Tag: Chest

Pumping Iron: The History of the Bench Press

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The Bench Press, one of the most primitive and effective exercises in the weight room. Despite it’s much revered status, few of us know about the fascinating history of the bench press, a lift that evolved to suit the needs of a growing professionalism in competitive weightlifting.

Having previously examined the history of the squat, it only seems fair to look at the history of the gym rats favourite exercise.

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Lee Labrada, ‘Blast Your Chest, To Amazing Mass!’, Planet Muscle (March – April 2003).

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It was one of those rare moments where I thought I was dreaming. In fact, that would be putting it mildly! It was one of those rare moments in my 18 years when I was so blown away by what I was experiencing that I can barely describe it to you. It was 1978, the event, the Southern Cup Bodybuilding Championships in Tampa, Florida.

I had just witnessed top Mr. Olympia contender and poser extraordinaire Ed Corney, along with a young buck called The Golden Eagle, guest pose before the sell-out crowd (of which I was a part). After the winners had been announced, Sirs Ed and Tom Platz, surrounded by a sea of rabid fans, moved gingerly towards the front of the hall. The auditorium was almost clear when suddenly; I spotted the biggest bodybuilder I had ever seen. “Ohmygod! Is that Mike Katz?” I more than mumbled out loud. Mike Katz was one of the stars of M&F and Pumping Iron and there he was! Mike’s mind- blowing 60-inch expanded chest was so immense, he could balance a full glass of water on it without spilling a drop, and now, there he was! Just 2 weeks earlier, I watched Mike in Pumping Iron, and he was in the flesh in front of me, a super-hero, descending from Mount Olympus to walk amongst us mortals.

Forgotten Exercises: The Clasp Pulldown

Today’s short post is something of a new departure for me. Usually when detailing a forgotten exercise, I can cite an early proponent, the history of the exercise and its place within the current strength and iron community. Despite my best efforts, I simple haven’t been able to track down the history of the present exercise.

This exercise was shared with me a few years ago in the Hercules Gym in Dublin, a fantastic training facility established in the 1930s. Done on the Lat Pulldown machine, the ‘Clasp Pulldown’ hits the chest as opposed the back muscles. So without further ado, we’ll go through the exercise, its benefits and where you might incorporate it into your training. It goes without saying that if you know the actual history of the exercise, comment!

The Bench Press Favorite Exercise of Marvin Eder World’s Strongest Youth – Abe Goldberg (1953)

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That Marvin Eder, sensational Eastern muscle and strength star, chose the bench press as his favorite exercise, is no surprise to any bodybuilding authority. For in this lift can be found the key to his determination to become a world beater, to overcome all obstacles and to gain immortality as one of the celebrated GREATS of bodybuilding.

Marvin is not a big man as bench pressers go. Doug Hepburn, Reg Park, John Mac Williamson, all outweigh him 30 to 80 pounds in bodyweight. Still he refuses to acknowledge the fact that physically he may not be suited to establish a heavyweight record in the bench press, and he trains as hard on this lift as though his next effort would smash all records.

Pumping Iron: The History of the Bench Press

bench-press_0

The Bench Press, one of the most primitive and effective exercises in the weight room. Despite it’s much revered status, few of us know about the fascinating history of the bench press, a lift that evolved to suit the needs of a growing professionalism in competitive weightlifting.

Having previously examined the history of the squat, it only seems fair to look at the history of the gym rats favourite exercise.