Roy Hilligenn – 1951 Mr. America

Posted on Sunday, November 27th, 2016 by John Wood
South African Roy Hilligenn, seen above on the cover of the September/October 1951 issue of Iron Man magazine was the AAU Mr. America that same year. Hilligen was a tremendous all-around “iron athlete” — As a bodybuilder, he won the Mr. South Africa title in 1943, 1944, 1946 and 1976 as well as Mr. Northern California (1949), Mr. Pacific Coast (1949), and The World’s Most Muscular Man (1952). Hilligenn was the shortest man to ever win the AAU Mr. America title (at 5’6″).

As an Olympic lifter, Hilligenn was the first South African to Clean and Jerk double body weight.

His lifts in 1946 were Press: 245 pounds, Snatch: 255 Pounds and Clean & Jerk: 321 pounds. In the early 1950’s, and weighing just 173 pounds, Hilligen unofficially equaled the world record in the Clean & Jerk with a lift of 375 pounds. He actually finished second in the 1951 National championships to Norbert Schemansky.

Hilligen eventually Clean & Jerked 405 at a slightly heavier body weight, which was an unofficial world record at the time. It was voted as one of the greatest “lifts” of all time. Hilligenn also “cleaned” a pair of 142-pound dumbbells (but did not press them) at Ed Yarick’s Gym in Oakland, California in the 50’s.

Interestingly, Roy Hilligenn was also a life-long vegetarian and claimed to have never eaten meat ever.

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 © 2005-2019 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 © 2005-2019 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.

Alyce Yarick’s Squatting Feat

Posted on Wednesday, July 27th, 2016 by John Wood

Here’s a strength feat you probably didn’t know about: Alyce Yarick, wife of Ed Yarick (of Yarick’s Gym fame) once performed 105 consecutive squats with 115 pounds — not many people can do that! This feat occurred at one of her husband’s variety shows.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 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 © 2005-2019 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.

Ed Yarick

Posted on Monday, April 18th, 2016 by John Wood

In addition to running one of the most popular gyms in the land, the 6’4″ Yarick won the tall class in the “Mr. Pacific Coast” bodybuilding contest and was also the coach of the 1952 National Jr. Weightlifting Team.

Yarick’s Gym was located at 3355 Foothill Blvd. in Oakland, California and was one of the centers of the strength world on the West coast. It was also where Steve reeves got his start and the training headquarters at various times of Roy Hilligenn, John Davis, Clancy Ross, Jack Delinger, Tommy Kono and Doug Hepburn (among others).

All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 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 © 2005-2019 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.

Doug Hepburn’s Dumbbell Press

Posted on Wednesday, November 27th, 2013 by John Wood
Doug Hepburn's Dumbbell Press

You know a guy is really strong when he can lift heavy dumbbells in the basic lifts. Here’s the great Doug Hepburn pressing a pair of 160(!) pound dumbbells (which were handed to him at the shoulders) at Ed Yarick’s Big Show.

Having to clean the dumbbells first is an altogether different lift although while training at Yarick’s Gym, Doug had previously strictly cleaned and pressed a pair of 142 pound dumbbells.

Unsurprisingly, Doug also set a new world record in the press that year with a 366-1/4 pound lift.

All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 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 © 2005-2019 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.