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Thread: John Grimek

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    John Grimek

    For some of you younger members, before Arnold, there was a man who was "the man" in the iron game-John Grimek. Many still consider him the finest overall performer in the iron game. Below is a post from another legend, Dr. ken leisnter of Long, Island, NY



    Dr. Ken Leistner on John Grimek

    The posts re: John Grimek, who was so much "functionally stronger" than the overwhelming majority of those in the Iron Game today and who in person, into his fifties, was so strong and wonderfully built, truly bothered me. I wanted to clarify some statements I had made in print re: John and clear the air for those on this board. I just got off the phone with Jan Dellinger. Jan has held numerous positions at and for York Barbell and has been with them since 1976. Few in this world are more open and honest, just as Grimek was. Here is what I was told: Lee James, an excellent O lifter and member of one of our Olympic teams, felt his c&j lagged relative to the other lifts. He also knew that if his squat went up, so did his c&j. Thus, he asked Grimek how much John could squat, full to the floor deep knee bends, in his prime. John said he never tried to work up more than the weight that "gave (him) a good workout" and he would first (note this pleae) do a set of 25 full reps, add 90 pounds and do another 20 reps or so, then another warmup set of 15 reps or so, etc. He would do approximately 48-62 reps prior to his "top set(s)" and he told Lee he did 565x5. In his 70s, Jan witnessed, two times per week, almost every week for many years, John do "below parallel squats" 185x20-30, to begin the session, and then work up to 405x10 and he did this into his 80s. This was also witnessed at least one or two times by Bill Pearl and anyone who watched John in the York gym. He did these always, in his street shoes, and at most a single ply typical O lifting type belt if he used a belt at all. He would then go into the stairstep rack that every reader of Strength & Health has seen a thousand times, and work up to 850, and walk out to the last step with it and do partial squats ("at least 8" deep") to the age of 71 or 72. "He was never shakey and this is much more difficult than just standing in a rack and doing it" noted Jan. He said that John was always in complete control of the weight. He would do 5-7 reps with the latter being the usual. If he was off, it would be 5 reps "and he never busted a gut doing any of this." In his later 70s he only went up to 750 in that manner but still would lead off with the 405x10. After not squatting for two years or so he attended Leo Stern's show in Calif and when George Turner went to squat, John asked to work in. He had just used a bike at home but worked to "full squats, very deep according to George" to 385x8-10 and he was close to 80 at the time. On the Universal machine, Jan said John would put the seat as far up as it would go and then do the entire stack for 15-20 reps with one leg only, then the other. He did this for a few years when he didn't feel like squatting. At age 82 he had his first hip replacement and then fell over a cement parking block/stop three weeks after recovery and had the other hip done and that was that. This is straight from Jan who watched John from the age of 65 on up and who was a coworker so if you don't believe it, take it up with him but so many new guys just don't have any idea how strong the old timers really were. As Jan said, "John never pushed to see how strong he really was or how strong he could be". Sorry for such a long post.
    Dr. Ken

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    AM MMA Fighter crazedwombat's Avatar
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    wow, nice thread
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    Always Learning IZich's Avatar
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    amazing. thanks for the info!
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    Awesome read Keith. I really enjoy reading Dr. Ken's literature. He is a very educated, and talented writer. He is also strong as hell too.

    Hey. I'm going to a High Intensity Seminar here in Indy where I work on Sat. Apr. 9th. The guys who are slated to speak are Dr. Doug McGuff, Ellington Darden, Tim Ryan, and Greg Anderson. I was just curious to see if you had ever heard any of these guys speak before? I worked with Dr. Ben Bocchicchio back in 2001, and he was one of the original Nautilus guys with Arthur Jones, and Darden, so I'm anxious to meet Ellington.
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    Banned spencerjrus's Avatar
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    very impressive, nice post.

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    Born Into Pain Brotherofiron's Avatar
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    damn he is one crazy mofo...you got me doin a google search to find out what this guy looked like...
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    lol. almost every one of kieth's mini article things are about squatting. all good stuff though.

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    Nice, lightens the thought of getting old

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    The Real TO

    I have known Dr. Ken for years and have either met or corresponded with most of the guys you mentioned. I have been to the Med-X facility in Florida ( Med-X was the corp. that AJ built after he sold Nautilus) and actually had lunch with Arthur Jones back in the middle 90's-he sort of offered me a job during this lunch. I was also one of his test guinea pigs for the seminar that he was putting on.

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    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    John C. Grimek was the editor of MD for several years (from its inception).

    He was the only bodybuilder to NEVER lose a contest. He was the reason the AAU would not allow someone to win the Mr. America more than once (they changed the rules because of him or so it is rumored).

    That said, Grimek was an amazingly powerful man but the stories about him squatting ridiculous weights well into his 7th and 8th decade are most likely not accurate in my opinion.


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    An 80 year old man ATF squatting 385 10 times? hmmm

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    En botella whey! Max-Mex's Avatar
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    http://www.schwarzenegger.it/mro/grimek/jg44.jpg

    Good god, dunno what's more impressive: his physique or what he's packing in those tights. Sheesh!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max-Mex
    http://www.schwarzenegger.it/mro/grimek/jg44.jpg

    Good god, dunno what's more impressive: his physique or what he's packing in those tights. Sheesh!
    looks chopped to me

  14. #14
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    He's not very young in that photo. He did retain a very good physique as he aged.

    I have 3 posters on the wall of my gym which show a young John demonstrating various lifts. Some pretty cool stuff actually.


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