen your definition, and increase your endurance without you having to make any alterations in your weight training or do anything to hinder your bodybuilding and strength training progress.

The best supplementary exercise, far and away the best, is light progressive running. Running will work wonders for you. It’ll improve your physique tremendously. It’ll put the finishing touches to your appearance, giving you that polished look. It isn’t generally known, but most of the top lifters include some running in their training. Bob Gajda is an ardent runner, Bill Pearl runs quarter mile sprints and Reg Park is known for his sprinting ability. The American, Russian and European weightlifting teams all run as a part of their training. 

I mentioned Maury Jones. Maury was, and still is, an avid runner. In his younger days he used to load barbell plates into a pack sack and run up the steep mountain trails around his home. 

If you’ve never done any running, start gradually. Use a roughly measured distance of about a quarter mile. Run at a nice easy pace. Don’t try for any speed records yet. If you can’t make a quarter mile, then keep practicing till you can. As soon as you can run one full quarter mile without collapsing, start building it up as follows.

Run one nice easy quarter-mile. Now, without stopping, walk the next quarter and get your breath back. Don’t dawdle. Walk along at a good pace.

When you finish walking the quarter, immediately run the next one. Don’t rest between laps. Jog around easy for the full lap and then walk another one.

Alternate the laps, running one and walking one, without any rest in between. Keep moving from the time you start till you finish the workout. 

Gradually build up the number of laps until you can do at least ten, five running and five walking, without stopping. When you can do that, you’re ready for the next advance.

Instead of running one lap, run a lap and a quarter for your first set. Then walk the remaining three-quarters of a lap to complete the circuit. Now drop back to the one lap running and one lap walking for the rest of the workout.

As soon as you can, do a lap and a quarter running and three-quarters of a lap walking for your second set, and then the third, then the fourth, and so on. When you can run a lap and a quarter for all your sets, do as follows:

Start running a lap and a half and walking a half lap for your first set. Then try it for your second set, then the third set and so on, until you’re running a lap and a half and walking half a lap for the whole workout.
For your next advance, build your running time to a lap and three quarters and reduce the walking to one-quarter lap.

Next, move it up to two full laps running and go back to a full lap walking. Then move it up as before. Two and one-quarter laps running and three-quarters of a lap walking, two and a half laps running and half a lap walking, and so on. Build it up to three laps running and carry on as before. Then go to four laps, five laps, and so on. Deep at it until you can eight laps, or about two miles, at a nice steady pace.
As you increase the running and decrease the walking time, you can gradually reduce the number of sets. When you reach eight full laps running you should be down to one set only. Run the eight laps, walk one to cool off, and that’s it for the day.

Run at least two, and preferably three, days per week. If you’re lifting three days a week, run on the alternate days. You can run anytime of the day, early morning or midnight if you prefer, it doesn’t really matter. The whole thing will take less than an hour and you’ll never spend time more wisely.

Next month we'll discuss the definition diet. 

The Case for Running - John McCallum (1967)

Originally Published in This Issue (December 1967) 

Harry Williams, Jr. was born in England. He lived with his parents in a neat little cottage on the outskirts of London. He was five years old when World War Two broke out.

Harry's father enlisted in the Royal Navy the following day. He took the very excellent basic training that the British Navy gives to its recruits, kissed his wife and son goodbye, and went to convoy duty in the North Atlantic.

One cold night, early in 1941, his ship took a German torpedo below the waterline. She sank in eight minutes. The wing escort went back in the morning and found twenty-one survivors. Harry's father wasn't one of them.

Harry's mother was a small, dark-haired woman who wore glasses and argued with her husband only once in their married life. She insisted the baby be christened Harry, Jr. "That way," she said, "he's more likely to take after his father."

When the bombing started, she shipped Harry, Jr. off to live with her sister in the country and went to work in a shipyard. She stopped going to the air-raid shelter after they notified her of her husband's death.
Six months later a Junkers 88 laid a stick of bombs down the street and Harry, Jr. was an orphan.

Young Harry stayed with his aunt. When the was ended they moved to Canada. A Canadian rancher married the aunt and adopted Harry. The moved into central British Columbia, and Harry started his new life as a shy little boy surrounded by rolling green hills and more cattle than he had known existed.

Harry's adopted father was a big man who had done hard out-door work most of his life and who placed a lot of stress on physical toughness. He could shove a loaded grain sack overhead and felt sorry for anyone who couldn't. Strength, he figured, came from fresh air, hard work, and lots of good food. He had more sense than some weightlifters.

After six years on a wartime austerity diet, young Harry was a skinny little boy. He was short for his age, with a look of intense and brittle thinness about him.

Harry's new father was a sensitive man. He felt his son's appearance reflected his ability as a provider. He decided little Harry was going to fatten up. 

His methods were simple, direct, and successful. He put Harry on a program of progressive calisthenics and pushed steaks into him 'til even the cattle got nervous.

Milk, he figured, also had to be good. "It fattens calves," he said. "It should fatten up people."

So Harry did his exercises, ate enough meat for two grown men, and drank milk 'til he made sloshing noises when he walked, And gained weight.

When Harry was fourteen his father bought him a set of weights. They hammered together a bench and a squat rack and Harry started out to be a muscleman. There was no fancy equipment so Harry stuck close to the basic exercises and gradually increased the weight. He pressed and squatted and dead-lifted, ate meat, drank milk, and grew. He didn't know it, but he'd stumbled on to the secret of bulking up. At sixteen he was stronger than a fully grown man. At eighteen he weighed 220 and looked heftier than his father's cattle.

Harry got married when he was twenty-three and moved down to the coast. He wasn't trying to gain weight anymore, but he still liked training. He took short, heavy workouts three times a week. He stuck to the milk and the basic exercises, and gradually, pound by pound, his weight climbed upwards.

Harry was thirty-two when he decided to trim down. He came in to talk to me about it one day.

I was reading the paper when he walked in. "Good grief Harry," I said. "You get any bigger and I'll have to get the doorway widened." 

He smiled and sat down. The chair creaked.

"How's it going, Harry?" I said. "You still training?" 

"Yeah," he said. "I do a little." 

"Power stuff?" 


"You oughta branch out a bit," I said. "You're getting in a rut." 

He nodded. "I was thinking that." He shifted about in the chair.

"Don't thrash around," I said. "I can't afford new furniture." 

He grinned. "It's my weight that I was thinking about."

"Harry," I said. "Don't tell me you're finally getting concerned."

"Not me," he said. "It's my wife. She says I look like a fat slob."

"What do you weigh?"

"Two fifty-one."

"Well," I said. "She's got a point."

"What the hey," he said. "I never planned on being a jockey."

"Jockey?" I said. "Harry, you could gain ten pounds and pass for a horse."

He didn't answer.

"Anyway," I said. "It's not good for your health to pack around that much fat."

"I guess not," he said. "I can notice it."

"You can?"

"Yeah, I got no endurance at all."

"That's not good."

"I know," he said. "If I ran up a flight of stairs I wouldn't be able to walk back down again."

"Harry," I said. "I don't like to worry you, but you better get in better shape than that. One of these days they'll be packing you down the stairs.?

He shrugged. "I'm not worried about that, but I'd like to get in better shape." He looked down at his stomach. "I'd like to look a little better, too."


"I'm not really well defined," he said. "Am I?"

I thought he was kidding. "Harry," I said. "Let's be honest with each other. The average whale's got more definition than you got."

He laughed. "I'm strong, though."

"Sure," I said. "I know you're strong. But you could be just as strong and still look a heck of a lot better."

He looked interested. "I could?"

"Of course," I said. "And you could have a lot of endurance, too. It'd be better for your health."

He pursed his lips. "All I really wanted to do was trim my gut a bit."

"You can do that," I said. "And improve your health, definition, and endurance at the same time."

"That sounds tough," he said.

"Not really," I said. "It isn't easy, but you can do it if you want to."

"I dunno," he said. "I've tried starving before. I just got weaker."

"I'm not talking about starving," I said. "I mean modernizing your program."

"What's the secret?"

"There's no secret," I said. "Just work a few new wrinkles into your training."

"Like what?"

"Like a definition diet," I said. "And running."

He looked at me like I'd flipped. "Running?"

"Yeah. Running."

"Johnny Boy," he said. "You're putting me on."

"I'm not. A little running'd be the best thing in the world for you. It'd improve your health and endurance terrifically. And," I added, "it'd improve your appearance. You'd get rid of that big gut and show some muscle."

"But running, Johnny," he said. "That's not for weightlifters."

"Sure it is," I said. Running and weightlifting go together like ham and eggs. It's just that some lifters haven't accepted it yet."

We argued for another twenty minutes. He had every excuse in the book and then some, but I finally talked him into trying it.

We met at the track the next night. Harry wore lifting boots, a York sweat suit, and a long face.

"I hope nobody sees us. They'll think I'm some kind of a nut galloping around."

"They'll think you're King Farouk galloping around," I said. "I hope the S.P.C.A. don't see us. They'll move you down to the horse track."

We started jogging around the track. Harry complained every foot of the way. After 200 feet he quit complaining and just concentrated on breathing.

Halfway around he slowed up.

"Keep going!" I said. "You're not even warm yet."

We finished the lap. Harry staggered off the track and collapsed on the grass.

"e on," I said. "You can't be beat up already."

"Go away," he gasped. "Somebody'll bury me in the morning."

He rested for ten minutes and we tried it again. He only made half a lap the second time. He weaved off the track and flopped on the grass again.

"Man," he said. "I don't look exactly like a track star, do I?"

"Track star?" I said. "You look like a sick walrus. You're in horrible shape."

He sat up and wiped sweat off his face. "I think you're right," he said. "What do I do?"

I put Harry on a definition diet and told him how to build up his running. He stayed on his regular weight program but he followed the diet faithfully and he ran three evenings a week. After two weeks he could run a lap without much trouble and at the end of three months he was knocking off two miles at a good clip.

His health and endurance improved beyond belief. He looked different and felt different.

His appearance changed, too. He looked like a new man. He lost 28 pounds of pure fat. His waist came down from 41 to 34, and his hips from 45 to 41-1/2. The only other loss was some fat off his face and the top part of his thighs. His other measurements and lifts all improved, his calves went up a full inch, and for the first time in his life he showed some definition.

"What do you think now?" I asked him.

"Man," he said. "This is the greatest."

"You're convinced?"

"I'm convinced."

Running can do as much or more for you. Coupled with a definition diet it'll make a tremendous change in the way you look and feel. If you're carrying excess flab, if your waist and hips aren't as trim as you'd like them, then running and a sensible diet can be the answer to your prayers.

Start doing a little jogging around on your off days just to get used to it. Next month we'll go into running in detail.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Combination Work for Mighty Arms - John C. Grimek (1960)

Originally Published in This Issue (December 1960)


Combination Work for Mighty Arms
by John C. Grimek (1960) 

Ever since I began answering problems relating to training, I noticed that the one problem that the bodybuilder never loses any interest in is the arms. Questions relating to this part of the body are always plentiful. It seems everyone is interested in acquiring a pair of bigger and stronger arms. In fact, it seems to be a foregone conclusion that the desire to obtain stronger and mightier arms has been responsible to many fellows taking up weight training when young. 

On the other hand, the seasoned men, many of whom have used weights for years, still continue to place emphasis on the movements that work the arms. And though a large percentage of these men have achieved heavier and stronger arms, there are always a few failures or dissatisfied participants who can't seem to make the grade . . . and in the bodybuilding field there are always a few of these.

Those who have failed in their quest to obtain stronger and bigger arms invariably feel that they are not doing the right exercises or, perhaps, not following the right training method. Others are enveloped with the thought that there must be some kind of secret involved and feel that those who possess such knowledge refuse to reveal it or share it with others. 

This, of course, is erroneous at least where Strength & Health magazine is concerned. Strength & Health has always featured the best training programs of all the outstanding men in the bodybuilding and weightlifting field. These men have, as past issues of this magazine will prove, revealed their most inner training secrets. I know this to be a fact, judging from the large number of letters I get from those who have improved by the sensible advice we offer in these pages . . . and that is proof enough for us! 

For the record, however, I personally will concede the point that there is a kind of secret involved, but tit's not a closed secret as those who failed to register improvement might think. This secret is nothing more than selecting for use the right exercises that will activate the muscles which you are trying to develop . . . and then training sensibly and with some degree of regularity. This, however, doesn't mean that you should overtrain or start using excessive sets of each exercise, which is what some inexperienced fellows are apt to do when they reach the stage of arrested improvement. And often, even after they follow a stepped-up version of their training program in hopes of overcoming their sticking point, they are more disgusted when they fail in their efforts. So obviously multiple sets are not the answer. 

Another common error many bodybuilders make in trying to develop bigger arms is to follow an arm specializing program long before their muscles are capable of handling it. On top of that they tend to direct all their efforts towards developing only the biceps part of the arm, ignoring the obvious fact that the triceps make up the largest part of the arms and should not be neglected if maximum size is desired.

Combination training for developing the arms consists of a variety of exercises, including several movements for the shoulders and forearms which tie in directly with arm development. It is very possible that the combination of arm, shoulder and forearm exercises proposed here might solve any arm developing problem you might have.

As a matter of interest, when I first mentioned (some twenty years ago) the importance of combining forearm and shoulder training for combining maximum arm development, I was besieged with hundreds of letters for more details. Almost everyone accepted this theory, but one self-styled authority (who has since given up participating in the iron game) inferred that this was merely a personal and untried theory. He ignored the results that I had obtained from its use, and years later when many others began to use this method of training and got good results, others sought to claim the credit for this success.

The credit, I'm inclined to think, is due to the manner in which the fellows do their training, which includes more exercises and a greater variety for arm development. Of course, the real credit should go to the late Alan Calvert who hinted about this in his book Super Strength, published in the early 1920s.


In those days bodybuilders had their problems, too, and I was among that lot.  

An Early Photo of John Grimek

John Grimek, far right kneeling
South River, N.J. 1933

Unfortunately, there was no one to turn to for training advice then, and those who possessed such knowledge were either too busy or else guarded the secret and sold you a training course. This left the confused bodybuilder all the more confused and to search for the answers to the best of his ability. 

When I first reached my sticking point I was determined to learn the reasons. My arms at this time measured 15.25 inches and refused to grow no matter which method of training or exercises I employed. This left me with no alternative but to figure things out from the bottom. 

I started by getting a complete anatomical book (hint, hint) with the purpose of acquainting myself with how the muscles worked, and the best way to work them. From this study I was able to deduce the type of work needed to exercise the muscles and then use them to advantage in my training. 

I remember the big surprise I got when my arms increased to 16.5 inches within six weeks of this training. But, I also remember that the next half inch took me almost twice as long to gain, and after that it was even a slower grind. But muscles tend to grow faster when they are first trained properly, then begin to slow down and show improvement very gradually. So don't expect to show improvement as you do at first. Many things are involved in the process and all individuals vary in this connection. So be contented to make progress however slow . . . just so some progress is being made.

There are other factors which have helped the American bodybuilder to develop larger and more impressive arms. Fellows today aren't afraid to train hard, as they were some years ago. In the past most fellows who trained with weights were afraid of developing their muscles to the extent of becoming musclebound, a mythical condition that had plagued all those who ever touched a barbell. But in all the years that weight training and weightlifting have been known, never once was there any proof that sensible weight training has had any adverse effects upon the body or the muscles. And in recent years everyone is familiar with the knowledge how many a star athlete became a better athlete because he employed weight training. 

Of course the modern approach to body developing is to include an ample supply of high grade protein along with properly directed exercises. This combination has resulted in better physiques and huskier looking arms, especially when training for the forearms and deltoids were included in an arm training program.

Though I am not impressed by measurements, I feel a word about measurements might be proper here. Measurements are important to any novice who is following a weight training program. They can indicate his physical progress. But to the more experienced man whose measurements have improved, measurements are useless. Moreover, it's always difficult to determine which measurements are honest and those which are exaggerated. Most of the measurements today are grossly exaggerated and have no factual basis, and so must be taken as such. 

The bodybuilder should strive for an appealing combination of muscular bulk and shape . . . letting the girth part take care of itself. But if you want to take an honest set of measurements, try taking them as son as you get out of bed in the morning. There will be considerable difference from those taken at this time and those you take after a workout . . . as you will learn. 

In preparation for the 1949 Mr. USA contest I followed a training program for my arms similar to what I am revealing here, using this program after my regular training. I managed to acquire massive arms for this event and did win the competition. 

 Bert Goodrich, John Grimek (Mr. USA 1949)

However, I do not know what they measured at this time, but probably as large as they ever were. I didn't experience any trouble in bulking them up. But a glance at the photos used here will show that my deltoids and forearms also got heavier. I also admit I trained vigorously at this time, but I knew my capacity and avoided any overtraining. This is the point which most bodybuilders are unable to determine for themselves, consequently they are apt to do too much or not enough, and this can hinder progress.

The key to super arm development, in my opinion, is to exercise the entire arm assembly: the biceps, triceps, shoulders, and forearms. Keep in mind, of course, that the biceps are not only fastened in the crook of the arm, but the tendons run deep and long into the forearms. And the same thing happens at the shoulder where they insert and attach to the scapulae. 

The triceps also has a similar long-range attachment, which pointedly proves the necessity of working the forearm and deltoid muscles with as much gusto as you would the biceps or triceps. If you have any doubts, consult any good anatomical chart and trace these muscles (anatomy book, second hint). Seek out their starting place and follow it to where they merge and you'll have a clearer idea of how they function and how then can be exercised to advantage.

Below is a training program that should prove effective for arm development: 

Combination Arm Routine
(Performed after regular training for the rest of the body has been completed)

Two Hands Curl 8-10 reps
Two Hands Press 8-10
Two Hands DB Lateral Raise 10-12
Two Hands Alternate DB Curl 8-10
Two Hands Alternate DB Press 8-10
Two Hands Barbell Row 8-10
Alternate DB Forward Raise 10-12
Barbell Wrist Curl 10-12
One Arm Concentration Curl 6-8
Incline Bench Barbell Curl 6-8
One Arm Press 6-8
Wrist Roller - 3 times each way.

If you work hard on each of these exercises with appropriate weight, there is no need to repeat any of them in 'set' form. Of course there are other exercises that are equally as good, some of which you may want to substitute for those I have listed. But don't keep adding more and more exercises to those already listed unless you are capable of doing them without exhausting yourself. One plan is to use them alternately thereby breaking up the monotony.

Use a poundage in each exercise that will tax and put a little strain on the muscles by the time you complete the required amount of repetitions. But avoid a weight that causes you to strain from the start. 

Exercise 9, 10, and 11 (the three done for 6-8 reps) are best done with heavier weights to work the muscles for more power. They also help to force a thorough contraction, but only when enough repetitions have been done previously.

The One Arm Press does not have to be done in strict military fashion; instead, allow the body to bend towards one side as the weight is pushed up. When limit poundages are used it affects the shoulders AND triceps very strongly.

Repeat the windup on the wrist roller as many times as you feel you can, but try to concentrate on accomplishing three repetitions each way - winding it away from you, and then winding it towards you. Be sure the action comes from your wrists and not from your body or shoulders, otherwise the exercise loses its effectiveness. 

If you find this group of exercises too much for you to do when you first begin, include only those which you feel are important to you. Then add the others as you feel the need and ability to handle additional training. In this way you can be assured of steady progress and show better arm development than you ever dreamed possible. 

Ottley Coulter, John Grimek

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Pros and Cons of Definition - John McCallum (1967)

Originally Published in This Issue (November 1967)

Last month we talked about three neglected weapons in the bodybuilder's arsenal. These are: 
(a) good health,
(b) endurance, and
(c) definition.
We touched very briefly on health and endurance. 
This month we're going to discuss definition. We'll try to clear up any misconceptions you may have about it. And finally we're going to show you how to work good health, endurance, and definition into your training programs.
First of all, let's concede and agree on one thing - that definition is a necessary quality if you're going to compete in physique contests. It's a must if you want to look your very, very best. Nobody ever won a physique contest without at least a little definition.
For example: 
Doug Hepburn was a fine competitive lifter. He was one of the strongest men who ever lived. He smashed world records. He was a world champion. He also packed more bulk per inch of height than Boulder Dam.
Someone said that Hepburn walked through a zoo once and the bull gorilla ran and hid.
Hepburn entered a physique contest many years ago. He was a lot younger and lighter than when he did his best lifting, but even then his muscles were an incredible size. 
 It was the first time I'd seen Hepburn stripped. I couldn't believe it. He looked like two Grimeks. Two smooth Grimeks. 

I was sitting in the audience with a real authority on physique contests. I nudged him and pointed to Hepburn. 
"What do you think?" I asked him.
"Jeez," he whispered. "He's enormous. Who is he?"
"Name's Hepburn," I said. "Supposed to be real strong." 
"He looks it." 
"How do you think he'll make out?" 
He studied Hepburn for a while. He shook his head. "Nowhere, I'm afraid." 
"How do you figure that?" I said. "He's got arms bigger than anybody else's legs." 
"Don't matter," he said.
I took another look at Hepburn. "Why?" 
"No definition," he said. "He's gonna lose." 
"I can't see that. Look at the size of him." 
He shook his head again. "Don't matter. He's gonna lose." 
I settled back in my seat. "Okay," I said. "But I'd hate to be the guy that has to tell him."
Hepburn had everything going for him that night. He was popular with the audience. He was strong. He was shapely. He had more muscle than the rest of the contestants put together. But he had no definition and so he went home without a trophy.
The point of the whole thing is that if a man like Hepburn couldn't make it in the physique business without definition, then you probably can't either. Just being big and strong and shapely is fine. You'll look good, have a lot of fun, certainly nobody'll criticize you for it. But you won't win any muscle contests that way. If you plan to enter contests, then plan to develop at least a little definition.
Before we get on to developing definition, there's one important thing to remember. If your muscles are big and shapely enough, then you don't need too much definition. You don't have to look like a skinned rabbit. You don't want your muscles buried under a foot-thick layer of flab, but at the same time you don't want to look like an exhibit from medical school.
Some men put far too much emphasis on definition. Some of the contestants in minor contests get by with a lot of definition and not too much else. The really top men, however, reach their position because of the size and shape of their muscles. They're reasonably well defined, of course, but definition isn't all they've got.  

A few men get carried away with definition to the exclusion of everything else. Some of them look like their veins are on the outside. That isn't necessary. It's doubtful if extreme definition is advisable from the standpoint of your appearance. It's certainly not advisable from the standpoint of your health. 

Let's stop here and explain one point. When I say "extreme" definition, I mean "extreme." I'm not talking about a normal degree of definition where the muscles stand out nice and clean and well rounded. By extreme, I mean the type that looks as though the skin had been stripped off. Where the face looks haggard and there's big dark circles under the eyes. Where the neck is as gaunt as your sick grandmother's, and the muscles and veins are as stringy and twisted and gnarled as the roots of an old tree. 

Training for that type of definition isn't conducive to large muscles. Extreme definition is developed by a different type of training and a greatly restricted diet. Big muscles need power training and a very full diet. You can't do both at the same time. There's no use kidding you. If you want extreme definition in the sense I'm talking about, then be prepared to sacrifice a lot of impressive muscular bulk.

Men that train for and attain extreme definition are usually disappointing if you measure them or view them close up under normal lighting. Most of them aren't much bigger than the average man. They may look like chiseled granite under the posing lights, but dressed, or under normal lighting, they look like different people.

My neighbor's got a son named Wally. I took him to watch his first physique contest a few years ago. He'd been training about six months and he figured muscles were the greatest thing since running water.

We plunked ourselves in the front row and watched the curtain go up. Wally was so excited he was practically foaming at the mouth.
One of the contestants was a small man with extreme definition. He had a build like a basket full of rattlesnakes. He bounced under the overhead light when his turn came and writhed through every grotesque pose in the book. 
Wally was thunderstruck.
"He'll win, won't he?" he whispered to me.
"I don't know," I said. "Wait and see." 
The little guy wasn't even in the running and Wally figured it was the dirtiest deal since Nero touched off the Coliseum. 
They had a little get together after the contest. I took Wally along and introduced him to some of the contestants I knew. He met the little guy with the definition and you could feel his disappointment.
"Gee," he said to me after. "He's not very big, is he?" 
"No," I said. "Not really." 
He doesn't look much bigger than me." 
"He's not," I said.
"But on the stage," he said, "he looked like he was all muscle." 
"He is all muscle," said. "What there is of him." 
He looked puzzled.
"There isn't enough of him," I said. "His muscles aren't very big. He's really not that well developed." 
He wasn't satisfied. "But he looked so different," he said. "He looked big on the stage." 
"Wally," I said, "that was under special lighting. You could put a dead canary under those lights and it'd look like a Shetland pony. It don't mean a thing. You gotta see a guy up close to know if he's really good."  

There's another popular delusion about definition. A lot of people think extreme definition indicates a high degree of endurance. It doesn't. The opposite, in fact, is usually the case.
Developing extreme definition is a grinding, depleting ordeal. Most men who starve and slave for an abnormal degree of definition have less endurance than the average man on the street. They work themselves into the ground and end up with no energy at all and a nervous system as tightly strung as Pete Seeger's "E" string.  

Most of you can develop extreme definition if you want it badly enough. You can work out all day and half the night. You can reduce your strength. You can deprive yourself of half the good things in life. You can burn off every particle of subsurface fat if you really want to. But you're buying a pig in a poke. You're trading oak trees for acorns. And you're probably bringing your physical culture program to a complete and utter stop.

We've discussed a few of the bad things about extreme definition. Now let's take a look at the bright side of the picture. Let's talk about good definition. Good definition as distinguished from extreme definition.

Let me explain what I mean by good definition.

Good definition, in the sense I mean it, doesn't mean just getting rid of your subsurface fat. There's a lot more to it than that.

Lots of people have no fat at all but they aren't defined in the bodybuilding sense. I know people who've never trained in their lives. Some of them have less fat than a boiled carrot, but there's still no definition. Their limbs are as smooth as a piece of water pipe. Even fat lifters have more definition than that.

If you want a graphic example of the relative unimportance of subsurface fat to a good build, take a look at photos of the ultimate in man's inhumanity to man - the survivors of the Nazi concentration camps of the Second World War.
Those pitiful people, whose existence shocked and sickened the civilized world, had as little fat as a human being could have and still cling to life. They had, admittedly. very little muscular development but even the starving remnants of their muscular structure didn't show through the skin to any degree.
Good definition is affected by your subsurface fat. There's no doubt about that. But it's also affected by the size, shape, and condition of the muscles underneath. 
If you haven't got big shapely muscles, don't waste your time worrying about definition. Get the muscles first.
Big muscles require a lot of nourishment. I've seen top rank bodybuilders gulp down more meat at a single meal than a killer whale would eat in a week. If you want big muscles you've got to eat a diet that's rich and full and loaded with supplements. All the training in the world won't build big muscles unless you eat properly at the same time. 
If you train properly and hard enough, your appetite and assimilation will improve fantastically. A healthy lifter should be able to digest anything but broken glass. As you eat more and your muscles grow it's only natural to increase the amount of subsurface fat very slightly. This is a natural process. It'd be unusual if you didn't. This may or may not give you a very slightly smoother appearance temporarily. Don't worry about it if it does. You can train for and get good definition very quickly any time you want it. 

Developing good definition doesn't mean eliminating your subsurface fat completely. It simply means bringing it down to a normal level while still maintaining a lot of big, well rounded muscles underneath. Some fat is essential. It's essential to your health. It's essential to your nervous system. Just start starving yourself if you want a batch of jangled nerves in a hurry.

Developing good definition shouldn't be a grueling, exhausting process. It should be a normal, healthy, enjoyable part of your training regime. If training for definition makes you feel like you've been through the mixer, then you're either overdoing it or you're going about it the wrong way.

Next month we'll work the principles of good health, endurance, and definition into your training programs.



Squats . . . SQUATS and More Squats - Earle Liederman (1956)

Earle Liederman

Early Pehlwani Training Tools 

Article Taken From This Issue (August 1956)


Squats . . . SQUATS and More Squats
by Earle Liederman (1956) 

It's true that the weightless deep knee bends of the Hindu Wrestlers build an amazing endurance and leg development, but exactly how valuable are they?  Here's an interesting comparison between the early Indian training methods and the leg routines of our own bodybuilders to help you decide.

It was because of my meeting Al Baffert, who had just returned from India, that prompts me to offer a discourse on squats. Al wrestles under the nom de mat of Andre Adoree and is an International wrestler.

 Al Baffert.
On the Right. 

That is, he prefers to do his stuff in foreign lands. More money there, and greater appreciation for scientific wrestling. And being a heavyweight himself, he has met the best of them, not only in India, but in Japan as well, and when working in foreign circles he, of course, must wrestle according to the rules of the particular nation. 

Al was telling me about The Great Gama Baksh (above), who was undoubtedly the greatest wrestler that India ever produced. Gama is now about 75 years old, and what amazed me when Al made mention of him and his training is that Gama still does 2,000 squats daily! 

And I also learned that all the Indian wrestlers perform between 5,000 and 6,000 free squats every day. They retire at sunset and wake up at sunrise, are vegetarians, never smoke nor drink, and practically live a life of self denial and restrictions, all for the sake of wrestling. 

All those squats, naturally, supplied me with deep interest as it formed an indication of whence come those thick and well rounded powerful thighs which are possessed by those Indian wrestlers. It is obvious that squatting and squatting and more squatting is responsible for the thigh bulk, the endurance and the lung power, all which make the East Indian wrestlers the best in the world in their style.

It takes, them, however, from four to five hours to complete all those thousands of daily squats. They do them in sets of 50 or 100 and use no weights - just free erect squats with determined speed. At first thought, one might entertain a belief that too much squatting would have a tendency to tear down muscle tissue faster than it could be replenished, but proof is to the contrary when considering the results obtained by the Indian wrestlers. Your eyes must surely must focus twice upon their thick, rounded thighs, some of which have been shaped to enormous proportions. 

There have been some fellows in California who have adopted this Indian style of thigh training, and immediately entering my mind is one, Henry Lenz, who used to be an ordinarily built fellow until weight training improved him sufficiently so that he could enter physique contests. I believe he has won a few of these. Yet Henry's thighs were never huge. They were what might be termed ordinary, though not small. 

So, Henry decided to try the Indian multi-squat thigh training without resistance of any kind. Gradually he increased his sets of 50 until he was performing 1,000 free squats every day. The result was that his thighs became very large, reaching 26 or more inches around. But Henry's thighs did not take on that barbell look such as is formed from squats done under a heavy weight. 

In other words, Lenz's thighs became huge and had large sweeping curves, yet did not possess the muscle separation and shape a barbell trained man's thighs take on. I am not criticizing Henry Lenz, but simply stating the difference in results from training with weights as opposed to bodyweight leg training. I firmly believe the thighs of the East Indian wrestlers could become absolutely enormous if they were to utilize weight work in conjunction with their numerous free squats, but perhaps they do not wish such legs, and prefer to work for the required and essential endurance.

Anyway, it proves that a lot of squats must be done if anyone expects to obtain thick, well-shaped thighs, and, of course, greater lung power. The chest-box enlarges, you know, from continued squatting, as all leg work plays upon the respiratory system. 

Yet I deem it better to perform these squats while using a barbell that can be made heavier as the thighs quickly become stronger. Such progressive work cannot help but increase the size of the thighs; but, better yet, will supply the contour, the separation in the quadriceps, and save considerable time and effort for the bodybuilder. 

I have  continually advocated half-squats, and even one/third-squats as being best for better thigh shape, and this statement is based on many reasons. One of them is the fact that all Olympic lifters have splendidly large thighs. Few weightlifters use the squat during their cleans to shoulders, and if more and more may be adopting this squat style with the cleans, I am safe in saying these same fellow possessed extra fine thighs before they switched from their former style of split cleaning to the new squat style. 

In all of the three standard Olympic lifts, the thighs bend about one-third of the way, while a few may bend half of the way towards a full squat. This half-bend, or one/third-bend, whatever the case may be, supplies all the tension to the upper portion of the thighs and gradually develops more curve to that upper section. To continually squat into a full or complete movement will give more bulk directly above the knees. 

Of course, the full squats also work the whole quadriceps muscles, yet most of the effort seems to center directly over the knees in this full squat. Many fellows have wonderful thigh muscle right above their knees yet lack sufficient center-thigh curve to give them that outstanding look. Hence, I deem it wise to perform full, half, and one-third squats during each workout so as to work those quadriceps at various positions.   

And another boost for barbell squatting is that it saves much, much time; whereas 1,000 to 5,000 free squats occupies many hours. Also, as mentioned, barbell-built thighs, done with low reps and many sets, will give the enthusiastic worker much better shaped muscular thighs. All you need do is study the photographs of well developed bodybuilders to supply the answer. Also, observe the thighs of weightlifters for a second reply. 

Barbells will also place greater pressure upon the calves because of the heavy weights used while squatting, and consider the lower leg contractions made during heavy squatting. Of course, added work must be given the calves for higher levels of development. 

So, while I admire the thighs of the persevering Indian wrestlers, I cannot give such methods my personal recommendation unless endurance is all you wish to acquire. Barbell-built thighs are much more powerful than any thighs enlarged solely by the use of free squats. Proof of this may be had in all the 400, 500, and 600 pound squats being performed by bodybuilders here in America. I need not mention Paul Anderson's heavy squats or those of superman Doug Hepburn, for I'm sure you know of these feats already. 

The trouble with all training without weights is that one is liable to find easier ways of doing the movements. With a very heavy barbell, taken off the rack, there's no way of 'lightening' its weight once you place it on your back. The weight is the same throughout the whole process of squatting. A heavy squat will place severe strain on the thigh muscles as well as the hips and calves. And the back receives its fair share strain also, for no one can perform heavy squats without strengthening the back.

So, if you wish to try those Indian squats and gradually work up to five or six thousand a day, such is your privilege. You must, however, have a lot of time on your hands. I really believe that the time and energy required to work up to large numbers or free squats could produce much better results if directed toward heavy barbell squatting. 

I might add that I relate from some personal experience, for once upon a time I too was one of those free squatters, but it got me next to nowhere. But later on when I took up barbell squatting I noticed results in a very short while, using from 175 to 200 pounds during a workout, and in those days a 300 pound squat was considered a good one. Now, however, squat poundages have skyrocketed, along with levels of thigh development. 

Time changes, yet I doubt if there will ever be a change in the present method of heavy barbell squatting for rapid thigh improvement, unless it means the use of far heavier poundages. It would not surprise me to learn five years hence that a 500 pound squat is but a common leg movement . . . 

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