Tag: Bob Hoffman

Who Invented the EZ bar?

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A piece of equipment so commonplace on the gym floor that we often take its very existence for granted. That, at least, is my impression of the E-Z Bar. Having previously discussed the history of barbells, the ancient origins of the dumbbell and even the Swiss Ball for God’s sake, it’s somewhat shameful that the E-Z Bar’s history has been neglected. Especially after it helped me to rehab my elbows following an overzealous few months doing triceps extensions with a straight barbell (Not the smartest in hindsight).

So who do we credit for the EZ Bar and when exactly did this handy piece of equipment come into being?

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Bob Hoffman (1943) – How to Build Super Strength, Health and Development with the York Leg Developing Course

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Never afraid to promote his own products in line with good workout advice, Bob Hoffman and York Barbell were once the go to suppliers of knowledge within the Iron Game. A position Hoffman often used to great financial and sporting advantage.

Nevertheless Bob and his team did produce some good pamphlets on training as evidenced by the following course. Aimed primarily at the beginner and intermediate, the programme stressed good form, heavy weight and progressive training as the trifecta needed to build a solid and muscular base. So without further adieu, here is Hoffman’s Leg Developing Course in an abbreviated form.

Bob Hoffman and the World’s First Protein Bar

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As many readers will no doubt be aware, protein bars have become almost ubiquitous in certain parts of the Western world, owing in part to their durability and in part to their successful advertising. Indeed, at the time of writing, I can walk five minutes to the local shop where I will be greeted by the sight of Quest, Fulfil, Yippee and Weider protein bars among others. To quote Jasper from the Simpsons…’What a time to be alive’.

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Now if we leave aside the fact that most of these bars represent nothing more than candy with a scoop of protein in it, we are still left with a hugely profitable element to the fitness industry. An element that has often been neglected by those interest in the history of health.

This element, as will become clear, is a relatively recent introduction to the world of bodybuilding and fitness more generally. Indeed, today’s post on Bob Hoffman’s Hi-Proteen Fudge reveals that one of the first precursors to the modern protein bar only came about in the early 1950s, sometime between 1953 and 1954.

Hoffman’s Ultimate Muscle Building Exercise

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If you could only perform one exercise for the rest of your training career, what would it be? Such a question plagues the online forums as an inciter for heated debates about why the deadlift or squat reigns supreme.

This question is as old as time itself, as many famous physical culturists gave their opinion on the matter quite regularly. Today we look at Bob Hoffman’s favourite muscle building exercise, the two-hand snatch.

Soy, Science and Selling: Bob Hoffman’s Hi-Proteen Powder

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will be well aware that protein powders are big business. Nowadays protein powders, bars and even brownies can be picked up in airports, gas stations and local convenience stores. Gone are the days when your Whey protein was sold in a shady part of town by a man resembling the Hulk.

According to a 2013 report by Euromonitor International, annual sales of protein powder in the US alone rose from $1,200 million to just over $2,000 million from 2008 to 2013. Furthermore the group estimated that by 2018, sales could be as high as $3, 000 million. Its big business, and despite what people many think, its a business that is becoming increasingly scrutinised.

While the FDA and other government bodies are often criticised for slackness in their testing mechanisms, the average consumer has begun to take an interest in the contents of their powder, resulting in a series of freely available test results on which supplements are the real deal.

So with all this money and scrutiny in today’s modern climate, it seems a good time to examine Bob Hoffman’s ‘Hi-Proteen’ protein powder. A supplement devised in the 1950s that lays claim to being one of the first ever bodybuilding protein powders. While today’s producers use labs and testing, Hoffman’s methods were a little more lax to say the least.

How Fast Should You Gain Weight and Size – John C. Grimek (1976)

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John Grimek was one of the greatest American weightlifters and bodybuilders of the 20th century. Nicknamed ‘The Monarch of Muscledom’, Grimek also competed for the US in the 1936 Olympics in Germany. It’s fair to say he knew something about lifting weights.

Today’s article sees Grimek discuss one of the most pressing issues in bodybuilding. How quickly should one gain weight? What’s the best methods? And when is bulking a bad idea? His responses may surprise you….

Judging a Physique Contest

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This article first appeared in Bob Hoffman’s Strength and Health Magazine in 1957. It details the point scoring for the precusors for today’s modern bodybuilding shows. Of particular interest are the categories dealing with muscularity and athleticism.

Many of us forget that physique competitions used to include some form of strength component dealing with the 3 big lifts (the two hand press, the two hands snatch, the two hands clean and jerk).

How would bodybuilding be today if Kai Greene and Phil Heath had to compete in the clean and jerk for the Olympia crown?

Since judging a Mister Competition has become one of the touchiest subjects in the Iron World, a great deal of time was devoted to clarifying this issue at the official AAU Convention last Fall in Los Angeles. I am going to try to briefly sum up these points for the benefit of officials who handle such contests.

Muscle and Nutrition: When Paul Bragg met Bob Hoffman

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The history of Bodybuilding and Physical Culture is full of those great ‘what if’ moments. What if Joe Gold never opened Gold’s Gym? What if Arnold never took up the sport? And what if drugs never infiltrated physique competitions?

Another great ‘what if’ moment that many of us are unaware of comes from the 1940s, when nutrition zealot Paul Bragg met with Bob Hoffman, the owner of York Barbell with a proposal to create nutritional supplements. Whilst the two men failed to collaborate, Bragg’s suggestion would later result in the birth of the modern day supplement industry.