Hail to the Dinosaurs!
In June, 1933, Bob Hoffman decided to
train for the 300 pound club. Meaning,
he planned to train to lift a 300 pound
barbell from the floor to overhead in
the clean and jerk.
Now, I know that everyone on the interwebs
can do 10 or 20 reps in the clean and jerk
with 400 or 500 pounds -- or maybe even a
1000 pounds -- or, at least, they say they
do -- but back then, 300 pounds was a heck
of a lot of weight.
Just look at the official results from the
USA National Championships.
In 1929, a man named Willie Roher won the
Heavyweight class at the USA National
Championships. He clean and jerked 286
At the USA National Championships of 1930,
the winner of the Heavyweight class, Al
Manger, managed a 275 pound clean and
Manger won the Heavyweight class again in
1931 -- with a lift of 269 1/2 pounds --
and did about the same when he won the
Championship the next year.
In 1933, John Mallo took the Heavyweight
crown. He clean and jerked 303 pounds.
The next strongest lifter of the 1933
Championships was Bill Good. He won the
181 pound class with a clean and jerk
of 292 pounds.
So when Hoffman set his sights on a 300
pound clean and jerk, he was aiming to
lift a weight that very few men in the
country could even dream of handling.
At that time, his best was 235 pounds --
and it was anything but an easy lift for
him. He missed it eight times before
making it on his ninth attempt.
So Hoffman needed to add 65 pounds to his
all-time best (and very difficult) lift.
And Hoffman was no spring chicken when
he embarked on the mission. He was 35 --
and that's old enough, in today's world,
to compete in the Masters's division in
weightlifting, powerlifting, track
and field, swimming or other sports.
Nor was Hoffman a natural strong man.
He began weight training in 1923 -- and
in his first workout, he struggled to
clean and press 80 pounds.
Hoffman's job and travel schedule made
his cherished 300 pound lift even more
unlikely. he walked long, brutal hours
running the York Oil Burner business,
coaching the York Barbell Club, managing
the York barbell Company, and serving as
editor and publisher of Strength and
And his job required frequent travel.
Sometimes, he was on the road more than
Jack Kerouac (although in all fairness,
Kerouac was only 11 at the time). But
Hoffman was driving 500 to 700 miles
at a crack -- in an old roadster --
and that made regular training pretty
And, of course -- they didn't have any
roidskies back then -- or even any food
supplements. It was just regular food --
three squares a day, and perhaps less
than that on the road. So don't get of
track and think that Hoffman had some
sort of super secret something or other
to help him make BIG GAINS in RECORD
TIME. He didn't.
In fact, when you come right down to it,
Bob Hoffman had only one thing going for
A BURNING DESIRE TO LIFT 300 POUNDS OVER
But would that be enough?
(To be continued . . .)
As always, thanks for reading and have a
great day. If you train today, make it a
Yours in strength,
P.S. Bob Hoffman trained old school style --
just like I teach in all of my books and courses,
1, Dinosaur Training: Lost Secrets of Strength
2. Strength, Muscle and Power
3. The Training Secrets of John Grimek
4. The Doug Hepburn Training Course:
5. The Dinosaur Training Military Press and
Shoulder Power Course
6. Dinosaur Arm Training
7. Dinosaur Dumbbell Training
P.S. 2. Thought for the Day: "You build strength and
muscle rep by rep and set by set." -- Brooks Kubik