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

Considering SHOULDER DEVELOPMENT – Vern Weaver (1964)

The late Vern Weaver (1937-1993) entered and placed in several Mr. America contests from 1958 to 1966, taking the overall winner title in 1963. He was also a frequent writer for Bob Hoffman’s Strength & Health magazine. The article below appeared in the January 1964 issue, and it focused on development of the shoulders and adjacent muscle areas. As shown in the accompanying photographs, Weaver was well qualified to write on this topic.

Further reading (opens in new window/tab): https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/25374567/laverne-c.-weaver

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A photo of Weaver highlighting his shoulder development. Click to enlarge (appears in new window/tab)

Magazine excerpt: Continue reading

How to Develop Big Powerful Arms [Part 1 – John Grimek] (1956)

Who doesn’t like to train arms in the gym? In fact, many beginning weight trainees may be so enthusiastic in their desire to train their biceps that they perform endless curls to the neglect of other muscle groups! Nevertheless, well-developed arms can be quite impressive in conjunction with balanced overall physique development.

Today we feature the first out of five sections of a classic article with thoughts on arm training from physique champions of the 1950s, as presented in the March 1956 issue of Bob Hoffman’s magazine “Strength and Health.” Naturally, the champions cited herein were those associated with Hoffman’s own York Barbell enterprises, and they did not fail to throw in a few plugs for Hoffman products. In the article, the sections do not actually appear in the same order laid out in the introductory paragraph, and there does not appear to actually be a portion attributed to Jules Bacon.

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A photo of the incomparable John Grimek which accompanied the article below. Click to enlarge (opens in new window/tab)

The first and longest part, presented below, was ostensibly written by York Barbell strength and physique star – and multiple Mr. America winner – John Grimek. Intriguingly, right in an article on arm training, he began by stating clearly that he had basically given up biceps curls, considered by many to be a staple exercise! Continue reading

Leroy Colbert and friends training and posing outdoors (1958)

This week we present some rare preserved footage of a jovial Leroy Colbert and a few training partners doing weight training and flexing their upper body muscles out on the lawn on a bright, sunny day in 1958, as posted on the “MrYorkieLover Fitness” Youtube channel. Anyone who has trained with weights outdoors knows what an exhilarating experience it can be to lift heavy things in the midst of nature.

Colbert has long been known as the first man to develop 21-inch upper arms before the steroid-dominated era, and the tremendous dumbbells that he incline-presses in this footage are undoubtedly quite impressive.
Continue reading