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Opinion on Doug Hepburn?


Doug Hepburn was a champion strongman who was one big motherfucker, he was only 5'8 but weighed 280 to 300lbs and he was only a normal sized guy before he eat big and workout...he was born with a club foot but that didnt stop from becoming a champion strongman.


No question an amazing lifter, and to me he had some training ideas still of value today.

In particular I've gotten benefit from his method of taking a weight that can be lifted for four singles with a few minutes between, and then the next week go for 5x1, then 6x1, then 7x1, and then increase the weight just a little and repeat the cycle, going back to 4x1.

And also from his observation that short ROM partials should be done at much higher rep ranges than full ROM exercises, such as even 40 reps.

Definitely a pioneer and a great.


I believe that was the "power workout" he espoused as he got older, which was usually followed by a 2x5 "pump workout" the same session. IIRC he advocated "session to session" progression (an extra rep) so you'd move from 4x1 to 5x1 the very next session.

Reminds me of CT's Russian strength-skill set up :slightly_smiling:


I always liked reading advice from great lifters before the internet was a thing, their knowledge seems more based in experience than loosely promoting some ideology on the internet.


He also banged out handstand pushups all day, every day. Hanging out, as a life guard at the beach, doing handstand pushups all day.

If you miss a couple lifts, or had a bad day in the gym, he recommended going to hang out at the beach for a day or 2. While there, forget about the gym and relax. Enjoy yourself and clear your head. And eat 40 hard boiled eggs.

First to bench 500(550?) right?

Maybe a little crazy, or kinda weird or something?

Anthony Ditillo, another one of my favorites, borrows and expands on a lot of Hepburn's ideas.


Yeah, it's almost uncanny how gaining 125+ pounds of bodyweight, pressing 300+ overhead, benching 500, and squatting 700+ will reshape a body.

First to 500, yep. Supposedly did 580 raw in the gym a few times.

He definitely had some interesting, bare-bones advice for training. A lot of guys do seem to respond well to the layout he generally recommended, like Bill and DB mentioned.


You do a great job Chris! Thanks for all your effort.


1000% agree. It's to the point where I'm just no longer surprised when I read something from the early-1900s and realize that it's still being used.

In the 1920s, Alan Calvert was writing about floor presses for triceps strength, lateral raises and bent-over laterals for building shoulder size, thick bar training for grip and forearms, it's ridiculous.

Ha, thanks man. I do try.


That's interesting. I never ran across that bit of knowledge before.


There's a book, "Hepburn's Law" that's available as a PDF online if you search for it.

There's also a number of bits in articles by Charles A Smith discussing Hepburn, since Smith was involved with some of Hepburn's programming when he was competitive.

There's also information on this site discussing a bastardized Hepburn routine, with further discussion by a user name TwiceBorn who describes the A, B, and C routines and some of Hepburn's philosophies later in life. Here's that discussion: http://tnation.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding_article/hepburn_solution_for_strength_and_power_1

He was a very impressive lifter, and also seemed to be a fairly introverted and socially awkward guy. Growing up self-conscious with a club foot and vision problems can do that to you. He put a lot of emphasis on the mental component of lifting.

In general, his approach seemed to be about accumulating volume with a weight before increasing that weight, and switching up programming as soon as things started to plateau. Keep the same lifts, just program them a bit differently. He also put focus on developing both the "strength" capacity in the 1-3 rep range, and "size" capacity in the 4-6 rep range. Sometimes in the same workout, sometimes in different workouts, sometimes in alternating training cycles.

One of the more important takeaways was that he focused on long term term results and gradual progressions instead of the more peak and trough approach that many other lifters take.

Somewhat interesting is that for the overhead press, over time he gravitated toward 8 sets of 2-3 reps, which is almost exactly the same as John Davis and Ronald Walker, both of whom were also phenomenal overhead pressers.


Excellent distillation Lorez.


I didnt know he did bodyweight exercises such as handstand push ups, doing those at 280 to 300lbs is very impressive, it sure kicks out the therory that you need to be skinny to be great at push ups.


He may have done even more gymnastic stuff. I don't know for sure.

But I have seen a picture of Big Doug standing with his arms held out to the front, while his homeboy does a handstand on Hepburns' wrists.


What do you think Doug Hepburn's body fat was?


Paul Anderson's ROM progression training used the same theory. The higher ROM portion would have much higher reps, and as ROM was increased, reps were dropped.


What do you guys think doug hepburn's body fat was?


Years ago I read an article about, but not by Hepburn. The article mentioned Hepburn visiting Paul Anderson, maybe down in Georgia? I can't remember the exact wording, and I don't want to but words in anyone's mouth; but who-ever wrote the article quoted Hepburn as saying something like when Anderson sat down his thighs and ass were like completely round, like he was "sitting on a ball" or something like that. Basically, he was calling Paul Anderson fat. So less fat than Paul Anderson.

-Punisher, have you ever tried the old-school back lifts like Anderson? Just a super-heavy, full body partial lockout type move? It's like the heaviest, shortest range "lift." Or just heavy partial squats in the rack or anything?


I have done tons of heavy partial squats in the rack, but no backlifts. I have seen them in strongman comps on occasion, so maybe one day. Apparently, squat suits can help.


Not suprised, he looked one big blob when he sat down, paul anderson weighed over 400lbs lol.


Speaking of old-timers, you guys all know about this, right?

The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban