Home | Supplements | eBooks | DVDs | Articles | Forum
Truly Huge Bodybuilding and Fitness

Click Here for Free Bodybuilding and Fitness Magazine Subscription


           Truly Huge Fitness Tips
         Presented by TrulyHuge.com            

"Blast Your Bench II".

Since I have started using your program my bench went from 195 to 245 
and my squat went from 265 to 320! This program keeps gettin better 
and better!!! 

Steven Hall

Your program worked great for me. I put on 40lbs to my bench press 
using your diet/lifting techniques. 

Thank you very much for your help 

Brendan Daly 

Thought I would drop you a quick note to let you know that I have 
purchased the Blast you Bench program off the web, and i have found 
it to be great. The chest work out is quite rigourous and it really 
pumps you up. The diet tips are also great. 

Thanks for your time and help. 


Click Here to Blast Your Bench

         FITNESS TIPS FOR 2/8/2002                  

Bodybuilding Before Steroids - My Own Story
By Dennis B. Weis "The Yukon Hercules" 

	I first became interested in bodybuilding back in 1961 when, 
at age 16, I sent for a Charles Atlas course.  I followed through with the 
12 weekly lessons and then went on to George F. Jowett's three-month 
Fulcrum Bell course.  I felt that both courses benefitted me to some 
degree but couldn't figure out why everyone still called me "Weakling 
Weis."  But it was a beginning, because I was a bone rack who got the 
stew beat out of him on a weekly basis.

	The initial flame that would change my physical being for the 
rest of my life was ignited three times.  The first was when I walked into 
a local drug store in Ketchikan.  I was perusing the magazine rack and was 
shocked when I saw the rugged and massive Chuck Sipes on the cover of 
the May 1962 issue of Weider's Mr. America magazine.  I immediately 
purchased the magazine, safely tucked it under my massive 12-inch 
buggy whip arm, and went home to read it.

	Ultimately I began corresponding with Chuck through letters and 
phone consultations regarding the "how-to's" of weight training; I did so until 
1974.  Later, when I became a bodybuilding journalist, I would write articles 
about him for Peary Rader's Iron Man magazine.

	The second time my flame was lit was June 11-12, 1965, when I 
had the opportunity to attend the AAU Mr. America Contest in Los- Angeles 
(as a spectator).  Here I was in the big city; I must have looked like I just 
got off the turnip truck.  I accidentally walked backstage and couldn't 
believe all the Herculean physiques milling around.  There was one huge 
black man who stood out above all the rest, in my mind.  Someone said 
his name was Sergio Oliva.

	I'm lucky I didn't get the boot, because I was standing there 
with my mouth hanging open, like I'm trying to catch flies.  I must have 
looked like a deer with its eyes caught in the headlights of a truck, the 
way I was looking at all the giants of bodybuilding at that time.

	It was at this contest that I met Mabel Rader and became aware 
of the existence of Iron Man magazine.  I flew back to Ketchikan and began 
a new assault on my bodybuilding endeavors, armed now with not only 
Mr. America magazine but Iron Man as well; they were my best friends.  
There was no other choice.  I lived (still do) on an island that is 60 miles 
long and only accessible by boat or commercial airplane.  I was the only 
person crazy enough to do the bodybuilding thing.  People made fun of 
me and even laughed at my new hobby.  My Dad even said I wouldn't 
amount to anything.  My Mom was my sole support.  Still, I was a 
lonely as a fever blister on a snowball.  But I trudged on.

	The third time my flame and passion for bodybuilding were 
ignited was in 1966, when I moved to Miami, Florida.  It was my privilege 
to meet Donne Hale, who was the east coast's bodybuilding guru of the 
time.  Donne seemed to know that bodybuilding wasn't going to be a 
short-term love affair for me.  He realized it was going to be a part of my 
lifestyle forever, and he pulled out all the stops to supervise my training 
and nutritional needs during the 9 months I lived in Miami.  Previously I 
was self-taught through the mainstream muscle magazines as to the 
"technique-emphasis" of certain exercises.  Actually, I did pretty good, 
but it wasn't by accident, because I would wade through them with a 
fine-tooth comb in search of highly guarded tips and secrets.

	I would beg, borrow or buy any and all magazines, books and 
courses pertaining to bodybuilding, powerlifting, and nutrition.   I still do 
so!  My library has more than 500 books and courses, more than a 
hundred audio and video tapes, and more than 3,000 magazines.  I 
wasn't called "Dennis, the Mail Order Maniac" for nothing!

	Donne Hale's training beliefs commanded my attention.  He 
taught me not to let my expectations get out of proportion.  He said it 
would take a lot of hard work and perseverance to succeed in the 
iron game.  I fired questions at him  continuously -- how much exercise, 
rest, nutrition?  He had plenty of patience, and with his tranquil demeanor 
he taught me to do multiple sets of varying rep schemes using basic 
compound exercises such as barbell-deadlifts, curls, bench presses, 
bent over rowing, shrugs, calf raises, and full squats.  Full squats!!!  
What, I wondered, were those?  Up until arriving in Miami, I was doing 
only upper body stuff.  I soon found out what full squats were after he 
loaded up the Jackson cambered squat bar.

	Donne graciously demonstrated the movement with ease, 
smiled, and said it was my turn to do 20 repetitions.  He had an 
airsick bag in his hand; wonder what that was for?  I found out rather 
quickly.  After struggling with 20 reps, I didn't feel so good, and soon 
made the first of many acquaintances with the porcelain god.  My 
lungs felt like they had been ripped out of my chest, and my legs felt 
like they had been fire-bombed. 

	This went on for a couple of weeks during my squatting 
sessions.  Donne's old-fashioned, hard-core training methods made 
Adolf Hitler look like Perry Como.  But, lo and behold, all of a sudden, 
during a 20-rep squatting session, I got an adrenalin/endorphin rush I'll 
never forget.  From then on, high-rep full barbell back squats would be 
my core exercise for any workout.

	I moved back to Ketchikan in 1967 and continued with a lot of 
extra incentive to train in a 12x16-foot building with no heat source.  I 
continued to correspond with Donne, Chuck Sipes, and ultimately Peary 
Rader for years to come.  The three of them collectively became my 
mentors and awakened my admiration for them for their well-rounded 
lifestyles.  They taught me to have tremendous ambitions but not just 
in the physical realm.  They said for most people a 20-inch arm will not 
put food on the table or money in the bank.  They went on to say I must 
develop mentally, socially and spiritually in order to achieve success 
and happiness in life.

	The training philosophies I learned especially from these 
three individuals could be summed up as follows:
 	Always do general and specific warm-ups.

 	Maintain a balanced diet of natural foods.

 	Get adequate rest and sleep.

 	Don't smoke, and don't drink excessive amounts or alcohol,         
        and stay away from anabolic steroids for life.

 	Maintain a tranquil mind.

 	Do heavy, non-injury-producing basic compound exercises 
        including neck work.

	Now I'd like to give some of the parameters that prepared me 
eventually to do 20 full reps in the barbell back squat.  I never used knee 
wraps, super-suit, or special lifting shoes when squatting -- a pair of 
loose-fitting sweat pants, a pair of tennis shoes (with a good support 
base) were fine for me.  I did wear tight Levis once but ripped those 
suckers out in the crotch after the 6th rep or so.  Doing so obviously 
indicates a squat depth problem.  No curtsy squats for me!  I buried 
each and every rep, butt to the floor.  Most lifters carry the usual gear 
in their gym bag.  Not me.  I carried a pair of tweezers, just so I could 
pull out the wood splinters from my rump after a squatting session!

	If I had only squatted to parallel, I probably could have worn the 
Levis, no problem.  But I felt I was anatomically blessed to squat deep.  
Why?  I never had any knee, back, or Achilles tendon injuries associated 
with them.  Sometimes I wore a leather lifting belt but not always, and 
not the stiff, thick ones used today, where it takes 3 good men and a 
power rack to get it buckled.

	I didn't always feel a need for the belt, since my back was 
strong from pulling 500+ in the deadlift for sets of 10 reps.  I did these 
standing on a raised wood platform where the bar touched my instep.  
As well, I would do 60 reps in the Roman chair situp (a no-no by today's 
standards) with 60 pounds for the abs.

	For years I didn't have a training partner, so I would use wood 
safety boxes if I got stuck in the bottom position of a deep squat.  It was 
a real pain when I did get stuck, because I'd have to crawl out from under 
the weight, unload it to around 225 pounds, clean it, rack it, and reload.  
Eventually, when I would get stuck, I'd crawl out from under the weight, 
rest five minutes and crawl back under it, drive it out of the bottom to 
lock-out, and then rack it.  I'm not going to say it was easy, because 
it wasn't.  I was pooped and usually had to wait 20 minutes before I 
could do another set of squats.  The best I ever came out of the hole 
with from a dead stop was 485 pounds at a bodyweight of 212.

	While my squats were decent, pressing movements like
 benches sucked!  It was a lucky day if I could bench press 300 for a 
triple, and then I would need a 3/4 ton hoist and David Copperfield (the 
magician) to help me levitate the bar up.  Maybe that's why I never 
excelled at benches.  I had the 3/4 ton hoist but Copperfield was just a 
kid back in the '70s.

	Fifty percent of the time I would use a conventional straight 
bar for squats, and other times a Jackson cambered bar (weight is 
carried lower in the center of gravity).  I always padded the bar with 
armoflex.  Over the years I used a number of training programs to 
accomplish my goals of squatting 20 reps with new poundages.  Here 
are a couple of them:

	I.  On this program I would do 5 sets of 8 reps in the 
power-style squat with 84-88% of my current one-rep max.  I still 
squatted very deep but carried the bar low on my traps and used a 
shoulder width foot placement.  I was explosive on these.  After 
completing the 5 sets, I would drop back to 60% of my one-rep max 
and do one set of 10 reps in Olympic high bar style, with my foot 
placement no more than 12 inches apart.  Each workout I added two 
reps more than the previous, until I reached 50-60 reps.  I trained 
twice a week.

	II-.  This program is a Peary Rader special.  I would take
 a poundage with which I could barely get 10 full reps and with a lot 
of mental tenacity would finish out with 20 reps.  This was done 
twice a week.  I'd add weight whenever possible, say, 5-10 
additional pounds once a week, and just keep grinding out 20 reps, 
but just for a couple of sets per workout.

	Eventually these commando-tough workout sessions got 
me to the point where I was able to do 20 rock-bottom barbell back 
squats with 405 pounds, without a warm-up of any kind.  I wrote a
bout it in a series of articles for Iron Man magazine in the late '70s, 
entitled "Bits of Advice & Routines."  Then a funny thing happened. . . .

	One evening during the late 1970s, in the month of June, I 
heard a knock at my door.  I opened it and saw two guys in their early 
20s.  My first though was, Oh, great, two guys who are working their 
way through college, probably selling magazines or, worse yet, 
fur-lined bathtubs.  They said, "Are you Dennis B. Weis," to which 
I replied, "If you're from a collection agency or the IRS, then no!"  

	They assured me they were from neither, so I admitted I 
was in fact the person they were seeking.  They went on to say that 
they were up here on a commercial fishing boat from San Francisco 
and wanted to stop by and chat, since they were avid readers of 
Peary Rader's Iron Man magazine.  They had read in my "Bits of 
Advice" series that I could do full barbell back squats with 405 for 
20 reps without a warm-up, and they said, quite frankly, they 
didn't believe it.

	I remembered writing that in the article, but I said that w
hile I was capable of that feat, it didn't necessarily mean that it was 
an everyday occurrence that could be done at any time during, say, 
a five-year span.  Peaking levels vary, but I told them they were in luck 
because I was indeed in shape to perform 405 pounds for 20 reps.  
We left the house and walked down the road a couple of blocks to my 
12x16' workout shed.   There was just enough light coming in through 
the windows, even though it was late evening, which meant I didn't 
have to crank up the propane lamp.  I was lucky it was June and not 
December so I didn't have to scrape off frost from the bar.  I directed 
their attention to my squatting apparatus, a York portable dip bar 
attachment hooked to a Peter Dodge Dynatron A-Frame.  Two wood 
safety boxes were positioned nearby.  I asked the guys to count up 
the weight on the squat bar (that was resting atop the dip bars), "And 
don't forget to include the weight of the bar," I exclaimed.  They 
counted 405 pounds.  I could tell they were surprised that it was 
loaded and ready; I told them it had been this way for a few months.  
I didn't have training partners, so I could leave equipment as it was.

	I asked them to stand back as I prepared to squat.  I took 
20-30 seconds and mentally, through visual imagery, saw myself 
successfully completing 20 deep squats with perfect motion and 
form.  I was getting an inner rush, so I knew I was ready.

	I approached the squat rack, grabbed the bar about 6 
inches wider than shoulder width, with both hands.  I dipped 
down slightly so that I could center the bar high across my traps.  
Then I stood up with the weight and methodically but vigorously 
stepped back from the squat rack, taking no more than two steps 
with each foot.  I spaced my feet about 12 inches apart (where I 
felt the strongest) and rotated them out laterally from parallel at 
about a 45-degree angle.  I locked my legs, arched my back, 
tightened my abs and made sure my chin was parallel to the floor. 
I was now ready to begin the first of 20 reps in the standing 
pause squats.

	I took a huge, deep breath and proceeded to squat 
down to rock bottom.  I know from practical application where my 
below-parallel rock bottom position is so I can squat in one smooth 
motion without worrying about having search for the bottom position.  
My negative or eccentric speed took about 4 seconds per rep going 
down.  I never considered squatting to where the tops of my thighs
 were only just parallel to the floor.  I never experienced any 
sacroiliac danger or knee joint injury squatting rock bottom, 
although this might not be the case for many squatters.  I suspect 
my controlled descent was partly responsible for this, as opposed 
to the crash-dive or collapse style descent.

	As I descended, my shins almost always extended over 
the instep of my feet, but no further.  Immediately upon reaching 
rock bottom I would begin the ascent upward, still holding the deep 
breath of air.  As I moved out of the squatting pocket, I always led 
with my head and chest to keep my hips from rising too fast.  I'm 
really fighting the mindless weight up, and this of course is only 
the first of 20 reps.  Remember, I'm doing these suckers without a 
general or specific warm-up of any kind, so I expect the first few 
to be brutally hard, vein-bulging efforts.

	As I near the top of the movement, there is less strain, 
so I expel the air.  It took me about 3 seconds to complete the 
positive or concentric phase of the rep.  I breathe in 3 huge 
breaths quickly, grit my teeth and grind out another rep.  I 
continue on in this manner for 8 more reps -- three deep and 
determined breaths and do the rep.  Finally, at rep 10, it starts
 to get easier, because I'm finally getting warmed up.  This goes 
to around rep 14, and I start to fade a bit, so I start taking 6 breaths 
between each squat.  I of course never racked the bar during the 
pauses, and while it allowed the blood to free up and circulate 
through the thigh muscles for a rejuvenative effect, the spinal 
erectors were always under tension and swollen beyond belief 
at the end of a set. 

	After the completion of the 20th rep I stepped forward 
and racked the bar.  I never counted from 1-20 when doing the 
reps but would in my mind divide the whole thing into four 
5-rep sets.  I'd count 1-5, then the next five I'd count backwards 
from 5 to 1.  That left 10 reps to go.  From here I'd say to myself, 
I've got just 3 triple sets to go and one single.  I'd do 3 reps, then 
say I have only 3 sets of doubles and one single.   I do two 
doubles and finish off with three singles.  This mental exercise 
in counting worked for me then and still does today. I really 
varied this mental exercise of counting once when I full-squatted 
300 pounds for 75 reps.  I did that on a bet for a lousy hamburger.  
Never again!

	Regarding the numerous rest pauses between some of 
the varying reps of the set, some people might say that deliberate 
rest pauses between reps make the set less impacting than doing 
a set where there is only one deep breath and no more taken 
between each rep.  This is speculative at best, because the 
bodybuilder who is used to taking only one breath between each 
rep may not fare any better by taking 3-6 huge breaths between 
reps and may even do worse, and vice versa.

	  The two guys from San Francisco were impressed with 
my 20-rep feat and heartily congratulated me.  They appreciated the 
fact that I could back up the claims I had made in the Iron Man article.  

	I am proud of the fact that I have been training anabolic-drug
 free for a lifetime!  Stay Flexed!

Click Here for Power-Bodybuilding programs by Dennis B. Weis,
now available for instant download 

Click Here for a Chance to Win Free Bodybuilding Supplements