Tag Archives: weightlifter

Hepburn’s Law by Doug Hepburn

Hepburn’s Law by Doug Hepburn

Full reproduction now available in our Library. Subscribe by visiting www.davidgentle.com  

If you are interesting in acquiring a downloadable PDF of this course, please contact us.

Introduction by Peter Yates, HOPC Editor

As a youngster there was nothing to suggest the latent potential possessed by Doug Hepburn. However once he had commenced training he promised himself to become the strongest man in the world. In order to achieve this end he embarked on various methods of training, while keeping detail of the results, discarding what was not useful and creating a system that worked from that which obviously worked for him. He became one of the very strongest men of all time and remained so for most of his life.

It had a similar effect for others who put the necessary time and effort into his programs. Hepburn’s system is not flashy but is based on solid training principles which if followed will cut out a lot of wasted effort in a trainee’s quest for both increased strength and muscle size. This is a system for building a firm foundation from which other types of training may be employed. If you are seeking real world power and muscular size look no further than Hepburn’s Law.

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George Walsh by Roger Fillary

18 Year Old George Walsh l  Contributed by Ron Tyrrell

The late George Walsh as his youth.   He had been under the physical direction of W.A. Pullum a matter of two years or so, his age at this time being 18.

By this time his tubercular condition  had been changed to one which medical opinion certified to be free from its attack.  His general physical appearance – plus the powers of that appearance – confirmed the accuracy of that diagnosis.

Throughout life onward, he never suffered recurrence of the affliction.



Height 5′ 11″, weight 174 pounds, neck 16 inches, chest 44 inches, waist 30 inches, biceps 14.5 inches, forearms 12 inches, thighs 23 inches, calves 14.5 inches

Best Lifts

  • One hand clean and bent press- 220 lbs,

  • One hand bent press (two hands to shoulder style) – 239.5 lbs.

  • Two hands snatch – 210 lbs

  • Two hands clean and jerk- 210 lbs.

  • Two hands Continental jerk – 290 lbs.
    (c)George Walsh by Roger Fillary

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Lieutenant J.P. Muller K.D. (1866 – 1938) by Roger Fillary

J. P. Muller was a Danish all-round amateur athlete. From 1904 onwards he won 134 prizes across almost every possible branch of sports and athletics.

In 1904 he wrote the first of a series of best selling books entitled ‘My System’. This was translated and first published in England in 1905. It was eventually translated into a total of 24 languages, went through many revisions and reprints and achieved, according to the publishers, the largest sale of any book on Health Exercise ever published. It was certainly in print well after his death in 1938.

Muller went on to write a whole series of other books based on his ‘system’ and some of them now appear on this site.

Among many of the prestigious awards achieved by Muller was a Knighthood of the Order of the Dannebrog bestowed by the King of Denmark in 1919.

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Antone Matysek (1892 – 1963)


Antone Matysek began teaching in 1910 at the age of 18 and was most active between 1914 and 1925.  In 1922 he won the ‘Strongest Man in America’ award. During that period of the early 20s he appeared as a professional strongman in an act featuring posing and Muscle Control.

One of his specialties was a single-handed lift of a custom built bicycle that held ‘three furious pedaling riders’  He published a popular book on Muscle Control and also ran one of the many mail-order bodybuilding courses in the 20s.  He died in 1963 at the age of 71.

Excerpt from ‘Mighty Men of Old’, Vol. I

“Perhaps the best known physique to American strength fans of a generation age was that of Antone Matysek of Baltimore. The old “Strength” magazine never tired of showing his superb figure. Matysek won many prizes for his photographed poses.

He held the American record in the bent press with 241 pounds. He also could clean and bent press 200 (without the opposite hand coming in contact with his barbell at any time). In cleaning a weight to the shoulders, Matysek used the reverse grip, in other words his palm faced out stead of in, thus when the bar was at his shoulder his palm still faced out and it was necessary for him to duck his head under the bar in order to be in the proper position to either jerk or bent press.

Another favorite stunt of Anton’s was the shoulder stand which he set a record in. He would lie flat on his back, pull a barbell across his face until over the chest, bring his feet under the bar, let go with his hands, press the bell upwards by straightening the legs – then raise his body until he was balanced on his shoulders and the back of his head. He succeeded with 275 pounds in this manner.

Matysek performed a reverse two hands curl with a barbell having a three inch handle weighing 88 pounds. When a professional on the stage his favorite feat was the holding at arm’s length one hand, 500 pounds. He would walk across the stage supporting three men on a tandem bicycle. He was a muscle-control expert and had few, if any peers.

Matysek had just an average build when he started weight training but after several years with barbells his physique was so outstanding that he became the leading model and poser for the old Milo Barbell Catalogue. In those days Milo was the largest manufacturer of weights in the world and many a young bodybuilder was first inspired by those wonderful Matysek photos. Matysek is at present a member of the Baltimore Police force.

The Police Force must hold a fascination for retiring strongmen for there are quite a few muscled minions of the law throughout the world.”

(c) Excerpt from ‘Mighty Men of Old’, Vol. I

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Earle E. Liederman 1886 – 1970

Earle Liederman had a highly successful mail-order bodybuilding course throughout the 20s. He was originally inspired by Sandow and they became close business associates. Two accounts of his meetings with Sandow can be found elsewhere on this website.

He claimed many famous pupils including no less than Angelo Siciliano (Charles Atlas), George Jowett, Arthur Hyson, Abe Boshes and others. After World War II he became editor of Muscle Power magazine and wrote many articles on the subject.

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Siegmund Klein (1902 – 1987)

Siegmund Klein began bodybuilding at the age of 15 after reading Physical Culture & Strength magazines. He purchased his first barbell in 1919 He was a disciple of Maxick and early on obtained his book ‘Muscle Control’ as well as books by Saldo & Apollo.

Siegmund Klein postcard

Klein performing handstand.

Klein married Prof. Louis Atilla’s youngest daughter and took over running Atilla’s gym in 1927.  Much admired for his excellent physique, his photographs appeared in numerous publications including Bonomo’s ‘Building Body Power’ course.

Strength and Health magazine, Dec. 1940

Some Notes on Sig Klein’s Career

(Extracted from Super Physique – circa 1945)

SIEGMUND KLEIN was born in West Prussia, on April 10th 1902. Unlike many strength athletes, who claim to have been weaklings in youth, he was a fairly normal child, born of healthy parents. As instance the fact, that his father was possessed of more than average strength and could lift a 112-pound ring-weight from the floor with the little finger and place it on a table of normal height.

Always fond of exercise, the boy took his full share of whatever games and sports came his way and was particularly fond of lifting any heavy weights encountered in his daily work of assisting an elder brother to run a bakery business.

It is possible that the anecdotes his father was fond of relating to him of the strong men he associated with in his youth, together with the occasional display of the brawny arms and chest of his parent, created the environment that spurred the youngster to emulate these champions of the ‘Iron Game’; for he relates that whilst at work he was constantly on the watch for opportunities to test his strength.

His first barbell was purchased in in 1919 at the age of 17 years and on the very first day of its arrival he settled down to regular training, with such success that within a few months he could elevate one hundred pounds in the ‘Two Hands Press’; always a favourite lift with him.

This performance was doubled to two hundred pounds after two year’s training at a body-weight of 147lbs. His first stage appearance was at Luna Park, Cleveland, where together with a partner, he gave a show which included hand balancing and lifting, where he registered the above lift.

This was the forerunner of many stage shows, which have delighted the ‘strength’ fans of America. For Klein has a natural aptitude for this class of entertainment and one of his productions of the revue type, in which he was assisted by a team of girls, was voted one of the best shows yet staged in that land of spectacular presentations.

Strength and Health magazine, Feb. 1945

His life ambition was not however to be a stage performer, but to equip and own the finest barbell gymnasium in the States. This was partly realized in 1927, when on the death of Prof. Attila – the World Famous Strength Performer and trainer of many of the most celebrated names in the history of strength – he took over the management of his gymnasium. He married Miss Grace Attila, the charming daughter of the late Professor, thus linking the two names of renown.

He ran the business for some time, in the process of which he met practically all the barbell men of the pre-war era, and with several breaks for a vaudeville tour, he eventually resigned and opened his own gym in New York.

After a while he moved to more pretentious premises on Seventh Avenue where he really achieved his ambition. His well-equipped gymnasium is the Mecca of the strong man fraternity, for no one of note would think of passing through the city, without calling to have a chat with Sig.

Mr. Klein is just as versatile in his hobby – for he has many original ideas for improving both training and equipment – as he is in his business life, having been professional athlete, showman, writer and publisher, and now Gym, instructor and proprietor. And second to none in popularity.

His advance to fame in the ‘World of Weights’ may be seen as under:

Jan 3, 1925 Jan 3rd 1925 – Two Hands Continental Press
One Hand Snatch (body-weight 148.5 lbs)

215 lbs.
140 lbs.

June, 1926 Two Hands Snatch
Two Hands Clean
Deep Knee Bend
190 lbs.
250 lbs.
300 lbs.
(10 reps)
Feb, 1927 Two Hands Military Press
Two Hands Continental Press (body-weight 146 lbs.)
204.5 lbs.
233.5 lbs.
Jan, 1931 Two Hands Military Press (body-weight 146.5 lbs.) 221.5 lbs.
Oct 2, 1933 Two Hands Military Press behind neck
Press Flat on Back
Crucifix with Kettle Bells (right)
Crucifix with Kettle Bells (left)
(performed simultaneously)

On this occasion he pulled in to the shoulders, two 100lb. Dumbbells and performed a Seesaw Press: that is one up and up down in a strict technique (at a body-weight of 153.25 lbs. which is the heaviest weight he lifted at.)

206 lbs.
288 lbs.
63.5 lbs.
63.25 lbs.
126.75 lbs.

Measurements:  (Taken in 1945) Height – 5’4.5″; Weight – 10 st. 10 lbs.; Chest (Normal) – 44 ins.; Waist – 31ins.; Thigh – 22 ins.; Calf – 15 ins.; Biceps – 15.75 ins. (flexed); Neck – 16 ins.; Hips – 37 ins.; Wrist – 7 ins.; Forearm (straight) – 12.75 ins

Klein’s physical make-up is truly remarkable when one considers his height and weight. His muscular outline is extremely clean and well defined and this is accentuated to a marked degree when aided by his natural ability to pose his body to best advantage.

(c) Extracted from Super Physique – circa 1945

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George F. Jowett (1891 – 1969)

A Brief Biography of George F Jowett

By his Great Great Niece Kathleen Lawry

George Fiusdale Jowett was a strongman and bodybuilder of some note in the early 1900s. Later, George’s fame built as he became known as an inventor and manufacturer of sports equipment, an author of several booklets on physical training, and physical trainer, teacher and mentor to young men all over the world.

George Fiusdale Jowett was born in Bradford, Yorkshire, England, to George Jowett, a builder and joiner, and Eliza Scarborough Jowett, nee Bown, a practical nurse, on Dec. 23, 1891.

When he was six months old he fell from his mother’s lap to land against the fireplace and irons. As a result he was critically injured and hospitalized several times over the course of the next few years. Indeed, at the age of 8 his parents were told that he would not live to be 15 and that he would never walk again.

When an uncle took him to see Eugen Sandow, the famous “Hercules” of the nineteenth century, and the young George learned that Sandow, too, had once been diagnosed as fatally ill, the boy met his epiphany and was fired with the desire to follow in the footsteps of this great man. Against the advice of his doctors, the 11 year old George began physical fitness training at the Old Navy Hall in Bridlington, Yorkshire, where the family had moved to. At the age of 15, instead of meeting his expected demise, George became the international gymnastic champion in his age group, and by the age of 18 had won world titles in featherweight, lightweight and welterweight boxing, plus acclamations in both junior weight lifting and catch-weight. He was named “Best developed man in England” and later “Most Perfectly Developed Man”. These were but two of four international titles he would win in his lifetime.

George wanted very much to help other people as he had himself been helped; he began to think about creating training courses, and eventually establishing a school and training centres. He went to Europe to study with leading physical culturalists of the time (physical educationists), haunting libraries and bookstores in search of details about human anatomy.

At the age of 19 he went to Canada in search of his dream. He did not achieve it quickly. George settled in Inkerman, Ontario, where for 11 years (with the exception of a 3 year stint in the Canadian Expeditionary Forces in WWI) he toiled as a blacksmith, all the while honing his ideas on muscular development, working out ideas for physical equipment that would allow these ideas to work. The blacksmith work paid the bills; it supported himself, his wife, Bessie Hilda Bouck (Oct 1, 1896-Jan 15, 1984), an accomplished musician and vocalist, whom he married on Oct 15, 1913, and his only daughter Frances Phyllis Eliza, known as Phyllis (Apr 30, 1916- Apr 9, 199?).

Phyllis trained side by side with her father, beginning her first weight lifting at the age of two with a set of one and a half pound mahogany barbells which her father made for her. She was not allowed to watch wrestling, however, as her father deemed it “un-ladylike”. Men from miles around would came to the gymnasium above the shop where George gave lessons in wrestling, weight-lifting, and judo. He also loved to entertain at the local fairs – straightening out horse shoes, snapping chains around his body, lifting 550 lb barbells off the ground with one finger, and one-handing 160 lb anvils above his head. To Phyllis, all this seemed normal.

During these years, George continued to train and build. At 154 lbs, lifting 310 lbs, he became the first man in America to lift double his body weight. At 176 lbs, he lifted 340 lbs in a clean and jerk. At 192 lbs, he became the first North American to one-arm swing more than his own weight, pulling up 210 lbs. In Chicago, he won the title “World’s Best Developed Body”. Over the course of his lifetime, he was to win some 300 medals in all.

In 1923, George, by this time well known for both his own achievements and his perceptive writings on physical culture, was offered a job teaching physical education in Pittsburgh. From there George moved to Philadelphia, where he founded the Jowett Institute for Physical Culture, later opening offices in New York City. He established a very successful mail order business, for which he wrote and sold booklets with titles like “How to Mold a Mighty Wrist”,and “How to Mold Mighty Arms”.

One booklet, “Molding Mighty Muscles”, which sold for 25 cents, sold 25 million copies. Here, he also introduced and began manufacturing sports equipment of his own invention and design: the revolving, plate-loading barbell , the coil-spring chest expander, and the Seat of Health, a cast-iron rowing machine that could be folded into a suitcase. The latter item was so popular that song writers Mitchell Parish and Frank Perkins wrote a top hit “Seat yourself in the seat of Health and you’ll be sitting pretty all day”. In 1927, he published a book called “The Strongest Man that ever Lived”, about Louis Cyr, a Canadian strongman who was so famous that one Montreal newspaper ran a black banner headline on the day he died.

By the late 30’s, George controlled five corporations, and had offices in Australia, New Zealand, parts of Europe, Britain, and the Far East. His students included Tom Mix, the Weider brothers, and Johnny Weissmuller (Tarzan). Weissmuller was so impressed with the Seat of Health that he endorsed it free of charge.

An accident in 1940 left George with a broken back and temporary paralysis, and in its wake he began to lease out his businesses and move toward what was for him semi-retirement.

In 1945, the family returned to Canada and lived quietly, restoring Trelawny Manor, a stately house which had formerly been in his wife’s family, and whose history dated back to 1797 and United Empire Loyalist days. But George remained active; in 1956, at the age of 64, he lifted a 245 lb dumbbell above his head with one hand, much to the amazement of the reporter who captured the event on film. He worked tirelessly for his community, helping to establish the new community of Riverside Heights when the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Project led to the flooding out of their home community of Riverside in 1958. As People’s Warden of Holy Trinity Anglican Church, George led the drive to move the 200 year old church, stone by stone, from its old location to the new.

In 1968, the year before his death, George was presented with the Molson Trophy in Montreal, honouring him as the man who had contributed more than anyone else to bodybuilding.

George died of cancer on July 11, 1969 and is buried at St. Lawrence Seaway Union Cemetery. His gravestone reads, in part, “A humble man who carried his meritorious achievements with quiet dignity and thanksgiving.” George’s daughter Phyllis had no children, and in 1997 donated much of George’s memorabilia (scrapbooks, photo albums, medal, files and manuscripts) to the Todd-McLean bodybuilding/weightlifting collection at the University of Texas, including George’s anvil and the pair of one and a half pound mahogany barbells mentioned above.

(c)A Brief Biography of George F Jowett By his Great Great Niece Kathleen Lawry

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Thomas Inch (Dec. 27, 1881 to Dec. 12, 1963) by Roger Fillary

Thomas Inch was a major figure in the history of British Bodybuilding. His lifts exceeded those of Sandow, his mail order Bodybuilding courses and equipment sales exceeded all others at their peak.   it is reported that he had over 70 people working on courses and sales and over 50 typists working 6 days a week on mail order business.

He is also credited with being the first to introduce plate barbells and dumbbells. As with other famous strongmen Thomas Inch also ‘played the Halls’. The picture below showing one of his specialty feats.

He wrote many books and articles. Listed below are articles by and about him taken from Health & Strength of 1904, together with full reproductions of some of his books.

In 1954, when he was 73, W.A. Pullum wrote an article about him in ‘Bodybuilder’ Magazine entitled ‘Ambitions of the Scarborough Hercules’ There are also a range of courses and exercises both using resistance isometrics and weight/exercise equipment.

(c)Thomas Inch (Dec. 27, 1881 to Dec. 12, 1963) by Roger Fillary

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Bob Hoffman (1898 – 1985) by Gil Waldron

Bob Hoffman – athlete, nutritionist, weightlifter, coach and philanthropist – was born on a farm in Tifton, Georgia on Nov 9th 1898. His family stock was good. Bob was never the seven stone weakling claimed by other physical culturists. His father was a large strong man who liked to demonstrate the hardness of his tensed muscles. Given this it his easy to see how Bob was influenced in his formative years.

When Bob was 5 years old the family moved to Wilkinsburg near Pittsburgh where his athletic career started from a very young age. He was an exceptional athlete especially in aquatic sports – his favorite being canoeing.

The First World War saw Bob as a hero. He gained 3 Croix de Guerres with two palms and a Silver Star from France. From Belgium he was awarded The Belgian Order of Leopold and from Italy the Italian War Cross and the Purple Heart.

His business started in the 1920s, at first selling oil burners, before developing into the massive York Barbell Company.

Bob Hoffman, never a great coach or great weightlifter, was a man who influenced and guided weightlifting and bodybuilding for half a century. He died on July 18th 1985 suffering heart disease and dementia.

His writings and ideas have been criticized – we make no comment – but present them for you to form your own conclusions.
-Gil Waldron, Historian, HOPC Team

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