William Boone’s 1937 Training Program

Posted on Thursday, September 29th, 2016 by John Wood
William Boone’s 1937 Training Program
by Brooks Kubik
William Boone was a tremendously powerful lifter in the 1930’s and 40’s. He first achieved fame when reports were published of his astonishing gains on a program of heavy, high-rep squats, which he was inspired to follow after reading about what a similar schedule did for his Herculean contemporary, Joseph Curtis Hise. If memory serves correctly, Boone gained something like 80-100 pounds on the squat program.

William Boone
William Boone Training in his back yard

Boone eventually built up to a bent-press of close to 300 pounds … a deadlift of 700 or so … a partial dead lift of 900 pounds … and a jerk from the rack of 420 pounds, which certainly ranks him as one of the strongest men in the history of the world.

I believe that he made these lifts in the mid-to-late 40’s, or the very early 50’s. These achievements are all the more remarkable because Boone worked a very hard, hot, heavy job digging water wells in Louisiana and Texas.

According to Boone, one job digging wells on a ranch in Texas was so hot that the men had to drink 4 gallons of water per day just to keep from overheating under the scorching southwestern sun! …And yet, Boone often would work all day and THEN do his training!

Where did Boone train? In his backyard! He didn’t even have a garage or basement in which to train. He lifted huge weights standing on the grass or on a dirt surface.

So don’t let anyone tell you that you need to quit your job and lay around all day in order to make good gains …and don’t let anyone tell you that you need to train at some sort of super-duper training center jammed with all of the latest miracle machines.

Boone’s training was very unique. He always followed what I refer to as “abbreviated training programs.” A 1937 issue of Mark Berry’s little magazine, “Physical Training Notes,” contains a letter from Boone to Berry with the following update on Boone’s training.

The following information is from a period when Boone was building up to the really big lifts mentioned above:

I have been doing only three exercises, namely the Two Arm Press, Two Arm Curl, and the Deep Knee Bend…”

“Here is my last workout. I work only once a week on pressing and twice a week on squatting. Monday and Friday — D.K.B.’s (i.e. squats); Wednesday — pressing. My workouts average about an hour in length …”

“Wednesday: press –240 five times; 240 seven times; 250 four times; 260 three times; 270 twice; 275 once; then reduce the weight to 240 for four repetitions and again with two more presses; 212 pounds six times and then four times; 182 six and then four times. Then reverse curl twelve times with 136 pounds and regular curl 160 ten repetitions and then again twice.”

“My arms measure better than 18 inches now and I have hopes of pressing 250 pounds ten times and 300 pounds once.”

“Here is my last workout on the squat, which is also my best: once each with 405, 435, and 470; three times with 515; short rest; sixteen times with 400; short rest; eight times with 400. On October 21st I did my best, or rather highest, D.K.B. —
525 pounds.”

Yours in strength,

Brooks D. Kubik

The One-Arm Dumbbell Press

Posted on Thursday, September 29th, 2016 by John Wood
The One-Arm Dumbbell Press
by Brooks Kubik

Doug Hepburn, pressing a 160 pound dumbbell at Ed Yarick’s Gym (and certainly making it look easy.)

The one-arm dumbbell press was a favorite exercise of many great strongmen of the past, including two of the strongest ever: Doug Hepburn and Paul Anderson.
Some oldtimers were simply phenomenal at this lift.

To give you a famous example, Josef Grafl, the 286 pound strongman from Vienna, Austria, did 20 reps with his right hand and 17 reps with his left hand in the one dumbbell press with a 111 pound dumbbell — with his heels together!

This was in a contest back in 1913 and strength historian David Willoughby rated this particular performance as equal to a heels together 175 pound press with the right hand and a 166 pound press with the left hand.

Can you imagine the total body power it would take to handle that sort of weight in the one hand dumbbell press with the heels together?

Training for the one-arm dumbbell press not only hits the shoulders, triceps and upper-back, but also provides a very high level of work for the muscles of the sides, mid- section and lower back, especially if you do the exercise the hard way — standing, with the heels together.

Give it a try and see for yourself.  Sets and reps are up to you, but you might try four or five progressively heavier sets of five to eight reps for each arm.

Yours in strength,

Brooks D. Kubik

All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2018 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2018 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Beck’s Beer: The Real Story

Posted on Monday, August 29th, 2016 by John Wood
BECK’S BEER:
The REAL Story
HANS BECK was the winner of the second German weightlifting Championship in 1895, the third German Championship in 1897, and the European Championship in 1896.
Hans Beck

Standing but 66.5 inches, Beck weighed 242 pounds and was as rugged as they come. Beck was one of the first lifters to perform a continental clean and jerk with 300 German pounds (equal to 330 English or U.S. pounds), and eventually managed 374 (English) pounds in this style.

Among his most outstanding feats, however, were his barrel lifts.

On September 25, 1896, Beck manhandled an 18-3/4 gallon beer barrel that weighed 249 pounds. He PRESSED the barrel overhead not once, not twice, but THREE (!) times in succession.

Beck followed this feat by tackling a 21-3/8 gallon barrel, which weighed all of 275-1/2 pounds. Beck jerked this massive and unwieldy load overhead.

History does not record how much Pilsner Beer Beck consumed after his prodigious lifting, but I like to think that it was “lots.” I also like to think that they named Beck’s Beer after old Hans. Any lifter as strong as Hans Beck deserves to have a beer named after him!

Yours in strength,
Brooks Kubik signature
Brooks D. Kubik

P.S. For more information about the Lost Secrets of Strength and Development, just like Hans Beck used to use, you’ll want to grab a copy of my classic training book Dinosaur Training.

All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2018 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2018 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.