Dumb-bell Training – Reg Park (1955)

As indicated in a previous post featuring the late three-time Mr. Universe winner Reg Park’s posing routine and preferred posing music, today we present some of Park’s own weight training experience and advice. We hope to feature even more from Reg Park in the future as additional materials become available to us.

The article below was originally published in the October 1955 of Park’s magazine “The Reg Park Journal.” It addressed the concept of periodically changing your workout, an idea that is still common in the field of weight training.


Reg Park looking quite professional on the Editorial/Contents page of his magazine. Click to enlarge (opens in new window/tab).

Park here described his experience with Siegmund Klein (his first name is spelled differently in various sources, and even throughout the article below), who made his name as a strongman in the 1920s and 1930s.


A photo of Klein’s gymnasium which accompanied the article below. Click to enlarge (opens in new window/tab).

Klein’s well-equipped weight training gymnasium in New York proved to be an excellent training ground for Reg Park, and Park’s experiences give an intriguing glimpse into the early years of physical culture.

Reference/further reading on Klein (opens in a new window/tab): http://www.nytimes.com/1987/05/28/obituaries/siegmund-klein.html

In this article, Park whetted his readers’ appetite for training advice with only a basic dumbbell training routine; for details on more advanced training, they could of course purchase one of his various training course booklets advertised in “The Reg Park Journal” alongside weight training equipment also available from Park’s company.

Magazine excerpt:

Many of us from time to time find ourselves either a little stale or bored with our normal training and when this happens we very often take a lay off. However, this is not always the solution, for sometimes a complete change of routine might very well give you the added zest and renewed enthusiasm you desire.

Several years ago, in August, 1949, to be exact, the famous “Trois des Milles” (Reub Martin, Rusty Sellars, Len Talbot) were appearing in Leeds with the “Folies Bergere” show. Never having met them but having read of their great reputations I decided to go round back stage and make their acquaintance. Within ten minutes of meeting them we were all four working out with a couple of 120 lb. dumb-bells they took on tour with them and for the very first time I pressed standing 2 x 100 lb. dumb-bells in their dressing room at the Leeds “Empire,” being spurred on to this after having seen Reub succeed with them. Reub and myself then bench pressed 2 x 100 lb. 5 repetitions and both Rusty and Len succeeded with 1 repetition each.

Later in the same year I made my first trip to America and having booked in at my hotel in New York I wasted no time in going over to see the famous Sieg Klein gymnasium. On arrival Seig made me most welcome and invited me to take a work-out. I accepted his invitation and upon inspection I found that all the dumb-bells in his gymnasium were the solid type (Note: solid dumb-bells are now available from the Reg Park (Barbell) Co. Ltd., page 40) and ranged from 5 lb. to 100 lb. in 5 lb. jumps. I succeeded in pressing the two solid 100 lb. dumb-bells at my first attempt (Seig thinks this is the finest of all exercises) and upon doing so was informed by Seig that these were the same dumb-bells that John Grimek and Steve Stanko had trained with so often on their visits to his gym. He then went on to say that Grimek (who needs no introduction to our readers) used dumb-bells a great deal in his training, a point which was further indicated in an article by Jim Park in which he said: “I am doing more dumb-bell work than ever before after seeing the emphasis John Grimek puts on this type of exercise.”

From the first day I met Seig and my training routine with the “Trois des Milles,” dumb-bells have always played an important part in all my training, as all my pupils will see when they receive my famous Reg Park course.

You will no doubt by now have gathered that when I spoke earlier of a complete change of routine I was in fact referring to changing to a complete dumb-bell routine and have listed a number of exercises for all parts of the body which will give you a good work-out. The first is:–

1. The Squat

2. Pullover.

3. Standing Press Together.

4. Lateral Raise.

5. Heel Raising.

6. Incline Press.

7. Flying Exercise.

8. Triceps Curl.

9. Incline Curl.

10. Swingbell Curl.

11. One Arm Rowing.

12. Side Bends.


“A Dumb-bell Course for You”: Reg Park demonstrating the dumbbell exercises he listed in the article. Click to enlarge (opens in new window/tab).

7 thoughts on “Dumb-bell Training – Reg Park (1955)

    • Josh at FoundationsOfIron March 8, 2018 / 10:07 am

      Yes, it kind of reminds of “sissy squats” done on the balls of the feet. It seems to target the quadriceps very well… if you can manage keep your balance the whole time!


  1. JB617 March 8, 2018 / 9:33 am

    Funny what worked then still works today. Swingbell Curl?

    Liked by 1 person

      • JB617 March 8, 2018 / 10:08 am

        Post here and let us know how it went. I know I’m curious.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Josh at FoundationsOfIron March 15, 2018 / 8:44 am

        Alas, I couldn’t find a swingbell, even at a historic gym in my region that’s been open since the 1940s. I guess I’ll just have to make do with a shorter barbell to imitate the movement that Reg Park demonstrated in the photo.

        Liked by 1 person

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