How Roy Hilligenn Trains His Back – Ed Yarick (1952)

Today we feature an article on developing the back muscles, as originally appeared in the March 1952 issue of Hoffman’s Strength & Health. This was written by Ed Yarick, known for running the gym where Steve Reeves trained in Oakland, California, USA. The article describes the back training program of Roy Hilligenn, a life-long vegetarian athlete who won multiple physique contests in South Africa and the United States from the 1940s well into the 1970s, before running afoul of the law and spending time in prison; a regrettable fall from grace. Mr. Hilligenn passed away in 2008 at the age of 85 after complications resulting from a fall at a senior center.

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A photo of Roy Hilligenn which accompanied the article. Click to enlarge (will open in new window/tab)

Further reading:

A profile and remembrance of Roy Hilligenn: http://cbass.com/Hilligenn.htm

Magazine Excerpt:

Developing a strong, well shaped back is one of the most important parts of your program. On the average man that does not go in for weight training, the back is the weakest part of the body. Continue reading

How to Develop Big Powerful Arms [Part 3 – Dick Bachtell, Jim Park and Charles Vinci] (1956)

Today we pick up with the final part of the “Big Powerful Arms” article from the March 1956 issue of Strength and Health. The excerpt below, following up on the previous passage by Steve Stanko, includes shorter sections by champion weightlifter Dick Bachtell, multiple physique contest winner Jim Park, and Charles Vinci, who took home gold medals for weightlifting in two Pan American Games and two summer Olympics.

Each of these experienced iron game figures had different methods for developing the various arm muscles. Bachtell recommended the Zottman curl, an older exercise which apparently was not in common use by the time this article was written, and is certainly not well-known today.

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A photo of Dick Bachtell performing Zottman curls, which accompanied the original article. Click to enlarge (opens in new window/tab)

Further reading: Continue reading

What the Weight Trainer Should Eat [Part 4] – Richard Alan (1956)

At last, here is the final part of 1950s physique athlete Richard Alan’s overview of food types, as it originally appeared in his 1956 booklet Nutrition and Recipes for Progressive Resistance Exercise. The last excerpt that we featured from this chapter dealt extensively with dairy products. In this final section, Alan described additional animal protein sources, as well as fats, sugars, and water.

Booklet Excerpt:

7. Eggs. Eggs are rich in protein, iron, and phosphorus. The efficiency of the protein is very good, being a value between the protein of milk and that of meat. I recommend eating from one to six every day. I personally eat four eggs every day, usually eating them in the form of a health drink. Experts claim that cooked eggs are easier to digest, but I don’t feel there is that much difference to warrant eating them cooked instead of eating them in a health drink. A properly made health drink is very delicious, and as we’ll find out later, this is very important to good digestion and assimilation. Continue reading

Don’t Do It, Fellows! A Warning About Tissue Building Drugs [Part 2] – Peary Rader (1962)

Last time, we presented the first part of Peary Rader’s warning against tissue-building steroids, as it appeared in the November-December 1962 issue of Iron Man. Here is the rest of the article, in which Rader turned his attention to the efforts of the livestock industry to maximize muscular development in cattle. This excerpt highlights the value of good nutrition for muscle growth in humans, and makes mention of the nutritional work of Irvin Johnson, who would later be known as Rheo H. Blair.

Magazine Excerpt:

As some of you may be aware, the livestock industry is seemingly far ahead of us humans when it comes to research in tissue building. Millions of dollars are being spent to find new methods for adding pounds of muscle to a steer almost overnight, and because of this research they can practically double the weight gain of cattle and other livestock over what it was only a very few years ago. Since I live in one of the greatest livestock areas in the world, I’m exposed to much of this work and take a great interest in what is going on and find it most enlightening to listen in on discussions of cattlemen as they talk of the methods they use to stimulate greater growth in their cattle. I have never met a group of men who know more about proteins, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, as well as all the known drugs used for stimulating tissue growth. Stilbestrol is one of the drugs widely used for this purpose and some amazing things were accomplished with it. Recently our government has forbidden its use in many instances–especially in chickens, because of the dangers to humans who eat the meat it is used on. Still, it is being used in many areas, even on chickens, in spite of this government order, we are told. Continue reading

Don’t Do It, Fellows! A Warning About Tissue Building Drugs [Part 1] – Peary Rader (1962)

Currently, the abuse of large amounts of anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs is commonplace in the world of competitive bodybuilding. In the mid-twentieth century, such enhancement was still relatively new and in its experimental stages, and not well-known to the public. By late 1962, Peary Rader saw fit to directly address this development in order to make weight trainees aware of the dangers of tissue-building drugs. The article below appeared in the November-December 1962 issue of Iron Man. This may be one of the earliest published warnings against steroids to the bodybuilding world. The first half of the article explains the nature of such drugs, and admonishes against their use for bodybuilding purposes. The second half of the article, which will be posted later here at FOUNDATIONS OF IRON, presents an interesting examination of the use of tissue-building substances in the livestock industry.

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A photo of George Eiferman, included in the article and cited as example of outstanding natural physique development without steroid use. Click to enlarge (appears in new window/tab).

Magazine Excerpt:

Yes, there are new drugs on the market that will give startlingly fast results in the building of muscle tissue. Not exactly new, for we have known about them for some years, but new to the general public. Continue reading