Hail to the Dinosaurs!
Frank Spellman won a gold medal in weightlifting
at the 1948 Olympic Games. He was 26 years old.
He lifted in the 165 pound class.
By the way, he was lucky to be there. He fought
in the Army in World War II -- in the bloody
hedgerows of Normandy -- and one day the Germans
launched a surprise attack, and a German tank ran
right over Frank's fox-hole. "That was an exciting
day," he says.
But the Olympics were also exciting for Frank.
He went 9 for 9 that day, making 245 1/2, 253 1/2,
and 259 in the military press -- 248, 259 and
264 1/2 in the snatch, and 314 1/4, 330 1/2, and
336 in the clean and jerk.
He says "It was a perfect day. Everything went
perfect for me. I felt like I could do anything."
That's interesting because I've run a biorhythm
chart on Frank, and on the day he won the gold
medal he was in a triple low crossing pattern.
That should have given him one of the worst
days of his life. Go figure.
Fifteen years later, Frank lifted in his last
contest -- the United States Senior Nationals
in Santa Monica. At the of 40, he WON the
His lifts at the 1961 championships were 260 in
the press, 230 in the snatch and 310 in the
clean and jerk. Not quite what he lifted at
age 26, but pretty close.
After his last contest, Frank continued to
train, doing squats, bench press, curls,
dumbbell presses and deadlifts. He trained
hard, too. When he squatted, he did 8 sets
of 5 reps with a heavy weight.
At age 73, Frank was training in his garage
with two buddies (both 77 years of age). One
of his training partners began working out
at age 69. For squats, all he could handle
was a 20 pound bar. Five years later, at age
74, he was squatting 220 pounds!
Frank was doing pretty good, as well. His
workout at age 73 consisted of 3 x 10 in the
bench press with 150 pounds -- 3 x 10 in the
squat with 185 pounds -- 60 leg raises and
situps -- 20 calf raises with 70 pounds extra
weight -- 3 x 10 in the barbell curl with 80
pounds -- and one set of upright rows (pulling
the bar to eye-level) with 80 pounds.
Not very long ago, I interviewed Frank to
get his old-school training secrets for my
new Military Press and Shoulder Power Course.
In addition to covering his training for the
military press, we talked about his current
Get this -- at the age of 89, Frank is still
training. He does leg press, seated press,
barbell curls and deadlifts. And he still trains
heavy -- for example, he does 1 x 10 in the
barbell curl with 60 pounds!
"It's an ego thing," he said. "I like having
Frank still weighs in at 165 pounds -- his
competition weight when he won the Olympic gold
medal at age 26!
Two years ago, Frank hurt his back and had to
have surgery to remove two disks. His doctor
told him to stop lifting weights.
"I guess you didn't listen to him, did you?" I
"Well, you know what it's like -- if someone tells
an iron-head he can't do something, he takes it as
All of which makes Frank Spellman an American hero --
and an inspiration to Dinosaurs everywhere!
As always, thanks for reading and have a great day.
If you train today, pretend you're training with
Frank Spellman -- and make it a good one!
Yours in strength,
P.S. You can learn more about Frank Spellman's training
in The Dinosaur Training Military Press and Shoulder
P.S. 2. By the way, Frank Spellman trained with John
Davis at the South Phillie Weightlifting Club -- and
you can read all about it in Black Iron: The John
P.S. 3. If you're an older trainee (age 35 and up),
here's the book that will keep you lifting for a long,
long time -- just like Frank Spellman:
P.S. 4. Thought for the Day: "Once a lifter, always
a lifter." -- Brooks Kubik