T Nation

Hoffman Program 1943

The following ten execises are from the Bob Hoffman “Simplified System of Barbell training.” They are written here just as he wrote them in his course. Which was published around 1943:

  1. Two Hands Pull up

  2. Side To Side Bend

  3. Two Hands Regular Curl

(Weight increase of 50%)

  1. Stiff Leg Dead Lift

  2. Two Hands Military Press

  3. Shoulder Shrug

(Weight increase of 50%)

  1. Rowing Motion

  2. Raise On Toes

  3. Straddle Lift

  4. Regular Deep Knee Bend

In his “advanced course” he also has 51 rules for success. Some of them are amazingly accurate even by todays standards. For example: "Don’t train on the “nerve.” An obvious reference to over training the CNS.

I was very impressed with Hoffman and what he knew as far back as the 1930’s.
If anyone is interested I will post more.

This is a very good approach to function in the same way as Chad Waterbury’s TBT. You train three rep-ranges. First you take a heavy weight range for one workout, then you split it in half, raise the reps and you have your medium workout. Then do the same again and you have your high rep endurance-style workout.

I’m interested. Support the post people, or else!

I’m interested too

Please, more info!

Although Hoffman’s stuff is not so old, compared to a few sources I’ve read.

I’m a real history buff (history of weightlifting and all that), so any “new” information is always good to get.

I’ve read books by Sandow, by Hoffman, Blaikie (1800?s)…and the list goes on. What surprised me when I first read these was that some of the terms used today are really at least a century old, like “progressive resistance training” and “personal training”. Even protein powder was known to Sandow (“plasmon”, or as it is known today; casein). Even the eating 5-6 times a day stuff, the low carb “modern fad” too.

Oh, and you get most of these books for free on sandowplus.co.uk… Happy smurfing! =)

Did you read “How To Get Strong” By Blaikie? If so were you shocked to see that they had “weight lifting machines” as far back as the 1860’s? I know I was.

By the way, ZEB. I was wanting to ask you about the Blaikie book. Is it a training reference or a trip down the history lane?
In other words, is there something novel…err unique in the training/diet aspect that one may learn from it?

Because I think I saw a re-release on Amazon.

[quote]w2097 wrote:
By the way, ZEB. I was wanting to ask you about the Blaikie book. Is it a training reference or a trip down the history lane?
In other words, is there something novel…err unique in the training/diet aspect that one may learn from it?

Because I think I saw a re-release on Amazon.[/quote]

w2097:

I have an original copy that my wife gave me for Christmas one year.

The book is packed with incredibile ideas. Some certainly antiquated. Others are erily accurate even by todays standards.

After reading pretty extensively the literature from years ago it’s plain to see that there really is (almost) nothing new under the sun. Blaikie talked about twice per day training in 1879!

What “Science” is proving today in large part are things that the old timers new instinctively years ago…not everything but most things.

I’ll be posting more on Bob Hoffman and his 51 criterion. You will love it!

Zeb summed up Hoffman’s program pretty well. For those looking for additional detail, try this site:

http://www.sandowplus.co.uk/Competition/Hoffman/hoffmanindex.htm

[quote]ZEB wrote:
I’ll be posting more on Bob Hoffman and his 51 criterion. You will love it!
[/quote]

The 51 criterion are from Hoffman’s book “York Advanced Methods of Weight Training”

[quote]T-Bone2 wrote:
Zeb summed up Hoffman’s program pretty well. For those looking for additional detail, try this site:

http://www.sandowplus.co.uk/Competition/Hoffman/hoffmanindex.htm[/quote]

T-Bone2:

Yes…it’s the Hoffman site I was referring to. Thanks for posting it!

[quote]ZEB wrote:
Yes…it’s the Hoffman site I was referring to. Thanks for posting it!
[/quote]
It is fairly instructive to review his material. As you mentioned, what worked over half a century ago is applicable today. In addition, it is great to see his works posted in their entirety.

ZEB,

WOW! Great site (and links). I’ve become more and more interested in the history of “physical culture” in the West.

This post was perfect timing. I just spent a couple of hours on there, and that was just browsing around and getting used to the site! What a treasure trove!

THANKS,

Crowbar


This is something I never really looked into: Isometric Holds. Anyone tried them?

CT has a whole article on isometrics. I forget exactly what its called, but part of his “canadian cannons” workout (the second half) is just three variations of preacher curl isometrics. One is a 90 degree arm angle, one is fully flexed (bar near your face) and one is 2 inches from max stretch. Hold each for 50 seconds, and then do 10 dumbell curls. Wait one minute…repeat. Do each variation 3 times. Good luck buddy. Did my arms grow? My arms grew one inch in 8 weeks.

For me, that’s impressive. I have not tried isometrics for anything else but abs.

Thanks man. Wow, 50 seconds is kinda scary! Hoffman recommends 6-12 seconds with near maximal weights. I’ll try to do a search on it.

[quote]w2097 wrote:
This is something I never really looked into: Isometric Holds. Anyone tried them?[/quote]

I did a bit of research into isometric holds a few years ago. The bottom line is they made you stronger, but only in the exact position of the isometric hold. Not a bad thing, but I wonder if the time is better spent eleswhere. Not sure …

The following is a program from “Lionel Strongfort” who sold Barbell courses and was a strongman in the early 1920’s.

His words:

  1. Exercise one-With heels together, lift the barbell with palms turned forward or upward, then with the arms alone slowly raise it to the shoulders. The elbows should feel free at the sides. Lower to arms length, and repeat until tired, always slowly. Then do the same thing with the palms turned the other way, downward a few times more. For the biceps, also the forearms.

(A slow barbell curl and reverse curl)

  1. Lift the barbell high over head, then lower it behind the head until it rests upon the shoulders. Then bend the knees and lower the body repeat until thighs tire. Go down as low as you can each time.

(In other words squat deeply)

  1. Stand erect, (something you can’t say anymore in a sex obsessed society ;)with the barbell resting upon the shoulders, back of the neck. Then rise as high as possible upon the toes, repeating until tired. For the calves.

(obviously a calf raise-something that most would not think the oldtimers cared much about, but they did)

  1. Standing with one foot well back, body well balanced, and barbell at position back of the neck. Push slowly straight upward to arms length over head a number of times, or until tired. For shoulder muscles, and extensor muscles of the arms.

(A behind the neck press. Notice how he emphaiszes balance)

  1. Lie on the back, with barbell against the top of the head. Now raise it to position above the chest, with elbows on the floor.

(The above is a Bench Press from the floor, something Louie Simmons has brought back into vogue.)

Basically the man is telling us to do Deep Squats, Floor “Benching,” Behind the neck Presses, Barbell Curls & Reverse Curls and Calf Raises. And, to do them slowly until you are tired. I have to assume “until you are tired” means that he does not recommend going to failure. You obviously get “tired” much sooner than you actually “fail.” Hey …how did they know about all of this in the 1920’s? Where is the science to prove all of this? Ha ha.

The web page below will also show photos along with the program above. Check it out!

http://www.sandowplus.co.uk/Competition/Strongfort/advanced/advancedcourse/advcourse.htm

eb-
#5 (Lie on the back, with barbell against the top of the head. Now raise it to position above the chest, with elbows on the floor. )
sounds more like a pullover than a floor press.
The barbell against the top of the head I take to mean on the floor ‘above’ the head, not resting on top of the head (and who would bench from there anyway?) :slight_smile:

If you can get your hands on a copy of the Poliquin Principals, there is a great power rack arm workout utilizing isometrics. There may be and article on this site, but I’m not sure.

[quote]ZEB wrote:
w2097 wrote:
This is something I never really looked into: Isometric Holds. Anyone tried them?

I did a bit of research into isometric holds a few years ago. The bottom line is they made you stronger, but only in the exact position of the isometric hold. Not a bad thing, but I wonder if the time is better spent eleswhere. Not sure …

[/quote]

I would think there would some way to incorporate this and help gain strength. I don’t know for sure. I don’t know much about isometric holds nor have I ever done them.

Let’s take the bicep curl for a simple example of what I’m thinking. We do a curl with some holds throughout the motion. Begin in the starting postion(makes sense, huh) with the bar in the “down” position and arms extended.

Begin the curl. Stop a few inches after your elbows break the full extension. If fully extended is 180 degrees, maybe this would be 150-160 degrees.

I don’t know what time frames are effective for holds, but hold it for whatever that is. Then begin curling upwards.

Then stop at 90 degrees. Hold and curl. Stop just before full flexion and hold.

Finish moving up then begin the eccentric part of the lift. Now, on the way down, hold at the halfway point between full flexion and 90 degrees. Maybe at 45-60 degrees.

Hold, then lower. Again, stop halfway between you two holds on the concentric part of the lift, probably around 120-130 degrees. Then lower and repeat the whole process.

Now, those that just read that; please understand, this is not something I’m telling you to try, it’s not something I know works. I don’t know if it works. It’s something I just thought of sitting here, right now.

The idea behind my theory is like this. ZEB says isometric make you stronger, but only at the point of the hold. If he’s right I would think that it’s not that exact and you would get some carryover through the motion. Maybe only an inch or two in either direction, but that’s still carryover.

If I did nothing to work my bicep but 90 degree holds, I would get good at 90 degree holds. But, I also think I would get good 90 degrees plus 1-2 inches and 90 degrees minus 1-2 inches. I don’t think there would be any dropoff in strength in such a short distance. I do however think that I wouldn’t be nearly as strong if I went further from 90 dergees.

Again, keep in mind, this is not science, or something I have tried. This is just an idea I think might work based on what I do know.

So using the above ideas, curling with 5 holds along the way, each hold having a strngth carryover effect of 1.5 inches in either direction(I think I’m being conservative with this number), gives a strength increase along 15 inches of the curl.

Using myself as an exapmle, I curl the bar in 29 inch arc. If the above idea works like i think it would, I just increased my curling strength in over half my range of motion. And it’s throughout the range of motion, not just top or bottom half strength.

Now, like I’ve said, I don’t know if this works or not. And even if it does work the strength gained might not be very significant. You might make better gains with something else. I’m just suggesting that there might be some untapped ideas in isometrics. Well, maybe not “untapped”, but at least lesser known. I would reallylike to hear one of the writers’ thoughts and ideas on the subject.

I’m trying to build a higher bicep peak,
Toddy