Giving Bob Hoffman a Lift

Posted on Thursday, November 29th, 2018 by John Wood
Sometimes Bob Hoffman had to call up the York Gang when he needed a lift… That’s Steve Stanko on the right and Stan Stanczyk on the left lifting an “MG” with Bob Hoffman sitting in the driver’s seat to give it a little more weight.

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.

Steve Stanko and The Hub Lift

Posted on Monday, October 29th, 2018 by John Wood
One of the classic classic grip feats was to pick up a York Deep-Dish 45 Pound barbell plate just by the hub, something weightlifting and bodybuilding champ Steve Stanko could do with ease, even with an added 10 pounds. Steve’s best on this feat was with over 90 pounds!

1938 World Weightlifting Championships – Heavyweight Winners

Posted on Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 by John Wood
A rare shot of the lineup of heavyweight winners at the 1938 World Weightlifting Championships held in Vienna (Which was then a part of Germany.) From left to right Josef Manger of Germany (410 kg. total), Steve Stanko of the United States (397.5 kg. total) and Arnold Luhaar of Estonia (390 kg. total).

The Complete Keys to Progress by John McCallum

Posted on Tuesday, November 29th, 2016 by John Wood
“…Whenever a new issue of Strength and Health Arrived in The Mailbox, They Always RIPPED open the envelope and turned to John McCallum’s article first!”
Back when Jimi Hendrix and the Doors were playing concerts, John McCallum’s “Keys to Progress” series helped pack more muscle on more people than all other articles combined… and now, five decades later, McCallum’s workouts will help you pack on muscle too!
Before there was this thing called “The Internet,” anyone who was serious about building size and strength got their training information from magazines… and the very best magazine to get solid training info from was Strength and Health, directly from The York Barbell Company in York, PA.

Strength and Health magazine always had good training articles but in the early 1960’s, a strength author by the name of John McCallum began a series entitled “Keys to Progress” …and it took off like wild fire.

It didn’t take long before trainees figured out that when they followed McCallum’s advice, they started getting results… When word got around, the first thing that everyone did when a new issue of Strength and Health arrived in the mailbox was to rip open the envelope and turn to the latest McCallum article to see what was in store that month… and McCallum certainly left no stone unturned. He covered all the important topics (keep reading to see what they were all about.)

McCallum’s articles weren’t just informative, but entertaining as well… and many of them set THE standard for how a strength article should be written. It was through these articles that thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people learned how to train (and I’m among them, my story is further on down the page.)

Now you too can read all of John McCallum’s
“Keys to Progress” articles in one place

If you happen to have all of the original issues from the 60’s and 70’s which contain all of John McCallum’s “Keys” articles, then you are one very fortunate individual… it is all but impossible to find these issues any more… and even if you could find them (which is highly unlikely) it would cost you a small fortune to get every issue.

Lucky for us though, every single one of of McCallum’s classic training articles have recently been combined into one volume and reprinted for a new generation to read and enjoy.

You can skip right to the chase and order your copy right now… Other wise, keep reading to find out why “Keys” is a must have… (especially in this day and age!)

If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have one strength book to read ‘THE COMPLETE KEYS TO PROGRESS’ should be it!

Now, you might be wondering… “So why were McCallum’s articles so popular?” …there are several reasons. One of them is his unique “style” of writing. Many of the Keys to Progress articles are more like stories and he’s got a memorable cast of characters:

Among them you’ll find the old gym owner (who bears a striking similarity to John McCallum), a guy who is trying to make the world a stronger place, one bodybuilder at a time…

Then there’s Marvin, a typical ’60s teenager looking to put on some size to impress the girls. (Marvin makes many of the same knucklehead mistakes that just about everyone has, which also puts a few more grey hairs on JM’s head, and the fact that Marvin is also dating his daughter doesn’t help)… There’s Ollie, JM’s best friend and running buddy who he likes to bounce ideas off of… and who could forget good old “Uncle Harry” who puts bodybuilders half his age to shame?

You’ll get to know these folks pretty well, in fact you’ll probably see parts of yourself in them too.

The other factor that makes John McCallum’s articles so effective is the subject matter. Unlike many of today’s strength “authors,” even if it ruffled a few feathers, McCallum was not afraid to pull any punches and tell it like it is… this solid dose of real training was certainly worth it though, an untold number of trainees finally start seeing results by following the workouts and advice in these articles.

McCallum also visited and corresponded with many of the most famous weight men of the time in order to find out the real scoop about how they trained. He learned a great deal from them and wasn’t shy about including his findings in his articles. If you want to know how many of the greats trained — how they REALLY trained — then you’ll find that type information on these pages:

You Won’t Find This Training
Information Anywhere Else!
How long should your workouts last? …It’s an age-old question that you’ll finally get the answer to on page 2… You’ll also find a good, basic weight gaining program for beginners and intermediates later on in the article

McCallum understood full well that one of the “secrets” to record breaking lifts was through harnessing the power of the human mind… You’ll read tips on fractional relaxation, auto-suggestion and self-hypnosis in his three articles on Concentration (and in several other articles as well)

How do you put on good, solid strength and size quickly? — Sure, lifting is a part of it, but so is getting in enough calories… You’ll receive the recipe and instructions for the “Get Big Drink” on page 15
What did a typical workout look like for three-time Mr. Universe contest winner Reg Park? McCallum was there and saw one with his own eyes… and it probably isn’t what you think… Read all about it in the “Training for Gaining” article starting on page 16

On Page 22, McCallum devotes an entire article to addressing one of the most important training secrets — one that just about everyone downplays or ignores

Building a bigger, stronger neck is important — especially if you play football — McCallum’s “Neck Specialization” article, which you can find starting on page 46, gives you seven basic exercises for filling out your collar

If there’s one area of training that just about every program is lacking in, it’s grip work… but the fact of the matter is that if you want to lift big weights, you’ve gotta have strong hands… Starting on page 49, you’ll find two articles devoted to increasing grip and forearm strength, along with an enlightening visit to Mac Batchelor’s pub!

Having trouble bulking up? You’ll want to try the “High-Protein, High-Set” Routine found on page 60… and don’t miss the “results” follow up article
What if you can’t squat? …there ARE other options… in fact, there’s an exercise that can do for the upper body what squats can do with the whole body and you can read all about how to work it into your program on page 68
Just because you lift weights does not mean you shouldn’t be in shape as well… A decade before before the”jogging boom” McCallum was urging strength athletes to hit the track to get their waistline in check. Find out his thoughts and recommendations on page 85
One of the most unique training programs that McCallum discussed in his articles was “P.H.A.” which was developed by 1966 Mr. American Bob Gajda… this routine is especially effective if you need more definition…you’ll read everything you need to know about PHA training starting on page 99
Looking to widen out? Try the “Back Work for Bulk” program on page 127… You’ll be in good company with this routine, these exercises were used with great success by Maurice Jones, Bill Pearl and Reg Park (among others)
If you want to build a big chest, you’ve got to enlarge your rib box…McCallum’s 4-part “For a Big Chest” series, which begins on page 131, outlines the specific exercises for making it happen
Not many people know about Hip Belt Squats but you can read all about them on pages 156-160… that includes details on setup, how to incorporate them and the other exercises that should be performed with them
Forget the store-bought stuff, if you need some more nutrients in your diet, you’ll want to read McCallum’s articles on baking muscle muffins and Vitamins… you’ll find more info starting on page 191
Training not going so great? There are some pretty predictable reasons why this may be and McCallum examines them in detail on pages 216-228
“The Case for the Breathing Squat” — one of the ALL-TIME greatest training articles — starts on page 259… the entire price of the book is worth it for this article alone

These points are, of course, just some of the items that I find of interest, there are many more that I didn’t mention… there’s a great deal of nutrition information and nearly every article also contains a workout of some kind so if you ever need a good one to try, you can flip to just about any page and find what you need.

One of the keys (pardon the pun) to successful training is having the right kind of information to guide you and keep you on point — with John McCallum’s “Keys to Progress” articles in hand, you’ll definitely get (and stay) on the right track.

If you were around when “The Keys to Progress” first hit the scene, this will be a nice trip down memory lane (and probably also serve as a reminder of some important points that may have fallen by the wayside)… but if you’ve never read any of McCallum’s stuff before, then you’re in for a real treat… You’ll enjoy reading them, learn more than you think, and most importantly, if “The Keys to Progress” articles don’t get you fired up to train, then nothing will!

Don’t waste another single second, order your copy right now to get started!

Order now!The Complete Keys to Progress by John McCallum
___________$19.99 plus s/h

John Grimek vs. The Cyr Dumbbell

Posted on Monday, June 15th, 2015 by John Wood

…Also, the Cyr dumbell we had was always a bone of contention. Men from all parts of the country came to see if they might get it overhead. It weighed “only” 202 pounds empty but it could be loaded with lead shot to over 270. We never loaded it over 269½ pounds, and even then it defied most men who tried it.

One time, Milo Steinborn and four or five other wrestlers stopped by on their way to Baltimore. Milo had Primo Carnera with him – truly an impressive individual. When Carnera shook hands you could feel your whole hand being swallowed by something that felt like an octopus. Because all the men were wrestling that evening none of them cared to train that afternoon, but most of the lifters kept on training. In the center of the gym was the awkward Cyr dumbbell that seemed to be in the way of everyone. Without thinking I picked it up off the floor and tossed it aside so it wouldn’t be in the way. I remembered the huge hands Carnera had when he shook my hand, and knew if anyone could handle this weight it was him. I called out to him to try it. He smiled as if to say, “that’s easy,” and no one would doubt him. he came over, very casually gripped the stubby handle and made a half-hearted attempt to lift it. A look of surprise came over his face as the weight slipped from his grip. I offered him some chalk to absorb the moisture of his hand. With some disdain, instead, he grabbed the handle and though he lifted it a little you could see that the weight was a great surprise to him.

I tried to explain that there was a slight technique to handle this weight. He just kept looking at me and the awkward hunk of iron mass that was defying him. I chalked up, especially the heel of my hand, gripped the weight and tossed it a few feet to one side. Carnera only growled. However, I feel sure that with his banana-like fingers he could have done things with that Cyr dumbbell that no one else could do. Others felt much the same way about this big man.

I must point out that many men who tried to lift the small clumsy dumbbell failed. This awkward hunk of iron required lots of practice before one learned the little details needed to be successful at lifting it. No one played around with this weight more than I did; and eventually I was the only one who lifted it off the floor to an overhead position using one and only when it weighed 254 pounds. Stanko was the first man who picked it up off the floor in one sweeping movement. Unfortunately, I do not remember how much it was loaded to at the time. The weight of that dumbbell was always being changed. It always looked formidable and defying. Those who tried it remember that only too well…

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.

1938 Senior Nationals Program

Posted on Tuesday, February 26th, 2013 by John Wood

1938 Sr. Nationals Weightlifting Program

A look at an extremely rare program from the 1938 Senior National Weightlifting contest. If you had been in attendance, you would have seen quite a show: Firpo Lemma, out of the Bates Barbell Club of Patterson, New Jersey set two records in the 112 lb. class: a press of 205 lb. (which was a World record) and a Clean and jerk of 210 lbs. (An American record).

Anthony Terlazzo set a World record in the 148 lb. class with a Clean and Jerk of 320 lb., John Terpak set an American record in the snatch with a lift of 250 lb. In the 181 lb. class, Stanley Kratkowski set an American record in the Clean and Jerk with 330 and John Grimek set an American record in the press with 250 lb.

In the heavyweights, Bill Good set an American record in the Clean and Jerk with a lift of 340 lb. but Steve Stanko came along and broke it a few minutes later with a lift of 345 lb. It should also be noted that Weldon Bullock, then only 17 years old, shook up the weightlifting world with a Clean and Jerk of 330 lb.

Just Another Day on Broad Street…

Posted on Thursday, February 16th, 2012 by John Wood

York Gym

Just another day in the old York gym over on Broad Street, circa 1958. The great featherweight Ike Berger is getting in a few presses with 205 on the platform. The gentleman looking on from the left is Eduardo Adrian, who was the lifting champion from the island of Curacao, and who spent a few weeks training in York at the time. In the background, 1944 Mr. America and 1947 Mr. Universe Steve Stanko works in on the long cable. while Jack Mills, a local high school student, rests between sets — that’s right, at one point in time you could have just shown up at York and worked out right along side world champion lifters and strength athletes.
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.

Strength and Health Magazine: September, 1944

Posted on Monday, July 18th, 2011 by John Wood
Shown here is the cover of the September, 1944 issue of Strength and Health Magazine, featuring Steve Stanko. He had won both the 1944 AAU Mr. America and Junior. Mr. America titles only a few months before. This was not the first time Stanko graced the cover of Strength and Health, nor was it the last.

Just a few years earlier, in 1941, Stanko became the first man to officially break the 1000-pound total in the three Olympic lifts (which, very surprisingly, did not even get him a cover shot or a mention) …and just a few years later, in 1947, Stanko would go on to become the very first Mr. Universe winner.