21 May 2018

Behold The Mighty Chuck Ahrens, Whose Corpse Takes Brobdingnagian Shits On Your Histrionic Personality Disorder

Perhaps the most unfairly maligned motherfucker in the history of the strength world was a man who would have undoubtedly despised me- Chuck Ahrens.  Known as the strength world's "Mystery Man", Chuck Ahrens shied from the spotlight, the camera, and competition to the point where he was only photographed once in a t-shirt.  From what I'd assume was his Christian belief system, Ahrens eschewed all of that shit, preferring instead to perform ridiculous feats of strength out of the public eye, which of course has led to a bunch of shit-talking in the modern era, because what is the internet if not a forum for every shit-eating troglodyte to proffer his or her wholly uninformed opinion on anything and everything?  In spite of the fact I would basically represent the anti-Christ to this peculiar motherfucker, I feel it necessary to stand against the masses in stark opposition to their criticism of his lifts, and to take up yet another related issue- gym lifts are just as valid in the discussion of strength as competition lifts.  USAPL lifters can just go ahead and fuck off right now, because I'm about to destroy the sad little world in which you live.

There seriously are maybe five pictures of Chuck Ahrens, so just pretend this is him raising the roof.  I've gotta space these motherfuckers out.

Before I get off on a wild-eyed tangent about how I had far more fun at a youth service in born-again Christian church (at least they had hot chicks and a punk band) than I have at a dreary-ass, pinch-faced, proselytizing USAPL meet, let's get back to the man-mountain, Chuck Ahrens.  Standing 6'1" and weighing somewhere between 300 and 330lbs, Chuck Ahrens wouldn't make the largest strongman in the modern era (though if he'd trained legs, he'd be up there), but in the 1950s looked like he tore through a movie screen out of a monster film, ready to rampage through downtown Tokyo if provoked.  Said to have a visibly larger upper body than fellow behemoth Paul Anderson, Ahrens was only photographed in a t-shirt once, finally satisfying Peary Rader's curiosity about the actual size of his arms.

Chuck Ahrens' Vital Statistics
  • Height: 6'
  • Weight: 330 pounds (at his strongest); ranged between 280lbs and 330lbs 
  • Chest: 58" (unexpanded)
  • Arms: 22-3/8"
  • Shoulder Width: 28"
Ahrens made the bitches drool.  This is why he always wore long sleeves and pants- slut drool burns Christian skin.

As I mentioned, internet "lifters" will talk shit, and they love to talk shit about Ahrens.  For instance, on forums you'll see some skinny dickhead opening his worthless fucking wordhole about the 28 reps with 400 on the bench claim, citing the fact he never benched heavy.  Ahrens is documented by multiple sources doing a triple with 355 on a fucking skullcrusher.    I've known a few guys who could hit 12 reps with 405 on any given day, and they struggled to do a few reps with 225 on skullcrushers.  Another lift that would go a long way to corroborating that is his behind the neck press of 380lbs, as would his steep incline benches for reps of 225lb dumbbells.  So let's dispense with the pussy shit- just because you've never seen it doesn't mean it hasn't been done.  His lifting partners, who were far stronger than most, said Ahrens could do their best lifts cold.  And finally, the people talking shit on Ahrens lift nothing and know less- "it was argued in MILO®: A Journal For Serious Strength Athletes that if one considered the consistency of the reports along with the sources involved, it would be hard to conclude anything other than that he really did do things like a standing overhead press of around 300 pounds with one arm" (Strossen).  We'll never really know, however, because according to Peary Rader "We... try to keep readers informed about Chuck and his progress but he is very much against publicity" (Piche).

Chuck's favorite color was plaid.

If you go and read Piche's piece (in the sources), which I used for a lot of the weights attributed to Ahrens, he fails to mention in stating that Ahrens' lifts are semi-mythical that Ahrens would often quit lifting for extended period of time, which would account for the rise and fall of reported body weight, weights lifted, and associated measurements- no matter whether he was 280 or 330, if he had lifted yesterday or hadn't lifted in months, the man made fucking mountains look like tiny little bitches.  Then he either curled or overhead pressed them just to show them what the fuck was up, because fuck mountains.

Going back to the man in question, he was rarely photographed and virtually all of the records of his lifts come from second hand sources, weirdly in spite of the fact that he was a mainstay of Muscle Beach when it was the mecca of weight lifting and bodybuilding.  This would be like Tara Reid only getting caught on film a couple of times in the entire Sharknado series (and how glorious it would be not to have to look at her hideous, Michael Jackson-impersonating visage for ninety minutes).  Given, however, that the man was about as disinterested in public relations as he was about training in temperature appropriate attire, it confuses me why people would discredit his lifts.  It wasn't Ahrens bragging about his strength, because he wasn't some attention whore with Histrionic Personality Disorder begging people to like him by posting every fucking workout online, no matter how shitty- it was anyone from his own training partners, one of whom was a well-respected minister, to well respected journalists, and sundry other onlookers.  

Dr. Carlin Venus was not small.

In regards to his training partner, Carlin Venus, he was a 5'10", 255lb Doctor of Nutritional Science and Holistic Nutrition with an IQ between 180 and 190.  Not only was the guy a champion bodybuilder with a 60" chest, 18" calves, and 20" arms, but he was a pro wrestler, boxer, and martial artist who spoke five languages (Minichiello).  This is a man who would not be given to hyperbole in describing the feats of others.  To wit, the following are Carlin's best ever lifts, all of whom were attested to by the guys at the gym where he trained, and all of them were notarized.  These lifts, Carlin said, were lifts that Ahrens could do in long sleeves and pants, without any warmup at all, on any given day.  By Carlin's account, Ahrens was one step shy of Superman (Green) and several dozen steps ahead of everyone else.
  • Good Mornings – 395lbs.
  • Deadlift – 625lbs for 12 reps.
  • One-Arm Dumbbell Press – 210lbs for 10 reps, either hand.
  • Press From The Racks – 475lbs for 2 reps.
  • Strict Barbell Curl (with back against the wall) – 245lbs.
  • Reverse Curl – 205lbs.
My man was all about that bicep and shoulder work.

Due to the fact that the naysayers always fucking manage to say "nay", I thought it pertinent to mention that the one of the most prominent authors on the subject of strength history, David Willoughby, considers Ahrens' feats to have been legit.  Furthermore, renown strength luminary and President of the All-Round Weightlifting Association, "Thom Van Vleck [said] that he remembers his uncles discussing Chuck’s lifts in the early JWC Club – both skeptical and in awe of him. Chuck Ahrens inspired many lifters to 'take on the impossible' and get stronger" (Meyers).  If you prefer to think that his lifts are all bullshit, you probably post on Getbig and Bodybuilding.com, and likely on some weird subreddit filled with weaklings rocking limp dicks, so you might as well just quit lifting anyway.  For the rest of you, check this shit out, and let it motivate you to John Wick the fuck up and do the impossible (Piche, Willoughby):

Chuck Ahrens' Best Lifts
  • Standing Behind the Neck Press – 390lbs
  • One Arm Strict Overhead Press – 270lb dumbbell 
  • One Arm Push Press – 350lbs dumbbell
  • One Arm Continental Overhead Press – 375 x 1 (according to bodybuilder Oliver Sacks); 310 x 3; 280 for reps the year before that (continental press it kind of the lay back method used in the Olympics right before the press was dropped) [Note: Anderson could only do 300 in this style]
  • Two Arm Dumbbell Overhead Press – 204lb dumbbells (408lbs total) with Paul Anderson watching 
  • One Arm Front Raise – 200-pound dumbbell
  • Crucifix – 150lb dumbbells
  • Two Arm Dumbbell Clean and Press – 205lb dumbbells
  • One Arm Row – 350lbs for reps
  • Skullcrusher – 400lbs x 1; 375 x 2 (without a warmup); 355lbs x 3 (another account has 345 x 2)
  • Standing Tricep Extension – 305 x 2 (without a warmup)
  • Seated Dumbbell Cheat Curl – 180lbs x 1; 165 pound dumbbells x 3 
  • Alternate Dumbbell Cheat Curl – 200 lb. dumbbells (per the legendary Pat Casey)
  • Curl – 375lbs x 3 on a bent 1" diameter bar
  • One Arm Concentration Curl – 115lbs on an Olympic bar, in strict form and without bracing his arm against his leg
  • Bench Press – 560 or 570 x 1 (according to historian David P. Willoughby); 400 x 28 (per the same); 400 x 20 (according to Apr 1995 MILO)
Like you, I want to know how Chuck trained just like most dogs want to know why humans get to eat delicious t-bones every night while they're stuck eating shit scraped up off the floor, dried, mashed into little balls, injected with artificial flavors and scents, and then fed to them as "food."  Well, just like I will never know why in the fuck anyone would be so cruel as to feed their best friend like that, we will never fucking know how Chuck Ahrens really trained, beyond hard and long as Ron Jeremy's dick, and even more frequently than Ed Sheeran plays shitty music.  Details on his workouts are hazy as your recollection of a bachelor party, but it was reported that his Ahrens'
"favorite exercises are curls, and presses with dumbbells and the triceps press on bench with barbell. He specializes on these with heavy weights and rather low reps. He has done almost no leg and back work" (Piche).  He likes to eat six large steaks per day to maintain his bulk and size (that is one way to get your protein, fellows, if you can afford it) (Piche).  
Pic of Ahrens at 290 lbs and Paul Anderson at 355, Paul looking like Bluto from Animal House and Ahrens looking jacked as fuck.

Of course, nothing Ahrens did was at a steady pace.  Ahrens was a sprinter, not a marathon runner, and as such he would train in bursts followed by month long or more layoffs.  As you can imagine, that meant that both his bodyweight and the weights he'd use in training had their ups and downs, although he generally didn't see much of a concomitant dropoff with his training weights as his bodyweight.  His secret?  He treated the weights like their name was Deebo and he was Smokey in the movie Friday- he had mind control over that shit.  That is how he forced the weights to constantly increase, in spite of whatever setbacks he might have had, and make everyone look like his punk bitch in doing so.

To forestall the inevitable "'mind control' is an obvious euphemism for 'steroids'", I'll remind you people that I've never dissembled about steroid use- the man was not on gear.  Ahrens' opinion of steroids, in the words of his lifting partner:
"The way Charlie (Chuck Ahrens, Carlin’s training partner) and I felt, if you wanted more steroids . . . just eat more meat! After all, the beef was so loaded down with that junk for breeding and raising. Hahaha, we determined one time just how much was being pumped into chickens and beef at the time and it blew our minds. I guess you could say that we were on steroids. Indirectly. I mean, we got a big laugh out of that, but there was something to it" (Green). 
Porn for natty bros.  You guys are so cool.

To add a bit to that, here is an editor's note from a writeup on Chuck, whose strength peaked in 1957-1958:
"[Ed Note: We must remember that although testosterone was being manufactured by 1935, it was almost never used by people in the iron game. Remember also that 1957 was several years before Bill March, Tony Garcy, and Lou Riecke— aided by John Ziegler— introduced anabolic steroids to the strength sports in this country. Dianabol was not manufactured until 1958]" (Neece).
Instead of steroids, Chuck Ahrens believed in the power of sleep in a way no one else did- narcoleptics would marvel at the man's ability to drop and sleep wherever he stood. 
"He’d even sleep right in the middle of the gym if it was time! Can you imagine? Hahaha . . . I’ll never forget. Guys like Sidney Sheldon and other movie producers and moguls would come into the gym and have to step over Charlie who might have decided to take a noon nap near the door. I mean, if it was time for a nap, it was time. Everybody was cool, though. They respected Charlie and didn’t disturb him. After awhile no one thought anything of it" (Green).
My man was about that crucifix life.

One exercise we sort of know he did frequently, and with which Ahrens is credited, apparently helped build his herculean shoulder strength and is the eponymous Ahrens Press.  I've done this exercise for years, having learned of it in some Men's Health book years ago under the name "W Press," without having any knowledge that it was Ahrens' apparent bread and butter lift.  In addition to unbelievably heavy lateral raises, overhead barbell presses, and high incline presses the Ahrens Press was apparently his jam, his jelly, his peanut butter, and his peanuts.

Should be pretty obvious to see why it's called a W Press.

This is a modified dumbbell press, which shouldn't shock you after looking at Ahren's best lifts- the man loved dumbbell pressing like fat people love excuses and donuts.  The modification, obvious if you see the above, is that the dumbbells are pressed up and out to make a V with them.  The great irony here is that it was a matter of utility for Ahrens, who had to use really long-handled dumbbells loaded with a shitload of plates, and we're just some assholes waving light dumbbells around in the air.  Nevertheless, doing your dumbbell presses (or FreeMotion machine presses, which are actually a pretty awesome way to knock these out) like this will bring the fucking pain, and undoubtedly place stress on your delts and traps that will lend itself to bigger gains and a bigger overhead press.

I am completely out of Chuck Ahrens pics, so here is Mr. Incredible, for whom Ahrens seems to have been the model.

The foregoing was a celebration of yet another Paul Bunyan-meets Hercules-meets-John Henry man whose lifts and physique were beyond compare and date from the pre-steroid, the pre-powerlifting, pre-Internet, and the pre-everyone is a humorless, shit-talking, robotic fuck in the gym era.  Like the halcyon days spoken about by Ronald Reagan when describing the 1950's, the modern wistful view of the hilariously misogynistic era of chivalry, and even Plato's description of the Golden Age, that era likely sucked as much as it was awesome... but even at 50% suck it beats the fuck out of the modern era.  One of the ways in which it did was that people actually believed first hand accounts of other lifters' achievements without the bizarre amount of shit talking and naysaying by a bunch of limp wristed bitches who have trouble believing people could lift a sack of groceries without breaking a sweat.  In other words, it was an era in which people actually enjoyed lifting, rather than enjoying simply posturing and taking up space in the gym like a bunch of assholes in matchy-matchy workout gear.

You are about to be fucked with cocks of truth, and there shall be no lube.

The above paragraph should preface where the rest of this article is headed.  We've already covered the man himself, but a great many people still discount his lifts because they weren't done in a competition setting.  The reasons dumber than the Lt Governor of Texas are threefold: 1) at the time in which Ahrens lived, odd lifting competitions were less well organized than an orgy in a mental hospital and not terribly common, and 2) for some people, all competitions are seems to be begging for validation from a stranger to confirm what you already know.  As such, I feel it necessary to explain why gym lifts (and I am referring to credible gym lifts, not Brad Castleberry fake plate bullshit or the highly entertaining Jimmy "The Iron Bull Pellechia" multiple-partner assisted nonsense) should matter to you.  It's ridiculous that such a thing is necessary, but the 150lb pussies screeching "GYM LIFTS DON'T MATTER" all over social media need to have their mouths shut.  As it happens, I am a guy who can do just that, so what follows is by far and away the most vitriolic and heartfelt expression myriad problems with the lifting world at this point.  If you take issue with it, feel free to say so in the comments, because they will doubtless be entertaining, and I assure you that whatever your contention, I am wholly correct and you're so wrong you might as well be the embodiment of donkey shows featuring children.

While he was thoroughly entertaining back in the day in Muscular Development, Jimmy "The Iron Bull" Pellechia and his preposterous "1100lb bench" type stuff did nothing to help he modern credibility of gym lifts.  Taken as cheat moves, though, the dude was impressive with his cheat laterals and curls, because the man's form was nothing if not... innovative.  As to Brad Castleberry, well, he's clearly mentally retarded and I wonder how he originally could afford fake plates.

There are exactly two types of people who say gym lifts don't matter:
  1. People who are desperate for the validation of themselves by others and who want to invalidate the lifters they've seen outlift them in the gym, and
  2. People don't actually enjoy lifting but are desperate to be a part of something, so they want to invalidate the lifts of people they see outlift them on a daily basis.
That's it.  I have personally seen people casually perform lifts in the gym I've never seen duplicated anywhere else, and they didn't compete because they saw no point in it.  Either they knew they were crazy strong, or they didn't give a fuck about competing and didn't really care how strong they were in comparison to people who pay for their validation.  Who the fuck knows why they didn't compete?  It doesn't matter- they just loved to lift.  It was all about the journey, and not about the participation trophy at the destination.

The skinny little guy on the left is a totally lit USAPL lifter.  "Ugh.  No glute ham raise?  No foam roller?  HAS EVERYONE IN THIS BUILDING HAD THEIR CAFFEINE LEVELS TESTED BY THE USIOC TO ENSURE THEY COMPLY WITH MY FEDERATION'S PREPOSTEROUS RULES?  Come on, Ryder, let's go get a couple of 100% natural organic, non-GMO, Fair Trade boba teas for our preworkout and go to a real gym.  I had a really tough workout three weeks ago and really need to do an hour and a half of prehab before I fiddlefuck around the gym for 25 minutes.  Did you bring all of the cameras?"

Nor was powerlifting or Olympic weightlifting nearly as popular in the pre-Internet era.  They were fringe sports people competed in either in foreign countries or dank basements somewhere- I don't recall meeting a powerlifter prior to 2001, and even then he was generally considered to be a weirdo with his triple ply gear.  Certainly, geared lifting was a thing, but there was very little knowledge of it outside of the pages of Powerlifting USA and bodybuilding expos like the Show of Strength (though I'm sure the people competing in it at that time would take exception to that statement), and Olympic weightlifting was just something foreigners seemed to busy themselves with (a statement with which no one would take issue).

"detached retinas, deviated septums, internal hemorrhaging, torn cartilage, these are things which dreams are made of, and our dreams are your nightmares!  Uhhhhhhh, WHAT A RUSH!!!"
-the catastrophically (for their opponents) strong Road Warriors giving their response to "gym lifts don't mean shit."

Now that the Internet Age is upon us, we're besieged by a bunch of loudmouth nutsacks who got on the internet and decided that if they lifted (something they seem to actually detest but feel some need to do) they'd be cool in the eyes of others.  Participating in a competition, no matter how pathetic or noncompetitive their numbers, provides them with "numbers" they can use for validation when talking to other nutsacks (I'm looking at you goofballs posting your Wilks).  It's not like the outside world cares if your numbers came on a platform or in your mom's basement- they're just making conversation when they ask you what you lift.  And before I get called a gatekeeper by you touchy little pussies, I'm not saying not to train like a powerlifter- I'm suggesting maybe it'd be better for everyone involved if you waited until you were competitive to get in front of people and lift weights.  You're not a six year old playing soccer for the orange slices at halftime- you're an adult making an ass of yourself and wasting everyone's time.

"Nobody cares how much you front squat, bro- only back squats matter.  Also, steroids.  So what's your Wilks, anyway.  Hahahaha, hey guys! He doesn't even know what a Wilks is!  DYEL?"- Every fucking bitchmade USAPL lifter ever

I've already discussed the sad beginnings of Olympic weightlifting, which involved a style of lifting made popular by the nations behind the resurrection of the Olympics and used that style to exclude the Germans and Central Europeans, who would stomp them in weight lifting competitions.  The reality behind the creation of powerlifting is even more sad- Jim Witt, the father of powerlifting, sucked at Olympic weightlifting and was bothered by the wide array of strength tests in Odd Lift competitions (Starr, Rader).  To simplify the sport and make it easy for people who found having generalized strength too daunting, he codified the sport of powerlifting in the three simplest lifts and ditched the rest.  To break that down- the Germans and Central Europeans stomped the Brits and French in lifting, so the French and English made the clean lifts their chosen sports in the Olympics, and because the Americans sucked at all of the aforementioned, we created what is basically the Special Olympics of strength sports.

You like that?  Well, fucking take it, because there's more, bitch.

That is fairly amusing to realize- I had a world record in what is essentially the strength world's Special Olympics.  I set that record without specifically training for the sport to prove how easy it was to do so, and that sport specific training was totally unnecessary.  Apparently I failed in the effort, in spite of being what I consider to be a massively entertaining, impressively strong asshole and breaking a record that had stood for 40 years.  The reason behind my success is simple, I fucking love to throw around heavy weights.  Like a lot of people who don't violently identify with one of the modern strength sports, doing crazy lifts and heaving around heavy weights is the norm.  We often share Bruce Randall's (and many other old schoolers') undying love for 1/4 front squats.  Fuck that ass to grass shit- some people just like moving heavy weights to test the limits of their body's structual capacity.  We vastly prefer rack pulling a thousand pounds and shrugging it than putting 700 off the floor.  Cheat curls are in the program often and heavy, because they're fucking fun, and we don't restrict ourselves to training for a couple of basically boring lifts so we can spend 12 hours on a Saturday waiting to collect one of 100 trophies.  We feel this way because, unlike most of the holier-than-though, my shitty fed is better than your shitty fed, my lame sport is better than your lame sport online lifting community, actually love lifting weights.

Tom Platz never bothered competing in powerlifting, because what would be the fucking point?  At his peak, he was squatting 600 x 10-15, with a crazy narrow stance and no wraps.  He'd have mangled everybody if he actually gave a shit, which he clearly didn't.

Obviously, we are a dying breed.  Everyone today seems to just love paying $100 to pay for a participation medal in a sport about which no one outside of it gives a flying fuck.  That makes no sense whatsoever- at least Spartan Racers acknowledge that OCRs are just for fun and they don't bore you with the details of their training.  Oh, and they have enough dignity and self-respect to do their own fucking programming.

Getting the little people involved was the goal.  Keeps them off the streets, or in the modern case, out of their parents' basements.  Mostly.  I suppose it just keeps them from shooting up their high school now.

Speaking of which, did I mention that one of the reasons Jim Witt promoted the modern sport of powerlifting is:
"the exercises could be done in a limited space with basic equipment and there was not any need for a coach? All that was needed to train were an Olympic bar, flat bench, and some sort of squat rack, and lots of hard work. Most of the powerlifters in the country trained at small gyms in garages and basements, and of course, YMCAs" (Starr).  
In other words, all of the fancy equipment you dickheads demand for the special olympics in lieu of a fucking dip belt (I've taken to just bringing my own since they seem to have been removed from the budget for reverse hypers and GHRs and other assorted pointless bullshit) is putting lipstick on a pig and then calling that pig Fancy Einstein.  Your coach?  Likely worthless.  Congratulations.  You're proud to be a part of a sport that you snooze your way through following cookie cutter programs and coaches' advice and you pay a ridiculous amount of money to do something designed to be simple and wildly inexpensive.  And then you still suck at it, which amounts to taking a steaming shit on the spirit of the entire thing.  There is a reason why the special olympics of the strength world is actually in the Special Olympics.  So get the fuck over yourselves, already.  This shit is supposed to be fucking fun.

There are like four pics of Chuck Ahrens, so the Tick, who also skipped leg day, can be his stand-in.  Substitute "bullshit message board 'lifters'" for ninjas, and this pic will do nicely.

In short, many of you likely have Histrionic Personality Disorder and should seek treatment, whether it be in the form of a doctor or eating a fucking Frisbee.  Outside of the fucking gym, and outside of strength sports.  Not only are you annoying as fuck to the people who truly love lifting, but you're likely just exacerbating a legitimate mental illness.  Or you can just take a page out of the book of a man who was stronger than anyone we're ever likely to meet short of the top three strongmen on the planet and enjoy the process rather than the result, because in the end, no one really gives a shit.  Huge and strong and awesome is the way to live- trudging through workouts you didn't design filming yourself like you're your own paparazzi is fucking retarded.  Whatever you do, stop taking yourselves so fucking seriously, because again- no one on Earth outside of a select few of us really gives a shit about any of this.  And remember:

“Think it.” - Chuck Ahrens 
The most powerful tool is THE MIND. 

Second most powerful being Satanic porn, of course.

Green, Bob.  Carlin Venus Speaks on Training with Ahrens, Davis, Reeves and Others (1984).  Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban.
 24 Jun 2008.  Web.  17 May 2018.

Mahler, Mike.  A conversation with Jimmy "The Iron Bull" Pellechia.  T-Nation.  23 Aug 2002.  Web.  18 May 2018.  https://www.t-nation.com/training/power-hungry

Meyers, Al.  Remembering Chuck Ahrens.  USAWA.  1 Feb 2010.  Web.  11 Oct 2016.  http://usawa.com/remembering-chuck-Ahrens/

Minichiello, Tom.  Dr. Carlin C. Venus.  Tom Minichiello's Bodybuilding History (jul/Aug 2004).  2007.  Web.  19 May 2018.  http://superspectrim.com/eclipse.htm

Murray, Al and Oscar State.  The grip in the press (1949).  Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban.  18 Jan 2015.  Web.  17 May 2018.

Neece, S.  Some lesser known strongmen of the Fifties and Sixties.  Iron Game History.  1998 May; 5(1):16-25.  

Piche, Bill.  The legend of Chuck Ahrens.  Bodybuilding.com.  12 Oct 2004.  Web.  19 May 2018.  https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/cyberpump14.htm

Rader, Peary.  Powerlifting: how it all started (1983).  The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban.  2 Dec 2009.  Web.  18 May 2018.  http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2009/12/powerlifting-how-it-all-started-peary.html

Sacks, Oliver.  The bodybuilder: Oliver Sacks' days on Muscle Beach.  Science Friday.  22 Jan 2016.  Web.  17 May 2018.  https://www.sciencefriday.com/articles/the-bodybuilder-oliver-sacks-days-on-muscle-beach/

Strossen, Randall J.  Chuck Ahrens: rest in peace.  Ironmind.  26 Jan 2010.  Web.  17 May 2018.  http://ironmind.com/news/Chuck-Ahrens-Rest-in-Peace/

Vuono, Pete.  Chuck Ahrens - Pete Vuono.  22 Nov 2011.  http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2011/11/chuck-ahrens-pete-vuono.html

Willoughby, David P.  The Super-Athletes.  South Brunswick: AS Barnes and Company, 1970. 


  1. I haven't read it yet as it's quite long and i need to go to bed but,

    Steroids etc..

  2. I first learned of suicide by frisbee eating from this blog, like 5 years ago. Glad to see you brought it back, lol.

    1. I actually say people should eat a fucking frisbee at least once a week in the course of general conversation, haha.

  3. X number of lbs are exactly the same number of lbs in the gym and on the platform, so why wouldn't 'gym lifts' count?

    Powerlifting and Oly meets are retardedly boring. And their gyms are filled with srs bros being boring cunts. For years now, I've lifted in the standard gym chain of Germany, McFit (no, seriously). The best lifters there are stronger than the Oly lifters, don't look like hairy dog shit and the atmosphere is way more fun and enthusiastic. Super crowded during rush hours,of course.

    Bonnie Rotten rules.

    1. Agreed all the way around. The gym in which I trained to set my WR had four or five 500lb benchers- I've never trained in a hardcore gym like that, and all of them were cool as fuck. The Powerhouse I train in now is all bros and they're all cool as fuck. Strongman/PL/Oly gyms are filled with self-righteous (and weak) dickheads as a general rule.

  4. Another fun fact about Ahrens is that he succeded Mac Batchelor as armwrestling world champion when he was 22 years old or something like that. This background of his may be a cause for his obsession for training arms and shoulders and disregarding his legs and back.

    1. I didn't find anything to corroborate that, which is why I didn't include it.

  5. Once again Mr Lewis brings the torch of knowledge to the undeserving. I bow down to his usage of Brobdingnagian in an actual sentence. As someone who makes a living out of grammar I can only marvel at his uncompromising stance. Refusal to end a sentence with a preposition, Brobdingnagian, I beg Mr Lewis to start a fan club, he is the one!

    1. Hahahaha. Thanks, man. I am doing my level best to put out my best article with every new entry.

    2. Don't pressure yourself, just be yourself, it's all good.
      The article reminds me of the Brice Lee quote which I will falsify for effect " At first I knew nothing and just tried to lift heavy stuff. Then I learnt a load of pseudo science and got frustrated but got stronger anyway. Finally I realised my initial idea was correct. Now I try to lift heavy stuff and don't sweat the details. Oh, and be water,"

      Good man Jamie, Jesus loves ya,

    3. Oh yeah, I can see your point but still you got a world record in pl, it says something good about you. end of the day as long as you don't end up being a big head fake ultra alpha wanker, I think you should be proud of it. BTW, I think everyone should check out Eric B's latest offering, cant help liking the man, even if his drawing kinda sucks...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fd3Q-qT8_Tc

    4. In a time when many lifters claim to be elite, few ever really fit that description. Jamie Lewis is one of the lifters who do! At the USPA North American Classic Raw Championship, Jamie went 633-325-661 for an incredible total of 1620 at 181! Back in 1973, the only time when American powerlifting was completely raw (not even wraps), a change was made to the lifter classifications. Numbers were were re-evaluated and the "Elite" Class was added. This was class was intended for those lifters that were so far ahead of the rest of the top lifters that they needed to be seperated... Only 2-3 lifters per class were to be called elite at any given time... At 181 1600 was considered elite and Jamie has done this several times now establishing himself as one of the best 181 pounders in the world.

      There ya go Jamie, Jesus loves you.

    5. I thought he said he did total of 1705 ?

    6. @Miroslav, I did. That was after my third meet, I think. He pulled that from powerliftingwatch.

  6. I trained in the gym with the 2nd ranked shot putter in the world. He was goofing around and did "mild" push presses for a bunch of reps with 415-lbs. That bar was whipping up and down and he was just "playing around". He never cared. He came up to me and said "why do you deadlift so much?". I was doing 495 at 155 lbs at the time and I said, "I dunno. It makes you strong?". He did 5 hard reps with that weight. It was a funny moment because my heaviest jerk was 350 lbs.

  7. I went to UCLA from 1984-89 and there was an old guy (probably in his 50's) that used to drop in and lift at the Wooden center. He always wore a longsleeve brown plaid shirt and brown khaki pants. He was unbelievably wide, even more so for a guy his age. I never knew who he was, always assumed he was a maintenance staff employee or something. He came in, did a little upper body stuff with big weights (seemed big at the time, he always just used the heaviest dumbbells in the room), never seemed to talk to anyone. Years later, I always wondered if that guy was Chuck Ahrens.

    Also once went to a seminar held by Dr. Carlin Venus, this was sometime between 1980 and 1984 when I was in high school. He was still a huge man back then. He was pushing his Super Spectrim line of vitamins.

    1. They still sell those- that's where I got his bio, from their site.

      That'd be crazy if that was Ahrens. From what I understand he lost his zest for lifting after hurting his shoulder and became a total recluse. When he died, there was no one they could ask to identify the body. Kinda depressing postscript, that.

  8. "...and because the Americans sucked at all of the aforementioned, we created what is basically the Special Olympics of strength sports."

    HaHAHA! What the fuck! I had a good laugh at that.

    Now buy my PDF for $100. In it, I will teach you the mystical art of walking for 10 mins after you eat. It'll change your life and gives your dick a goatee.


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  10. Great article about a great guy...I'll add another monster's name, maybe it can be of interest for you: Kevin Tolbert

    1. The strength and conditioning coach? Maybe I could interview him...

    2. Lol, would be an interesting interview. Squatted 600 lbs for 30 atg reps, all natural.......

  11. Another badass article. And after catching up on the podcasts, I vote for a blog post solely about meatpies.

    1. I have one in the works- I've been running my smoker around the clock and haven't made a meat pie in a while. I'll get back to it soon, I swear.

  12. Whoes the whore spitting jiss on her tits.. Aletta ocean?