Peary Rader, ‘The History of These Methods’, The Rader Master Bodybuilding and Weight Gaining System (1946)


It is not customary for the history of a course to be given, but the history of the methods taught herein is so definite, inspiring and easily traced that we believe it will be of great value and interest to the reader. It will likewise give him an idea of what results have been obtained by others and what he, himself, might expect. It will also give him assurance that this is not the hasty brainchild of one man interested only in placing of a few sheets of instructions on the market for the sole purpose enhancing his own finances.

This course, you will find, is the culmination of the combined efforts of the great mass of the body- culturists of the world, in their search for the best methods in the past 30 years.

One of the strongest mortals known to history was Milo of Croton. History tells us that when a youth, Milo desired to become the strongest man in all Greece. Knowing that he could not become strong merely by desiring to be strong, he determined to build up strength and development by making his exercise progressively harder. In order to accomplish this, he chose a young calf and carried this around the stadium on his shoulders every day until the calf had become a full grown bull, and Milo had achieved his ambition and become, not only the strongest man in Greece, but in all the world. Thus was born the progressive weight system of bodybuilding.


Milo of Croton

Down through the years this method has slowly been refined and perfected until we have our modern, adjustable plate loading weights known as barbells and dumbbells. Used with the most modern and scientific methods, they have become the most effective and desirable means of developing a perfect physique, great strength and superb health.

Weightlifting and barbell exercise has been known and practiced in this country for many years. However, it remained for Alan Calvert to start “Strength” magazine in the early part of this century. In the past 50 years since, barbell exercise has made astounding gains until it is, at present, the most universally practiced method of developing a perfect physique.

As is to be expected, many methods have been developed and practiced with barbells – all of them having merit. However, it was soon evident that there were some types of physiques that absolutely refused to respond to any of the regular courses. Also many exercisers were dissatisfied with the speed with which they were progressing.

It was shortly after the First World War that there came to this country a German weightlifter by the name of Henry Steinborn. He was considered the strongest man in the world at that time and as he trained at Sigmund Klein’s gym, where most of the notable in the game trained frequently at that time, it was observed that he always performed and emphasized the value of the squat – always doing many repetitions with very heavy weights. Klein began using it himself and on his pupils with very pleasing results. Mark Berry, then editor of “Strength” Magazine, sometimes trained at Klein’s gym and soon became a devotee of the squat. Previous to this time he had been quite famous as a lifter but could never bring his weight up over 130 lbs. as he desired. However, with the use of the squat he soon reached 180 lbs. and a fine development. Mr. Berry began publicizing this exercise program through “Strength” magazine and “Strong Man” magazine. Rudy Gambacorta was one of his first successes – making very fast gains in a short time. Shortly after this, J.C. Hise of Homer, Ill., being dissatisfied with his development, weighing about 180 lbs. at 5’8” after years of barbell training, decided to try the methods Berry advocated. The results were so great that no one was willing to believe him, for he had gained 29 lbs. in on month’s time. The bodybuilders of America owe a great deal to the experiments and publicity on the squat as given by Mr. Berry and Mr. Hise. At a still later date Roger Eels of Columbus, Ohio did much to develop the squat or deep knee bend program. He used this method in his bodybuilding studio in Columbus. His studio was famed for giving most rapid gains to the pupils.


Sig Klein

It was at the time Berry and Hise started their work with the squat that the author became interested in this program through early writings of Berry. Up to this time, after years of effort, he had utterly failed to gain a pound of bodyweight or an inch of development tho he had tried all the different methods and coursed he could obtain. This new application of barbell exercise and special diet appealed to him and he at once adopted it an began obtaining the first results of his life. Imagine his great joy when he gained 10 lbs. in one month, after years of failure. He subsequently gained over 75 lbs. in the following two years. He acquired great strength and development that enabled him to win the Mid-Western Heavyweight lifting title for 8 years (or until he turned professional in order that he might teach others the amazing and valuable methods he had learned).

During all the years since that time the author of this course has taught men, both by mail and personally, using variations of this method. He has done much experimenting and research. It is largely due to his efforts that this type of barbell exercise has reached its present high state of perfection. It is universally recognized by experts everywhere as the quickest and surest method of attaining great development, strength, and perfect health. It is today the most used program in body culture studios throughout America.

Almost every famous strongman, weightlifter, and perfect man of recent years has used this program at some time during his exercise career in order to make great increases in his development and strength and health. To cite only a few – Terlazzo, one of the world’s greatest lifters, used it to bring his weight up from 132 lbs. to 150 lbs. and become the world’s greatest lightweight lifter. John Davis, for 12 years the world’s strongest man, used it to bring his weight up from 180 lbs. to over 220 lbs. Louis Abele, one of the world’s greatest lifters, is a product of this program. John Grimek once used it to bring his bodyweight up 12 lbs. in one week and the squat has always been an important exercise in his programs. Most of the present day winners of perfect man contests will tell you that the squat program has figured prominently in the development of their superb physiques.

The man who is recognized by all as the strongest man who ever lived, Paul Anderson, stated out as an average boy and did almost nothing else but the squat for the first year or so of his training. While on this program he became famous for his strength and today, in 1956, he is amazing the world with his unbelievable feats of strength and his massive muscular development. He has reached a squat poundage of over 900 lbs. and it is expected that he will eventually reach 1,000 lbs. Most of his great power and development is the result of a program similar to what you will find in this course. Of course, not everyone will want the massive size of Paul, but the happy part about barbell exercise is that you can stop at any stage of development you wish, and where you will be satisfied. You can then maintain this state of development the rest of your life with a minimum of training with the weights.


Paul Anderson

A few men have used this program in an effort to determine how much weight could be gained, and have gone up to around 300 pounds. Of course, at this bodyweight, they possessed some fatty tissue, as it is not normal for anyone to weigh this much in muscular condition. The condition of these few has led to the belief in some quarters that program will make a fat man of you. However, this idea is fostered by the opponents of this method and has no foundation in fact whatsoever, as can be seen from the marvelous muscular physiques of such men as Grimek, Terlazzo, Eels, Abele, Davis, Baptiste, Steinborn, Terry, Santo Leone, Lurie, Horvath, Donovan, Fritzman, Loprinzi, Fay and a host of others.

We must consider, also, that there are different types of physiques. Some men possess a thick skin and even when trained down fine they appear to have fat on them and there is little they can do about it. You can’t change your body type but you can acquire perfection for your physical type. Both types are very beautiful when fully developed. The other type has a very thin skin through which the very tissue and veins seem to stand out in bold relief. These men can develop a most impressive physique tho they seldom acquire the massive proportions of the smooth type. Both types have their good qualities and we should be satisfied to make the best of whatever type we have. Most people will fall in between these two extremes. You will likewise find that much of your skeletal formation is inherited and cannot be changed no matter how much you try. For instance, some of us fall into the naturally slender type. Others are of the broad, heavy type. Some have a narrow shoulder framework and can never broaden their shoulders to the extent that they will compare with the naturally broad type. There will be many other characteristics that have a similar fixed proportion. You will find, however, if you will study the matter thoroughly, that there are a few famed perfect men in every type. There are perfect men with broad shoulders – others with narrow shoulders – some heavy and some light in general build. Do not be dissatisfied with your type but try to perfect it.

You will, of course, want to know what gains you can expect from this course. This, of course, will be governed by how will you apply yourself to it and to the conditions under which you train and live. Also, your type will have something to do with it. Some men gain rather slowly and find a pound per week a good gain in bodyweight (especially is this satisfactory if you happen to be one of those many men who find it impossible to gain on any other program). Others, at the other end of the extreme, will gain, at times, as much as one pound per day. However, this is unusual. You may find that at times you will make a gain of 4 or 5 pounds in just a few days, then not gain at all for some time. It is quite common for some en to gain in such uneven tempo. Other men will sometimes find they must work out hard for quite a length of time before they will start to gain at all. In extreme cases this period has extended to three months, after which they will commence to gain quite satisfactorily. However, these are not common cases. Generally you can expect to begin gaining within a week or two if you are in good health. Some men who are in hard condition will gain more slowly, especially those who work hard physically. An office worker who is usually soft often gains very rapidly. Your diet and rest will greatly affect your gains also. So try to reason these things out and you will arrive at a reasonable estimate of what you can expect.