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19 August 2014

Baddest Motherfuckers Ever: Henry "Milo" Steinborn


For the vast majority of you, Henry "Milo" Steinborn is (erroneously) the inventor of the squat.  As I've mentioned in my weight lifting history "There Is Nothing New Under The Sun" series, however, that's absolutely not the case- the barbell squat has been around in the fashion Milo Steinborn did them since the middle of the 19th Century.  "What fashion?", the less well educated and sadly confused among you might be asking.  This fashion:


Having cleared that up, Henry Steinborn might not have invented the squat style subsequently named after him, but he was definitely the greatest of all time at it.  Lacking a rack out of which to squat, Steinborn loaded up a barbell with 553 lbs, up-ended it, dropped that quarter ton onto his back at the bottom of a squat, and powered out of the hole with it.  No person before him had ever come close to that record, and it's only been in the last decade or so that anyone has done so since (IAWA World Records).  Steinborn was so far out ahead of his peers in the squat that at one point the richest man in the world at the time, Jean Paul Getty, took notice of Steinborn and ended up paying him a considerable sum when Steinborn busted out 33 reps with 315 at a bodyweight of 205, presumably after betting him that Steinborn couldn't break 30 reps with 315 (Strossen 5).


Before you turn into a smug little Dennis Miller impersonator and start blabbering an esoteric list of relatively unknown people who can do that off the top of your head, bear in mind that Steinborn did them from the floor, and he was the world's first squat specialist.  Well, that's not entirely accurate- Steinborn was an all around badass who made lifting historian David Willoughby shudder and spontaneously climax when Steinborn's name was mentioned- he just also happened to be the world's greatest squatter at a time when the squat was about as well known and understood as electrical light.  According to Willoughby, Henry "Milo" Steinborn was a super athlete who "manifestly possessed the requisite combination of strength, speed, agility, and endurance" to be considered one of the greatest lifters of all time, (Strossen 5) and whose awesomeness exceeded so far beyond the limits of human comprehension that the man correctly predicted the year of his own death decades before he died (Orlando Sentinel).


Henry Steinborn's Stats
Height: 5'8"
Weight: 205 lbs.
One Hand Snatch: 218 lbs.
Two Hand Snatch: 247 lbs.
Clean and Jerk: 375 lbs.
Squat: 553 lbs.
Strict Curl: 175 lbs. x 5 reps
One Hand Jerk: 255 lbs. 


Looking at the numbers above, you might be thinking, "So?  Who givers a shit?  Plenty of 200 lbers can move those weights."  Indeed, they can.  Using today's rankings, Steinborn would only be ranked 110th in the world at 198 lbs... but that fails to take into account that the Berg barbell had only been existence for a short time and was hardly the finely lubed, smoothly rotating, springy-steeled wonder of engineering with which modern lifts are completed.  Additionally, Steinborn wasn't an Olympic weightlifting specialist, and he put up those numbers when the lifting world was still trying to figure out what in the hell Olympic weightlifting was.  Put more strongly- Steinborn and behmouth Louis Cyr went back and forth taking the world record in the clean and jerk until Steinborn accidentally clean and jerked 375 (he'd asked for 350 and the bar was misloaded to 375).  At that point, Louis Cyr was considered untouchable in strength sports, and he's still considered by many as the greatest strongman of all time.  Steinborn beat the man badly by accident- he wasn't even really trying.

The closest thing the world will ever see to the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: From left to right, Henry "Milo" Steinborn, Olympic weightlifter John Terpak, Mr. America and former world record holder in weightlifting Steve Stanko. badass heavyweight champion boxer and wrestler Primo Carnera, first man to win world championships in three different weightclasses and Olympic gold medalist Stan Stanczyk, and weightlifting and bodybuilding legend John Grimek at the York Weightlifting Club.  Steinborn and Carnera were passing through to go to a wrestling match in Baltimore and decided to hang out with Hoffman's guys for a bit.

While that was not an official record (Steinborn was a professional strongman and was ineligible for the Olympics), no one on Earth at his weight came close to a 375 clean and jerk for nearly half a century, and it was only super heavies who could get more weight overhead in any fashion for decades.  If Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Barry Sanders, Jim Thorpe, and Mariusz Pudzianoski all threw their cum into a blender and created a delicious, frothy milkshake of elite man goo to pour into a heavily sedated Ronda Rousey, the kid they produced would not be as dominant in any sport as Steinborn was in lifting in the first half of the 20th Century.  350+ lb Karl Swoboda was capable of continental and jerking 401 lbs, and Paul Anderson managed to put 400 overhead in a clean and jerk weighing even more than his fat German counterpart, but it wasn't until John Davis hit 390 lbs in 1948 that anyone in Steinborn's relative weightclass was able to best the German superman in the clean and jerk.

I would definitely start some sort of a cult over this.

At this point, you might be thinking we should all move to French Guinea and start a cult with a taste for Koolaid to bring about the second coming of this wondrous beast of a man, but I'm not even halfway through a comprehensive retelling of Henry Steinborn's epic Santa Claus bag of awesome.  Henry Steinborn was born in Siegburg, Germany in 1893.  Not much is known about his upbringing, but Steinborn's introduction to training came in the most unlikely place imaginable- he learned to lift in the four and half years he was Australian prisoner of war after he was captured in World War I (Strossen 5,8).  Life in post-war Germany fucking blew- inflation was through the roof as the Germans were saddled with massive reparations payments, and life for Steinborn basically consisted of trying to make a buck by entertaining people with his lifting.  Unlike the modern, communist, vegan, skinny jean clad Germans, early 20th Century Germans spent their evenings in the pub, in the back of which were were barbells so the men who'd spent all day shoveling coal or hauling pig iron in a factory could get hammered and test each other in drunken feats of strength (Strossen 5).

Steinborn lifting at Hermann's Gym, the site of which interestingly enough, is only two blocks from my brother's cupcake shop.  

As incredibly awesome as that sounds, Steinborn realized that earning money that was worth less than the paper on which is was printed was pointless, so after coming in second to 5'2" 220 lb Karl Moerke in the German National Championships in 1920, he stowed away on a ship to the US and applied for citizenship as an economic refugee (Ibid).  By 1921 Steinborn's name was already well known in the US, as Steinborn had broken three world records in front of Alan Calvert at Hermann's Gym in Philidelphia (Orlando Sentinel, Klein).  After an intervention by Arthur Saxon, who convinced Steinborn there was no real money to be made in exhibition lifting, he adopted the nickname Milo (because of his affiliation with Calvert and the Milo Barbell Company), and proceeded to wrestle in over 300 ultra-violent catch style matches in every corner of the world from 1922 to 1953.
That elephant appears to be the opposite of psyched.

Steinborn wasn't done blowing off faces with nightly displays of weightlifting awesome, however- apparently snapping limbs every night wasn't enough of a challenge for this Teutonic Destroyer Of Hopes, Dreams, and Limbs.  Under contract for Pepsi in the 1940s, Steinborn had to squat at least 400 lbs at every performance, and Steinborn often participated in what has been described as "one of the most lethal fighting arts the world has ever known" twice a day... when he was over the age of 50 (Strossen 7).  At the 1950 World's Fair, Milo backlifted an 800 lb elephant while wearing a suit (at age 57), and busted out another 400 lb squat for an audience when he was 70 (Strossen 8).  All of this is even more incredible considering Steinborn had his had and legs crushed when his famous leg bridge feat, in which 5000 lbs of car and people traversed a bridge Steinborn held up with his legs, went horribly awry in 1926 (Boff).  Exactly 0 fucks were given and no excuses made, and the dude who had been squashed 60 years prior was still squatting 300 into his 80s (Ibid).

Milo weighed around 170 when he was 92.  Here, he's in his 80s and looking better than 3/4 of the people in any gym you visit.

I think at this point, we all understand- Henry "Milo" Steinborn was indeed one of the greatest strength athletes, and without a doubt one of the baddest motherfuckers to ever live.  To what, then, can we credit his badassery?

  • he started out as a gymnast.  Due to his background in gymnastics, Steinborn had great flexibility, body control, and balance.  This ingrained the necessity for good form, so conscious thought was unnecessary while lifting (Strossen 8).
  • he was concerned with overall health.  Steinborn sunbathed regularly, took a lot of long walks, and ate a ton of protein (Strossen 8-9)
  • he was obsessive about training through a full range of motion, and abhored cheating on any movement (Strossen 9)
  • he wasn't a disgusting fatass- Steinborn showed the world that muscular "development, speed, and technique" are what makes good lifters, rather than massive bulk and retard strength (Strossen 7).

Given his rigorous traveling schedule and the fact he had to perform feats of strength so regularly, Steinborn had no training routine.  According to his son,
"Before he did any heavy lifting he did some stretching exercises.  He had an exercise stick that he used for stretching and calisthenics.  He did dislocates on the rings.  He could do giant swings [on a high bar]" (Strossen 8).  
Lifting, then, generally consisted of the quick lifts- one arm snatches and clean and jerks, then the two hand lifts (Strossen 9).  The one exercise he always did was, of course, the "squat- it was the foundation, whether he could do any overhead lifting or things like that.  The squat was like the fountain of youth- he could keep going back there and rejuvenate himself" (Strossen 7-8).


From those descriptions, Steinborn's training seems no more out of the ordinary than a girl pissing in my mouth on the first date.  The apparent banality of this training methods, however, stand in stark contrast to his eating style, which is so bizarre it borders on unbelievable.  As I'm not one to be a contrarian simply because there's no video of the feat on Youtube, and given Steinborn's amazing muscular control in his wrestling and strength feats, I shall treat the following as both possible and true.   Henry "Milo" Steinborn could, according to eye witnesses, chew food without swallowing and bring up individual pierces of that food at will, to then masticate and swallow.

Something tells me Steinborn might have been into this.

I am not making this up, and one author thinks this may have played a role in Steinborn's success, though i would contend it's just evidence of Steinborn's preternatural ability to control his own body.
"Shortly after that we had gone to dinner and I witnessed his method of eating. On this occasion he had eaten boiled onions and steak. He had bolted it down in a tiny fraction of the time I required to consume my own dinner. As I watched him swallow his food in great chunks I thought, what is this? I had always read that strong men were deliberate eaters. They chewed their food well, keeping it in their mouths as long as they could while reducing it to the smallest possible particles. But here was something new. I didn’t ask Steinborn about it because I had only met him and did not feel that I knew him well enough to interrogate him concerning his eating habits.
A few minutes later we were walking down the street and I noticed his jaws moving methodically. “What are you chewing, Mr. Steinborn?” I asked. “A piece of steak,” was his reply. I wondered where he got the steak, could he have a rubber pocket in his coat and have slipped part of his dinner in there? Then Steinborn said, “It’s a gift I have to be able to eat hurriedly and then bring the food up for more thorough chewing. Do you want to see me bring up the onion?” He showed me that his mouth was empty and then almost immediately a big, white onion popped into view. He chewed this carefully and swallowed again. “Now do you want to see a piece of steak?” and then he brought up another piece of steak" (Schmidt).
Second from left next to the human the man with the impossibly skinny-fat arms, Karl Moerke.  Presumably, this was taken after the 1920 German National Weightlifting Championships in which Steinborn took second.

Bob Hoffman, who was then the coach and sponsor of the US Olympic Weightlifting team, apparently stated in his book Better Nutrition that "Steinborn swallowed 24 hard-boiled eggs, bringing them back up one at a time for thorough mastication" (Ibid).  In yet another account, Alan Calvert claimed Steinborn could bring up individual pieces of lettuce from a salad at will (Ibid).  Yes, I know it sounds insane, but "washing out his stomach", as Steinborn referred to it, ensured healthy digestion and good overall health (Ibid).  Whether or not it did so, it is certainly further proof of Steinborn's badassery.

The feat of strength that nearly killed him when he was 29.

So, there you have it- Steinborn could outsquat everyone on the planet, kicked ass at the Olympic lifts in spite of only having a few years of practice at them in a POW camp, was a prolific and dominant wrestler, and had control over his digestive tract the likes of which the world has never seen.  Not only that, but the man had longevity- he was still asking people to jump off of tables onto his ripped six pack at age 92 (Boff), three years before he died the exact year he'd predicted and had carved onto two watches at the ripe old age of 95.  Not bad for an illegal immigrant prisoner of war, eh?

As hard as I try not to use oldtimestrongman.com images, this one was unavoidable.  Apparently no one wanted to photograph Moerke's disgusting fatbody.

A random aside:
While Steinborn gets credit for being one of the sickest squatters of all time, and he is, the aforementioned real life troll doll Karl Moerke deserves some notice.  Though shaped like a trashcan at 5'2" 220 lbs, Moerke was an unequivocal lifting badass.  He "bounce squatted" 650 lbs, which apparently meant he cut the lift short but did it otherwise in the same fashion as Steinborn... making him ostensibly the better squatter, Facebook comments regarding depth notwithstanding.  He also represented in Olympic weightlifting, rocking the following lifts:

  • Right hand snatch 187 lbs 
  • Right hand continental jerk 248 lbs 
  • Two hands snatch 231 pounds lbs 
  • Two hands military press 265 lbs 
  • Two hands continental push 308 lbs 
  • Two hands continental jerk 386 lbs 
  • Squat (bounce style) 650 lbs 
  • Dead lift 650 lbs

Sources:
Boff, Vic.  Reminiscing about Henry "Milo" Steinborn.  Iron Game History.  Web.  18 Aug 2014.  http://www.bobwhelan.com/history/steinborn.htm

Grimek, John. Unforgettable Moments. The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban. 7 Dec 2008. Web. 19 Aug 2014. http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2008/12/unforgetable-moments-john-grimek.html

Henry 'Milo' Steinborn, 95, Weightlifter, Promoter.  Obituaries. Orland Sentinel. 11 Feb 1989. Web. 18 Aug 2014. http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/1989-02-11/news/8902110537_1_steinborn-milo-weightlifter

Klein, Sigmund. My Quarter Century in the Iron Game – Chapter Three. The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban. 7 Feb 2009. Web. 19 Aug 2014. http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2009/02/sig-klein-chapter-three.html

Schmidt, Bob.  Henry Steinborn.  The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban.  21 Mar 2009.  Web.  19 Aug 2014.  http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2009/03/henry-steinborn-bob-schmidt.html

Strossen, Randall J. Henry "Milo" Steinborn: A conversation with Henry Steinborn, Jr. Milo. Apr 1993;1(1)4-9.

Willoughby, David P. Karl Moerke.  The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban. 8 Aug 2008. Web. 19 Aug 2014.  http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2008/08/karl-moerke-david-p-willoughby.html

13 August 2014

Fuck The Treadmill 2.5- Answering Sundry Questions About Tanning And Sunscreen

Tanning does a body good.

For the sake of my sanity, since I've been running myself ragged this week, I am just going to address the questions I've received in re the last article as a question and answer format.  While I expected a lot of blowback on the previous series, I honestly didn't expect it about something as innocuous as doing what every human prior to hardline Judeo-Christian faiths overtook the West and Near East has done- which is to say, get a tan.  Quite frankly, I'm not certain when people started viewing glorified pimple-poppers as the saviors of all mankind who are never to be questioned, but I suppose every day is a new day in which I can be even further disappointed by humanity as a whole.

One would think this topic might garner a bit more attention, especially in the strength training world, as I'd posit most of us are vain enough to warrant the use of a snorkle every time we peer into a pool of water to check out our swole status, but apparently the world at large disagrees.  What we do know for sure, however, is that tan people are considered more attractive (at least in the Western world- I'm aware it has negative class connotations in other cultures), and given our communal narcissism, that information should make you perk up a bit (Chung).  Thus, without further adieu, the questions and comments I received.

If the chick in Thanatomorphose has just gotten a fucking tan instead of rocking that SPF 100, this whole movie could have been avoided.

"Sunblock DOES NOT cause cancer. Halfwit" and "What sunscreen ingredients should we be avoiding then?"

I don't know that I ever stated sunblock absolutely caused cancer- instead, I stated that it was carcinogenic.  As I mentioned, many sunblocks contain carcinogenic substances, and others, like phenylbenzimidazole and titanium dioxide particles, cause DNA damage in rats (Yu).  All of that sounds like a big bag of not-fun to me, especially when one considers that most of the shit that blocks UV rays generates free radicals, and free radicals are basically cellular terrorists (Allen).  When compiling a short list of some of the carcinogenic substances in sunscreen, I took a look at the shit I had in my bathroom- Coppertone Sport SPF 15 contains oxybenzone, while Ocean Potion Sport SPF 30 (which I think is my roommate's) contains the same.  I'm simply listing the stuff that was easy to find on carcinogens and sunscreen, but if you want to check out how horrible your sunscreen is, go here and search yours (mine were 4 and 5, respectively).  Here, then, is a short list of the worst shit to avoid in your sunscreen:
  • oxybenzone- This ingredient really is the biggie, but it appears that it's in so much shit and causes so many health problems, it's going to get you in the end anyway.  Oxybenzone has been linked to "allergies, hormone disruption, and cell damage", and in spite of the fact that studies show it to be toxic, the cosmetics industry seems to think it's either indispensable or good for you (Allen, Nakajima).
  • benzophenone- Benzophenone, while not quite the bad, bad man that walks into the bar, smashes a bottle of the head of the first man he sees and rapes his girlfriend, then burns the bar on the way out, still sucks for you.  It's been shown to cause DNA damage (Cuquerella), which should be considered a bad thing unless you're putting all of your eggs in the "it's a mutation that will turn me into a superhuman mutant" X-Men-style basket.
If only hippies would stick to toplessness and leave the "science" and nutrition to thinking people.
  • octyl methoxycinnamate- Otherwise known as OMC, this is bandied about by hippie "science" websites as a "mutagenic toxic substance", though like other hippie websites, an attempt at confirming that just led me into a Google ring-around-the rosie between sites that would smell of patchouli if sites could smell.  Despite the fact, however, that OMC is not the secret ingredient in the ooze that created the teenage mutant ninja turtles, it's not great for you.  It's not great at blocking out sunlight, and the "gene expression results suggest that the overall cellular response to DNA damage was significantly altered by OMC" (Duale)... and not in a good way.  This would be another substance to avoid.
  • retinyl palmitate- This one had me skeptical, frankly, because I've mentioned before I find the panic about Vitamin A toxicity to be even more overblown than Rex Manning's dick.  A study by the National Toxicology Program, however, showed that retinyl palmitate increased the incidence of skin lesions and tumors, and decreased the life expectancy of the rats in the study.  While not nearly as compelling as the oxybenzone results, it's worth noting that this stuff may have the potential to have you looking like a krokodil addict at some point.
I think Lass Suicide might actually be hotter pale than tan.

"Is melanotan acceptable for ginger Irish people who just burn and get more freckles in the sun?"

Melanotan II is an interesting substance.  You can purchase it from peptide resources as a "research chemical", as it's not gotten FDA approval and so it's not scheduled.  It was developed at my alma mater as a method of inducing more rapid tanning, and thereafter produced the world's first actually positive side effect in the history of pharmaceuticals- it works as an aphrodisiac and causes uncontrollable and random boners.  I suppose the reason it's not being distributed for free on the street is that guidos and frat boys are tan and rapey enough, but for the rest of us, Melanotan II is basically manna from heaven.  Direct from Web-MD:
"Melanotan-II is POSSIBLY SAFE when used under medical supervision for treating ED (erectile dysfunction). It may cause nausea, stomach cramps, decreased appetite, flushing, tiredness, yawning, darkened skin, spontaneous erections of the penis, and other side effects" (Web MD). 
In other words, have at it.

I do not miss working like this.  Jesus fuck, what misery.

"Any suggestions for UV producing lamps for those trapped in an office?"

This was an interesting question for me, because my knee-jerk reaction was "just go tanning, for fuck's sweet sake."  Tanning is, for me, intensely relaxing, provided you use a bed and not one of those bullshit standup contraptions.  you lay down, have a nap, and wake up feeling warm, fuzzy, and generally awesome.  If you happen to find a gym with a tanning bed, even better- pop your preworkout before you get in the bed, hit up a 15 minute nap, and come out fucking swinging.  As I mentioned in the first, ancient part of this series, studies have shown it gives a marked performance benefit.


That's neither here nor there, however- you wanted to know about UV lamps.  I did some research, and it appears that the light boxes designed to treat seasonal affective disorder do not aid in Vitamin D production- those lights filter out UV rays (Stopa), and UVB rays are what get you tan and trigger Vitamin D production (Bianchi).  Thus, I dug deeper and discovered that they do make desktop tanning lamps you could have at your desk.  Apparently, the bigger appliance companies got out of the sun lamp business years ago due to liability, but you can still get stuff like the CalSun Facial Tanning Sun Lamp on Amazon.  It's apparently not super awesome, but it's better than nothing.

On the other hand, you have the Naturebright Suntouch Plus Light has gotten some badass reviews, is super ridiculously on sale on Amazon, and combines bright light and negative ions for mood improvement, but you don't get the Vitamin D production or a bit of color on your pasty epidermis.  Frankly, I'd never heard of negative ion therapy, but studies have shown that both bright lights and negative air ions result in a 50+% improvement in mood for people suffering from depression (Goel).  So, using something like that will kill a couple of birds with one stone, though I still doubt it tops rubbing one out and napping in a tanning bed (wipe that fucker down when you're done, if you would).

In re being an indoor worker- you actually appear to be at a higher risk of getting melanoma than outdoor workers (Godar).  UVA rays are the shitty, non-Vitamin D-inducing, cancer causing fuckers, and those pass through glass, while UVB rays don't.  As a result, the incidence of skin cancer has risen steadily since 1940 in indoor workouts, but not people who actually work in the sun (Rivers).  As such, you might want to jump on some sort of tanning solution, stat.


"Pale girls are better though, should women instead increase vitamin D intake by bathing in milk and/or milk enemas?"

Sadly, highly lipophilic vitamins like vitamin D have too many factors at play to determine whether or not they'll be adequately absorbed in the intestine (Borel), but enteral absorption of Vitamin D has been successful in rats (Khamiseh).  This is happy news for me, as I thoroughly enjoy pissing into a girl's ass and making her hold it while I go down on her, so if I double up on my Animal Pak, I could square her away on vitamin intake as well.  As to the bath, the answer there is going to be no- a plain old Vitamin D supplement taken orally should suffice if you're not trying my unique enteric method.  Additionally, you could always try my plan, golden shower style, if she's into urophilia- just shoot for 1000-2000 IU of Vitamin D per day, which is what one of the professors of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard University recommends (Giovannucci).


"I'm about the palest cracker on earth, and I'm in def considered 'high risk' for skin cancer (had multiple severe sunburns as a child, my father had a pretty bad case of melanoma and has had a lot of cancerous or pre-cancerous growths removed, etc etc). So I've always been the clam who hides from the sun and lubes up in sunscreen when I have to."

Well, dude from the shitheap of a movie Powder, that sucks for you- a recent study showed pretty definitively that adult sunburns don't seem to cause melanoma, but early-life blistering sunburns do (Wu).  You might as well start a skin-cancer savings account, just in case, because while melanoma isn't exactly the most common thing (only 1 in 5,000 people ever has any incidence of it), you're pretty much a rock solid case for getting it (SEER).  At least now, I suppose, you can just tan to your heart's content- whatever damage is going to be done already has been, unless you start taking daily sunblock baths.

So, there you have it.  Questions answered, idiots silenced, and boobies unleashed.  You're welcome.

Sources:
Allen JM, Gossett CJ, Allen SK.  Photochemical formation of singlet molecular oxygen in illuminated aqueous solutions of several commercially available sunscreen active ingredients.  Chem Res Toxicol. 1996 Apr-May;9(3):605-9.

Bianchi, Helena De Souza.  Which sun ray is responsible for the production of vitamin D: UVA or UVB? Examiner.com.  12 Jun 2012.  Wen.  13 Aug 2014.  http://www.examiner.com/article/uva-or-uvb-rays-which-one-is-responsible-for-the-production-of-vitamin-d

Borel P.  Factors affecting intestinal absorption of highly lipophilic food microconstituents (fat-soluble vitamins, carotenoids and phytosterols).  Clin Chem Lab Med. 2003 Aug;41(8):979-94.

Campbell JA, Morrison AB.  Some Factors Affecting the Absorption of Vitamins.  Am J Clin Nutr. 1963 Mar;12(3):162-169.

Chung VQ, Gordon JS, Veledar E, Chen SC.  Hot or not--evaluating the effect of artificial tanning on the public's perception of attractiveness.  Dermatol Surg. 2010 Nov;36(11):1651-5.

Cuquerella MC, Lhiaubet-Vallet V, Cadet J, Miranda MA.  Benzophenone photosensitized DNA damage.  Acc Chem Res. 2012 Sep 18;45(9):1558-70.

Duale N, Olsen AK, Christensen T, Butt ST, Brunborg G.  Octyl methoxycinnamate modulates gene expression and prevents cyclobutane pyrimidine dimer formation but not oxidative DNA damage in UV-exposed human cell lines.  Toxicol Sci. 2010 Apr;114(2):272-84.

Giovannucci, E.  Quotes on the State of Vitamin D Science, Reference to IOM Report.  Grassroots Health.  Nov 2010.  Web.  13 Aug 2014.  http://www.grassrootshealth.net/iomquotes

Godar DE, Landry RJ, Lucas AD.  Increased UVA exposures and decreased cutaneous Vitamin D(3) levels may be responsible for the increasing incidence of melanoma.  Med Hypotheses. 2009 Apr;72(4):434-43.

Goel N, Terman M, Terman JS, Macchi MM, Stewart JW.  Controlled trial of bright light and negative air ions for chronic depression.  Psychol Med. 2005 Jul;35(7):945-55.

Khamiseh G, Vaziri ND, Oveisi F, Ahmadnia MR, Ahmadnia L.  Vitamin D absorption, plasma concentration and urinary excretion of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in nephrotic syndrome.  Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1991 Feb;196(2):210-3.

Nakajima D, Asada S, Kageyama S, Yamamoto T, Kuramochi H, Tanaka N, Takeda K, Goto S.  Activity related to the carcinogenicity of plastic additives in the benzophenone group.  J UOEH. 2006 Jun 1;28(2):143-56.

NTP Technical Report on the photocarcinogenesis study of retinoic acid and retinyl palmitate in SKH-1 mice.  2012 Aug.  NTP TR 568.  National Toxicology Program.  Web.  13 Aug 2014.  http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/results/pubs/longterm/reports/longterm/tr500580/listedreports/tr568/index.html

Rivers JK.  Is there more than one road to melanoma? Lancet.  Feb 2004;363(9410):728-730.

SEER Stat Fact Sheets: Melanoma of the Skin.  National Cancer Institute.  Web.  13 Aug 2014.  http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/melan.html

Stopa, Marsha.  Winter Blues Tip 3: Light therapy and Vitamin D don’t mix.  Winter Blues Coach.  12 Dec 2012.  Web.  13 Aug 2014.  http://winterbluescoach.com/tip-3

Wu S, Han J, Laden F, Qureshi AA.  Long-term ultraviolet flux, other potential risk factors, and skin cancer risk: a cohort study.  Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2014 Jun;23(6):1080-9.

Yu, JX, Li TH.  Distinct biological effects of different nanoparticles commonly used in cosmetics and medicine coatings.  Cell Biosci.  2011;1(19)1-15.

06 August 2014

Fuck the Treadmill- I've Got A Real Warmup For You #2

Can you imagine how many idiots would fuck this up trying to take selfies if this were reenacted today?

Since we've already covered the other parts of summer- namely, drinking your face off and smoking cigarettes and weed, we might as well cover the other important aspect of summer- tanning.  Like most things that people have considered to be a part of normal, everyday life for the entirety of human history, like drinking, eating red meat, putting salt on food, and having promiscuous sex, the powers that be have warned against sun exposure for the last 30 years as if sunlight was some new and horrible emission from space humanity had never faced.  While any thinking person would conclude that the hysteria about exposure to sunlight was, rightly, naught but the produce of gibbering, pants-shitting insanity, the slower ruminants among us have seen fit to slather themselves with opaque glop in an effort to prevent a single ray of sunlight ever reaching their epidermis.


Again, thinking persons should find this hilarious- after all, what the fuck do these cattle think they're rubbing on their skin?  Natural botanical oils?  Not bloody likely.  Instead, these blubbering halfwits are slathering themselves in carcinogens to offset the extremely highly unlikely onset of melanoma- yeah, that's right... EXTREMELY UNLIKELY.  According to the editor of Reuters Health, less than .3% (three tenths of one percent) developed melanoma, even in people who use tanning beds frequently (Oransky).  So, in an effort to avoid something that's less likely than a woman dying during childbirth in North America, people are soaking themselves in oxybenzone, which has been linked to hormone disruption and cell damage that might cause skin cancer, and retinyl palmitate, which "may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions when applied to the skin in the presence of sunlight" (Dellorto, Problem).  Think you're dodging that bullet?  you're likely not- according to the Environmental Working Group, only "Twenty-five percent of 800 tested sunscreens are effective at protecting your skin without the use of potentially harmful ingredients" (Dellorto).  In other words, your odds are not good when using sunscreen.

If you avoid the sun, you avoid the sluts, and that's bad business practice.

Oh, but consumer genius doesn't end there.  When they douse their disgusting fat bodies in carcinogens, they don't just expose themselves to an increased risk of cancer- the same people who slather themselves with sunblock are the ones who go out of their way to avoid sun exposure in general, which is awesome because that limits their Vitamin D production.  Studies have shown that melanoma patients with more sun exposure have an increased rate of survival over patients without intermittent lifetime sun exposure, that "intermittent sun exposure had a tendency to be inversely associated with the risk of death from melanoma" (Rosso), and that people with the highest concentrations of Vitamin D in the blood had the thinnest melanomas (making them easier to treat), greatest survivability of melanoma, and least incidence of melanoma (Caini).  In short, getting a tan is considerably healthier than looking like Casper the Friendly Ghost.

The benefits of irradiation in action.

As I stated long ago, here, there are plenty of performance benefits to tanning, otherwise known as "irradiation."  Getting out in the sun has a shitload of benefits beyond those that help you on the platform, though- it promotes bone growth, prevents and treats tuberculosis, reduces "the risk of dying from Hodgkin lymphoma, as well as breast, ovarian, colon, pancreatic, prostate, and other cancers," may decrease the risk of multiple sclerosis, lowers the risk of metabolic and cardiovascular disease, as well as hypertension and rickets (Mead).  It makes sense, then, that the old school strongmen loved sunbathing and recommended it to everyone- for instance, Saxon Trio loved sunbathing and did so whenever possible (Gaudreau), and champion strongman and wrestler George Hackenschmidt recommended naked sunbathing (Todd 11).  World class German trainer of strongmen Theodor Siebert had a specific facility built in his state-of-the-art school for physical culture (Wedemeyer 9), and Hermann Goerner was reputed to be an avid sunbather as well.  In the 1970s, much of the reason Venice Beach was the mecca of bodybuilding was due to the fact that the bodybuilders could train outdoors and then lay on the beach, and guys like Dave Draper, Arnold, and Franco were always found on the beach midday, between training sessions.

If never seen an ugly girl working at a tanning salon in my life.  I'm pretty sure it violates the Geneva Convention to hire one.

Think you're fucked because you live in Seattle, Pittsburgh, the UK, or all of the frozen places from Scandinavia eastward?  Nah- all of that bullshit about the dangers of tanning beds are just that.  In a study conducted by Moan, et al, the evidence is quite definitive- "The overall health benefit of an improved vitamin D status may be more important than the possibly increased CMM risk resulting from carefully increasing UV exposure."  In the largest study ever conducted upon the use of tanning beds, in which over 106k women were involved, "less than three-tenths of 1 percent who tanned frequently developed melanoma while less than two-tenths of 1 percent who didn't tan developed melanoma," which is a significant increase from a pretty negligible chance to another pretty negligible chance (Veierød).  Plus, every tanning place on the planet is staffed entirely by hot, if orange, chicks of questionable morals.

Four more reasons to drag ass to the beach, stat.

In summary, you've got a month of decent weather left in most of the Northern Hemisphere.  It's time to fill up the cooler and head outside, because getting a tan will leave you healthier and likely a better athlete than you are pale.  I realize this will cause a problem for the fatties amongst you, but that adds to the laundry list of reasons the Crossfit Games gave you to get your abs out into the open to get your fat ass in shape.  Fat, pale, and weak is no way to go through life, so take a page out of the guidos' book and hit up some heavy benches, vodka shots, and the beach.

Sources:
Caini S, Boniol M, Tosti G, Magi S, Medri M, Stanganelli I, Palli D, Assedi M, Marmol VD, Gandini S.  Vitamin D and melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer risk and prognosis: A comprehensive review and meta-analysis.  Eur J Cancer. 2014 Jul 30. pii: S0959-8049(14)00806-5.

Dellorto, Danielle.  Avoid sunscreens with potentially harmful ingredients, group warns.  CNN.  16 May 2012.  Web.  6 Aug 2014.  http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/16/health/sunscreen-report/

Gaudreau, Leo.  The Saxon Trio: What they ate & how they trained.  Natural Strength, from Muscle Power Magazine.  Web.  6 Aug 2014.  http://www.bobwhelan.com/history/saxontrio.html

Mead MN.  Benefits of sunlight: a bright spot for human health.  Environ Health Perspect. 2008 Apr;116(4):A160-7.

Moan J, Baturaite Z, Juzeniene A, Porojnicu AC.  Vitamin D, sun, sunbeds and health.  Public Health Nutr. 2012 Apr;15(4):711-5.

The odds of serious risks that people can relate to.  Riskcomm.  Web.  6 Aug 2014.  http://www.riskcomm.com/visualaids/riskscale/datasources.php

Oransky, Ivan.  Tanning beds: What do the numbers really mean?  Association of Health Care Journalists.  7 May 2010.  Web.  6 Aug 2014.  http://healthjournalism.org/blog/2010/05/tanning-beds-what-do-the-numbers-really-mean/

The problem with vitamin A.  Environmental Working Group.  2014.  Web.  8 Aug 2014.  http://www.ewg.org/2014sunscreen/the-problem-with-vitamin-a/

Rosso S, Sera F, Segnan N, Zanetti R.  Sun exposure prior to diagnosis is associated with improved survival in melanoma patients: results from a long-term follow-up study of Italian patients.  Eur J Cancer. 2008 Jun;44(9):1275-81.

Todd, Terry.  Muscles, Memory: and George Hackenschmidt.  Iron Game History.  Jul 1992; 2(3):10-15.

Veierød MB, Weiderpass E, Thörn M, Hansson J, Lund E, Armstrong B, Adami HO.  A prospective study of pigmentation, sun exposure, and risk of cutaneous malignant melanoma in women.  J Natl Cancer Inst. 2003 Oct 15;95(20):1530-8.

Wedemeyer, Bernd.  Theodor Siebert: A Biography.  Iron Game History.  May/June 2000; 6(3):5-13.

04 August 2014

Fun With MS Paint, Chaos and Pain Style

I had to show them how it was done.

Unlike the vast majority of the articles here, this is going to have nothing whatsoever to do with training or nutrition.  Instead, this is overflow from www.chaosandpain.com, since I try to keep that site safe for work, and in spite of the fact that these are generally poorly drawn MS Pain pics, there's no sense in getting the Chaos and Pain Facebook shut down or someone to get fired because of some ridiculous drawings.  Thus, I give you your entertainment for the day- the results of the Chaos and Pain MS Paint competition.  The only rules were that it had to be their own work, no copypasta, and no Photoshop.  Even with rules that simple, I had to throw a couple entries out.  Lotta geniuses out there.

First, the worst.  Adam Abu-dayyeh, in what appears to be the first correspondance from a Palestinian I've ever received (the name is, as I understand it, Palestinian) offers up the bottom of the barrel.  I'm not sure if this guy has a palsy, or perhaps CP.  He might have had a shaky hand from the rockets raining down upon his head if he is, in fact, Palestinian.  In any event, this image appears to be a melted candle with a beard deadlifting 495 lbs while standing in a fire, vomiting, after being stabbed in the eyes by large, multicolored poles, as viewed by someone with a unique form of color blindness in front of the Luxor Hotel In Las Vegas.  Either that candle is stating that a sub 500 lb deadlift is "nuthin' but a bit of scrap", or that's the title of this piece.  I'm not entirely certain.


From here, the contest got more difficult.  Should I go with funny, well-drawn, Chaos and Pain related, or some combination thereof.  Given that I made no rules regarding content, I've about as rudderless as Gary Busey's career at present, but I shall forge ahead.  In fourth place I have Kris Ledoux, quite honestly because his cartoon, while apparently labor intensive, makes no fucking sense to me at all.  In it, a drunken Chris goes to LA Fitness to squat, only to be confronted by what can only be described as a heavily muscled Terrence from the Terrence and Philip show holding a handful of snakes.  Thereafter, I'm not sure what transpires, but apparently it involves me giving Kris a free shirt, something that in no why shape or form fits the apparent narrative of the drawing.  Behold:

By the way, Kris, if that was supposed to be me and I've already given you a free shirt, you're welcome.

In third place we have Tim Dallinger, for a pretty impressively rendered version of the blog's logo.  Poor Tim appears to be suffering from a lack of self confidence, according to handwriting analysis.  Hopefully pulling down third place will help.  


In second place, we have Kenneth Turnbull, who did a solid recreation of of chick from Nuts magazine who for no apparent reason is wearing the same facepaint as the hot assed bad girl in Doomsday (Lee-Anne Liebenberg).  Given my love of that movie, and the fact someone included titties in their pic, I had to give this guy his due.


Finally, first place- the entry that amused me the most- Jordan Smith with "Cheat Day."  I've yet to eat a hamburger so good that it turns my dick into a flamethrower, but I look forward to the day I do.  Thus, Jordan wins.


 In case you guys are curious, the winners will receive the following:
1st:  Cannibal Ferox, Cannibal PermaSwole, and Cannibal Inferno
2nd: Either Cannibal Ferox or Cannibal PermaSwole
3rd: Cannibal Inferno
We're holding another contest this week to give away products (Helios and Mercury) from our new line, Olympus, so if you want to get in on the action head over to the Facebook and sign up for our mailing list to get announcements.  And now, we shall return to our regularly scheduled assholery, which will probably come in the form of a follow up to the article I did on the benefits of tanning maybe four years ago.  Given that the summer's all about getting fucked up and laying by the pool, I figured it'd fit in nicely with the smoking and drinking articles.


31 July 2014

More Than One Way To Skin A Cat- The 500 lb Bench Press With Mel Hennessey And Serge Nubret


One of the most horrifying trends in powerlifting in the modern era is the tendency for most lifters to adopt the program du jour and then proceed to suck at lifting along with every other weaksauce dipshit blindly performing the reps and sets outlined therein.  Conscious thought among the average lift in powerlifting is completely dead, and it's been replaced by dogmatism reinforced by scientific jargon that ultimately is as meaningless as the unused piece of flesh dangling between the knees of the male segment of those automatons.  Anecdotal evidence has become passe, and they'll only do it if there exists a spate of peer-reviewed studies claiming that untrained lifters get some benefit out of whatever mysteries are contained within.  


In short, most modern lifters are little more than robots with access to the modern internet but only outfitted with the hard drives and processors of Apple IIes, so their capabilities are limited to the first 256kb they could download.  They're illiterate mongoloid children in search of the meaning of life inside the Library of Congress, and insisting that the meaning for which they were searching is contained inside the only book they were actually able to somewhat read.  They're cripples, and someone needs to smack them in the face with a set of fucking crutches.  Luckily, I happen to have a pair handy.

Iowa State's 2013 400lb Bench Press Club.  Roughly 10% of their team are 400lb benchers.  It's not as rare as the internet insists. 

Dogmatism about training methods and aversion to anecdotal evidence in training are about as sensible as booking a flight over the Ukraine.  Thus, I thought it prudent to dig up a couple of lifting routines from lifters who managed to press 500 or more in ultra strict form, just to give everyone an idea of how disparate methods could be to achieve the same lofty goal.   Notice, this is not an article about how a couple of choads cracked the 300 barrier, because frankly no one should really give a shit about that for more than a day or two.  400 is, of course, an incredibly elusive number for a lot of lifters, but 500 is really the number where jaws start to drop- 5 wheels clanging against each other as they conspire in a quarter-ton attempt to crush the person fighting them and gravity into a paste.  As you'll see, it's not the assholes who enter the gym with a 90 lb bag filled with $1000 in trendy prehab and rehab equipment, foam rolling their way to glory as they brandish their Chuck Taylors in a futile attempt to at least look the part- it's guys who enjoy lifting and do shit their own way who eventually slam 500 lbs to arm's length in ultra-strict form.

Pro wrestling legend Bruno Sammartino bench pressing 565 in what appears to be a completely do-or-you're-fucking-dead type of situation.  Kim Jong-Un gets more support for his attempt to get a worldwide ban on The Interview than Sammartino appears to have had from his sawhorse/bench or spotters in this attempt.

Two of the guys who immediately sprang to mind when I think of 500 lb bench presses are actually from two different sports, but hail from the same era of flat-backed, elbows-flared, ultra-strict bench pressing- Serge "The Black Guy From Pumping Iron" Nubret and powerlifting legend Mel Hennessey.  Not only were their training routines completely unlike each others', their chest days were so markedly dissimilar you'd find it almost impossible that Nubret was capable of a 500 lb bench press at 212 and Hennessey a 571 at 228.  This, in turn, should show you quite plainly that there is definitely more than one way to skin the powerlifting cat, and that anyone who tells you otherwise is a fucking moron.  


Simply because I'm an asshole and want to make you people wait for the powerlifter's program like you're Rwandan refugees in a Ugandan aid camp waiting for food, I'll start with the program you're definitely not going to try- that of Serge Nubret.  At 6'0 and 212 lbs with arms that hung practically to his knees, the "Black Panther" boasted the leverages that would have any Redditor screaming to the heavens that even a 300 lb bench press was out of the question.  What Nubret lacked in r/weightroom-approved leverages, however, he made up for in weightlifting volume and intensity that smacked of insanity and could be construed as auto-terrorism.  Nubret trained six days a week, and while most of his contemporaries consigned themselves to a mere four hours a day of training, Nubret went a bit further.  According to Frank Zane:
“There were times,” recalls former onstage adversary Frank Zane, “when he would work out all day — literally. He’d get to the gym at 8 or 9 a.m. and train until noon or so. Then he’d go for lunch, and then he’d return to the gym to train for another few hours. After that he’d get dinner at 5 p.m. or so and come back for his nighttime workout. It would be a 12-hour day centered on training” (Perine)
Nubret trained chest twice a week, and although he never really had a set routine, he generally stuck to high reps and low weight, for tons of volume... and when I state he did tons of volume, I mean that literally.  Nubret was famous for doing 40 sets of 25 with 225, or even higher reps with 200 lbs (Perine).


Maniacal as Nubret was (he was reported to do all kinds of shit ranging from 20 sets of 20 and up to an hour of continuous benching with 135), Nubret himself stated that the following was really more of what he normally did (Perine).  What follows is far more similar to what most guys in the 1970s did- over 30 sets per bodypart, and enough reps to rival pumps in a marathon fucking session by a couple who both had Parkinson's.

Bench Press: 8 x 12
Flat-Bench Dumbbell Flye: 6 x 12
Incline Bench Press: 6 x 12
Incline Dumbbell Flye: 6 x 12
Dumbbell Pullover: 6 x 12  



Nubret busted that workout out twice a week, usually on Monday and Thursday, and the did his bench press assistance work for shoulders and arms on Wednesday and Saturday.  Resting only 30 or so seconds between sets, Nubret would blaze through the gym like a fucking forest fire, which makes it all that more incredible that he would remain in the gym as long as he did as often as he did.  Nevertheless, Wednesday and Saturday were a festival of pain from the rotator cuff downward, and looked like this:

Behind the Neck Barbell Press: 6 x 12 
Alternate Dumbbell Front Raise: 6 x 12 
Barbell Upright Row: 6 x 12 
Cable Lateral Raise: 6 x 12 
Barbell Curl superset with Triceps Pushdowns: 8 x 12 
Dumbbell Curl superset with Triceps Dips: 6 x 12 

As I stated above, Nubret was not wedded to a program or routine designed for a long-dead foreigner living so unlike his own it may have well from from another star system, and he rarely did the same workout from week to week.  This, then, is simply an outline of what a typical day might have looked like, all of which assumes The Black Panther didn't get a bug up his ass to train his brachialis for 6 hours while singing patriotic French songs and nibbling on bits of horse.

Quick!  Someone tell Serge to tuck his elbows before he doesn't have a bench press that embarrasses 99.7% of the people on the planet!

We come, then, to the other side of the coin- Mel Hennessey, who stood a mere 5'5" but competed at 220 and 242 and moved some ridiculous poundages with what was by all accounts the most deliberate, slow, and precise form ever witnessed on the bench.  Interestingly, Mel Hennessey is described, physically, not unlike Nubret.  According to Verne Hollister, "incredibly and massively muscled that he could be a competitor for the most muscular title in a physique contest," and according to Anthony Ditillo, "when it comes to thick, dense, heavy muscular development plus pleasing shape and the power to match, Mel Hennessey stands above ALL his contemporaries of the present day and his competitors of the past when it comes to physical impressiveness."   


Though he never competed as a bodybuilder, Hennessey didn't train unlike a bodybuilder. He trained between three and six days a week, alternating what amounted to powerlifting and bodybuilding days.  If he was training six days a week, Hennessey would do all three power lifts on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, then assistance movements on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (Ditillo), and if he was training four days a week, he'd train heavy on Tuesdays and Thursdays and do "light" bodybuilding stuff on Thursdays and Sundays" (Hollister).  As you'll see, "light" is an exceptionally relative term when it comes to Hennessey's training, and no matter what the day, Hennessey always had the bench press in mind- it was his baby, and he treated it like a tiny little baby Jesus with bones made of glass and the brain of Stephen Hawking.


In spite of having his bench in mind at all times, Hennessey's routines were as esoteric as those of The Black Panther.  Whatever he was doing on the heavy days, Hennessey would focus on the big three lifts, but he'd never know if he was doing low reps, high reps, or attempting a new max until he go to the gym.  Unlike some of the people you'll read about who apparently never laid in bed at night and wondered , "what could I put up off the platform", Hennessey was all about living in dreamworld like he just slid off the paint-spilled set of What Dreams May Come, and hit 590 on the bench in the gym right around the time he hit 571 in a meet.  Likewise, he bested his meet best on the squat (690) with a massive unwrapped 740, and pulled a full 45 lbs more in the gym than he did in a meet, all while casually demonstrating an easy set of ten with the 150s any time he decided to show off a bit and do some dumbbell clean and presses (Parrillo).


For his heavy work, Mel liked to mix it up like he was the unnamed founding member of Girl Talk.  After completing anywhere from 10-20 heavy sets on the big three, he would utilize partials in the rack, negatives, isometrics, and heavy supports (Ditillo Milo).  As he did with all of his movements, Hennessey kept his reps incredibly strict and deliberate, though that is not to say he didn't train like a manic.  In the power rack, he'd pick a "zone" in which to work, and would begin by doing rep rep sets in that range of motion.  Over time, he would gradually increase the weight used in that "zone", keeping his reps just as high until he was doing extremely heavy partials for high repetitions in what had formerly been weaker than a WHO aid worker in Liberia a week after their suit punctured.  Staying in the three to five range year-round is a mistake, according to Hennessey- high rep partials bring far more benefit than low reps due to their positive effect on tendon and ligament strength, and don't come with the same joint pain and stiffness that low reps will give you (Ditillo Milo).

5'5" and 240 lbs in this pic.  Dat thickness.

Hennessey's light days resembled Nubret's workouts more than your average "fuck machines and the fucking horse they rode in on" powerlifter might expect- Hennessey focused as much on appearance as he did on performance on those days.  He'd generally start with his "day brighteners", which would include things like the good morning, working up to a single heavy set of five with 325, and then move onto his favorite lift- the close grip bench press, on which he works up to 360 for a set of five, jump setting with high rep lat pulldowns (Hollister) for between eight and rep reps of around twenty sets.  Yeah, that's right- 20 or so sets of 8-20 reps, or between 160 and 400 reps on lat pulldowns.


Nor is he done there- sticking with his method of using ultra-strict form, just as he does on the bench press, Hennessey then loves onto lateral raises, starting with the 70s and working his way up to the 150s, and then polishes off his day with situps and barbell curls with around 125 for 3 sets of 6 (Ditillo, Hollister).  Though the exercises were never absolutely consistent, Hennessey always used a wide variety of dumbbell movements because they allowed much greater range of motion, which Hennessey believed would "give the muscular areas and joints will promote flexibility which will enable a more forceful contraction and explosion during the performance of a lift" (Ditillo).  They also allowed Hennessey to achieve his ultimate goal, which was a physique without any weak links- by training as a bodybuilder and working at a variety of ranges of motion, angles, and planes of movements, Hennessey ensured that there would be no tiny neglected muscle groups that would impede his progress due to omission, or the haughty shirking seen amongst powerlifters and American Olympic weightlifters these days, most of whom seem to think they're too good and too strong to touch a cable or a Hammer Strength machine (Ditillo).


As this is an article about bench pressing, I suppose I might as well divulge Hennessey's favorite bench press assistance exercises, lest you guys decide to abduct and behead me like I'd suggested to an ISIS fan that a caliphate in the 21st century was a pretty fucking stupid idea.  The movements Hennessey used to increase his bench were not unlike those found in any 1970s bodybuilding routine- heavy front dumbbell raises, ultra-heavy side lateral raises, lying laterals for rear delts, dumbbell concentration curls, dips, lying and standing triceps extensions (on which he worked up to a ridiculous 300 lbs), pushdowns, pulldowns, and bent over rows with dumbbells, on which he always started out light and finished with a set of 5-10.


Not unlike what some current powerlifters do, Hennessey would front-load his program with assistance work and then gradually reduce it as the contest drew near, to allow for more heavy bench pressing.  He felt that the assistance movements initially hold back your one rep max in the bench, but they build a very strong foundation, so when you reduce the assistance movements and focus more on the heavy singles, the increased mass from dumbbell work allowed him to handle far bigger poundages (Ditillo).  That is the problem with most lifters, in Hennessey's mind- most guys avoid the assistance work at the beginning and focus too heavily on training the big three exclusively, which just leads them to hit their limits faster and limits their overall gains.  Training the way he did, however, steady and consistent gains over time were always coming.

On tit size alone I'm giving her a 200 lb bench.

So, there you have it- two examples of guys with completely disparate goals and physiques, yet they both managed 500 lb bench presses without the aid of dead Russians, stupid internet programs, form check videos, or ultimately useless information from Pubmed.  Instead, they built their badass bench presses through brutally hard work, doing what they enjoyed, and actively thinking about, modifying, and adapting their training to their needs.  Lemmings don't bench press 500.  Bad motherfuckers do.  Stop being a tiny fucking rodent and get your honey badger on.


Sources:
Ditillo, Anthony.  Bench Pressing with Hennessey.  The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban.  29 Mar 2014.  Web.  10 Jul 2014.  http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2014/03/bench-pressing-with-hennessey-anthony.html

Ditillo, Athony.  The training wisdom of Mel Hennessey.  Milo.  1997 Mar; 4(4):96-99.

Hollister, Vernon.  Mel Hennessey, Bench Press King.  The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban.  21 Jul 2008.  http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2008/07/mel-hennessey-bench-press-king.html

Leistner, Ken.  History of powerlifting, weightlifting, and strength training- part 36.  Titan Support Systems.  13 Sep 2013.  Web.  10 Jul 2014.  http://titansupport.com/blog/history-of-powerlifting-weightlifting-and-strength-training-part-36/

Overhead Pressing with Barbells and Dumbbells: The Once and Future KING of Shoulder Development.  Parillo Performance Press.  26 Sep 2008.  Web.  17 Jul 2014.  http://www.parrilloperformance.com/2008/09/26/overhead-pressing-with-barbells-dumbbells-the-once-future-king-of-shoulder-development/

Perine, Shawn.  The late Serge Nubret.  Musclemag.  Web.  21 Jul 2014.  http://www.musclemag.com/the-late-serge-nubret/

Pride, Victor.  Serge Nubret’s Old School Workout Routine.  Bold and Determined.  2 Feb 2011.  Web.  31 July 2014.  http://boldanddetermined.com/2011/02/02/serge-nubrets-old-school-workout-routine/