Author: Conor Heffernan

Conor is Assistant Professor of Physical Culture and Sport Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. When not in the library or the gym, he likes to try his hand at writing, often with mixed results.

Running by John McCallum (1967)

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Known more for his incredible bulking routines than a love of aerobics, the following article comes from John McCallum, one of physical culture’s best known writers in the twentieth-century. Seeking to marry aerobic and anaerobic forms of exercise, the article (first published in 1967) is an interesting reminder that the idea of ‘cardio’ having a place in bodybuilding has a long rooted history.

Vancouver is the third largest city in Canada. It’s nestled on the west coast about 25 miles north of the American border, with the blue Pacific on one side of it and snow capped mountains on the other. “Where else,” the natives say, “can you lie on the beach all morning and ski in the mountains half an hour later?”

The northern tip of the city consists of 1000 square acres of sylvan beauty. It’s called Stanley  Park, and it draws people like a magnet. On a Sunday afternoon you can see everything from a busload of nuns feeding the monkeys to 300 hippies holding a love-in.

Dan Duchaine’s Bodyopus diet

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Known as the Steroid Guru during the 1990s, Dan Duchaine was one of bodybuilding’s most outspoken commentators during the birth of mass monster. Controversial to the highest degree, Duchaine’s career spanned prison sentences, coaching and television appearances with an impressive regularity.

While much has been written about Duchaine, not all of it true mind you, two things are clear. He was sincere about bodybuilding and he knew an awful lot.

Today’s post highlights the general diet advice given in Duchaine’s seminal 1996 book Underground Bodyopus: Militant Weight Loss & Recomposition.

Most famous for its cyclical Keto approach, the book included a beginner and intermediate diet. All of which will be covered today. 

Forgotten Exercises: The Roman Column

While many exercises, such as the squat, appear to be timeless in the lore of exercise history, there are many movements and machines that fall away with the sands of time.

Today’s post looks at the Roman Column, an inverted strongman exercise created in the mid-eighteenth century and used by famous performers such as Eugen Sandow and his mentor, Professor Atilla.

What is the Roman Column?

Bodybuilding Pioneers: Launceston Elliot

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Born in Scotland in 1874, Launceston Elliot is perhaps more famous for his contributions to the world of weightlifting than bodybuilding. His fame in the weightlifting community, as readers of this blog will be aware, came from his gold weightlifting medal at the 1896 Athens Olympics. Similarly the course of his athletic career saw the powerful Scotsman set and break, a number of weightlifting records.

Nevertheless, Elliot’s achievements were far reaching as he appears to have been the first man to win a physique contest in Great Britain. While much has been made of Sandow’s Great Competition (1901) and its role in furthering bodybuilding’s status amongst the general public, it is arguable that without Elliot’s precedent, Sandow’s idea may never have come to the fore.

Louis Abele Training Programme

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Although unknown to the modern olympic lifter, Abele was one of America’s finest lifters during the 1940s and 1950s. Unfortunately he was overshadowed by fellow US lifters John Grimek, Steve Stanko, and John Davis during the course of his career. Similarly the outbreak of the Second World War denied Abele the chance to lift at the 1940 Olympic Games, a time when he would have been in his prime.

Nevertheless, Abele’s lifting career saw him put up some rather impressive poundages as you’ll read about.

With regards to training philosophy, Abele was a strong advocate of specialisation and high intensity training. Illustrating this, Abele tells the reader that he once exercised so hard that his teeth hurt from breathing! A level of intensity unrivalled by many today.

The text itself comes from a series of letters written by Abele to Chester O. Teegarden which were published by Iron Man Industries of Alliance, Nebraska in 1948.

The Training Programmes of Louis Abele