12 December 2018

Maurice Jones- Pre-Steroid Era Badass who was Still Curling the 50s at 85 Years of Age

We've all said that so-and-so looks good "for their age."  It's honestly a pretty shitty thing to say, especially when most people look like shit at any age.  Even taking that into account, it's rare that we see people remaining jacked as fuck into their twilight years.  And I don't mean sparkly, homoerotic vegan vampires- I mean liver-spotted, young-whippersnapper-hating, welding glasses-wearing, bingo-playing twilight years.  The years most of us would likely rather forgo for an epic steroids-and-cocaine-fueled bank robbery spree in our early 60s (or am I the only one who thinks that would be an epic way to go out?).  In any event, most of the people on the planet are basically just a droopy pile of fat and bone at that point, so when we see a man or women who is fighting each grain of sand in the hourglass of time, they definitely stand out... and every now and again one of those people makes us all look like a bunch of sloppy, out of shape assholes.


In every way possible preferable to waiting to die on a golf course.


The guys who spring to mind when you think of going down swinging against Old Man Time are people like the ageless Albert Beckles, who looked so preposterously good at the age of 61 (or 53 as the weirdly and endlessly bitter little keyboard warriors over at Getbig.com relentlessly assert) that he won the open class at the IFBB Niagara Pro Invitational; Dave Draper, one of the most epic, really, really ridiculously good-looking bodybuilders of all time and who still looks jacked at 75; Sylvester Stallone, who augmented his usual awesome physique in his 60s with enough GH to supply half the Western world; and Jack LaLanne, the 54 year old fitness guru who smoked a 21 year old Arnold on pullups and pushups.  There are plenty of other beasts of retirement age, but reading online forums or magazines, you'd think every motherfucker in the weight room needs to pretty much hang it up by age 40, and that's just not how the world works.

"I train like I'm training for the Olympics or for a Mr. America contest, the way I've always trained my whole life. 
You see, life is a battlefield. 
Life is survival of the fittest. 
How many healthy people do you know? How many happy people do you know? Think about it. 
People work at dying, they don't work at living
My workout is my obligation to life. It's my tranquilizer. It's part of the way I tell the truth — and telling the truth is what's kept me going all these years." 
- Another aged (and now croaked) badass, Jack LaLanne

When you see a dude or chick who is 60+ and is fucking killing it in the gym every day, rocking low bodyfat and moving serious weights, it should clue you in that 1) you're probably doing everything in your life wrong if you can't match their physique and performance, and 2) you've got a lotta mo' when it comes to time to kill shit in the gym.  That's not to say you should slack now, but that what you are doing now in the gym is setting the stage for what you're going to be able to do later.  Thus, if you want to do more than totter around a fucking field waving a bit of metal or wood about while participating in the lamest goddamned alleged sport on Earth, you shouldn't be reading this anyway- go play some checkers and wait to die.  If you would rather be like Ellen Stein, however, who is still crushing kids a third of her age in powerlifting and keeps getting better with age, allow me to introduce you to a badass of whom I can almost guarantee you've never heard- Maurice Jones.



My man's trap game was on a fucking bean.

Nah- not Maurice Jones Drew, who at age 33 is now bizarrely unmuscular and fat.  Maurice Jones was an American bodybuilder who was born in the same year the Titanic sunk and the first parachute jump was made... 1912, for the unhistorical among you.  Though not a big dude growing up, Jones ended up one of the muscle monsters of the 1940s and 1950s, with a bodyweight that ranged between 200 and 237lbs at a height of 5'9", which according to the "scientists" in the natty bodybuilding community is an utter impossibility.  So when he wasn't constructing a time machine to travel forward in time and obtain the steroids he was obviously taking, Maurice Jones never missed a workout in the five five years he lifted.  That means that in addition to the thirty pound weighted mountain rucks he was fond of taking a couple of times a week, the dude was in the gym training six to nine hours a week with extremely short rest periods (Baptiste, Strossen).  Even after that introductory half-decade, 

“I wasn’t away from them (the weights) for very lengthy periods. I valued it greatly. I always felt so much better when I would have a good workout. I stayed with it,” explains Jones. “I held a certain amount of self-pride, I was going to stick with it till the end. You know, that attitude, and I’m still doing that. I do lots of situps and press-ups between two chairs at times when weights aren’t available” (Strossen).
Fueled by the fantasy steroids envisioned by today's natty bros and a shitload of meat and potatoes, Maurice Jones absolutely mangled the weights.  Lifting at a time prior to the proliferation of the squat rack, Jones started squatting heavy after reading about Milo Steinborn's epic squatting.
“I got up into the very heavy stuff – it used to frighten me before the act. How it all came about was with Milo Steinborn: I read that he had created a world record in the deep knee bend, which I was bound and determined to break, but nobody knew anything about it. And I did get up there over 500. My memory doesn’t serve me as well as it used to, but it was around 525 pounds” (Ibid).

Nor was Jones heaving his weights about- he was well-known for having fanatical adherence to ultra-strict form, treating each lift like it was a ritual whose perfect performance would serve as a sacrifice to keep the Old Ones from destroying humanity.  As bizarre as that is for a Steinborn squat, his stiff-legged deadlifts were probably even more impressive- 425lbs (and occasionally more) for 15 standing on a bench and lowering the bar until it hit the tops of his goddamned feet.  And while we're at it, he would do sprints with a backpack full of plates up mountain trails.  Pretty much all of the man's lifts were beastly:

Maurice Jones' Best Lifts
Steinborn Squat- 415lbs x 2-3 sets of 15; 450 x 10; 525 x 1 (the WR at the time was 553)
Stiff-Legged Deadlift425 x 15
Military Press215 x 12; 260 x 1
Strict Curl- 135 x 12; 175 x 1
Reverse Curl- 120 x 12; 145 x 1
Clean and Jerk- 300 or 325lbs (depending on the source) the only time he tried it, with no instruction and no warmup.
Weighted Situps- reps with 125lbs behind his head
Reverse Curl- 145lbs



Perhaps you're thinking that my man looks thick, but not all that impressive by today's standards.  Well, you're incorrect.  According to the strongman nicknamed "Scottish Hercules," William Bankier (who among other awesome things was the co-founder of the British Society of Jiu-Jitsu, Maurice Jones' physique was more impressive than both Eugen Sandow and George Hackenschmidt, and bodybuilder Walt Baptiste claimed there were only a couple of other men in the same class as Jones- the ultimate bodybuilding badass John Grimek, a ridiculously muscular 1940s bodybuilder of whom I'd never before heard by the name of Sam Loprinzi (who was also jacked until the day he died), and "the immortal" Eugen Sandow (Baptiste).  Drink that in- this badass was held in the same esteem as the guy who is the model for trophy for the most coveted bodybuilding trophy in the world.  His measurements were definitely as impressive as his lifts for the time, looking like this:

Maurice Jones' Most Muscular Measurements
Height – 5’ 8 ½”
Weight – 210lbs
Neck – 18"
Chest – 49 ½"
Waist – 32"
Hips – 39 ½"
Thigh – 26 ½"
Calf – 17 ½"
Bicep – 17 ¾"
Forearm – 14 ½"
Wrist – 7 ½"
Ankle – 9 ½"

Maurice Jones' Biggest Measurements

Height – 5’ 8 ½”
Weight – 237lbs
Neck – 18"
Chest – 52"
Waist – 34 ½"
Thigh – 28"
Bicep – 18 ½"
Forearm – 14 ½"
Wrist – 7 ¾"
Calf – 18"
Ankle – 9 ½"

And to ram another nail into the coffin of the natty bros' vaunted limits on growth, Jones once dieted down to a very lean 195 and arms were measured at just over 18" cold.  So much for that bullshit about your wrist size controlling your upper arm size, eh?


The aforementioned Loprinzi, whose physique is preposterous for 1946 and only 160lbs.

I’ve put up with a lot of pain over the years, years I suffered, but I never avoided my training. You can’t do it for the best part of your life and just forget it. The way I’m built, I have to continue, obviously not as strenuously as before, but I never forget it. I guess there are a lot of weight trainers and people who have done over a period of years and are still doing it.”

Unlike the pussies on IG and various message boards who insist that guys like Calum Von Moger should hide in their houses and do nothing but train, Jones actually got out there and did shit, and he suffered for it.  Over the years the dude broke just about everything traipsing about in the mountains, and ended up having surgeries on his back neck, and both knees, among other things, but none of that shit stopped him from training heavy, cycling, climbing, or trail hiking (Strossen).  At the age of 50 he was said to have the physique of a jacked 21 year old and would jog his burly 205-235lb ass along an 11 mile trail daily.  Even at the age of 85, Jones weighed a solid 185, lifted three times a week, and continued all of his outdoor activities... proving simultaneously that cardio doesn't kill your gains and that you can still move weight into your old age, since he was still curling and overhead pressing the 50s for high rep sets.



Asked what he’d say if a young kid came up to him and said, “Mr. Jones, do you think I should take drugs to get bigger muscles or to get stronger?”: “I would say, don’t become a fanatic, although I must have appeared that way to a lot of people. If you get fanatical about something, it spoils it. You have to recognize the line – that’s the trouble.”

As for his workouts, we have only one sample program he offered from his older years, when his training volume had been cut down considerably.  In his younger years, he and his brother were the proto-Mentzers, training as partners brutal in three hour long sessions consisting of full body workouts and jump sets.  Later on, he kept the giant sets and pared down the volume and offered up this sample program, to be done three times a week.

Maurice Jones Program (when he was in his later years)
Warmup- Calisthenics, bending, arm waving, and pushups on the steep board.

Three sets of 12 of the following, jump setted, with a minute between sets:
Military Press
Curls

Three sets of 12 of the following, jump setted, with a minute between sets:
Bent-over Row 

Bench Press

Squat- 1-3 x 12

Stiff-Legged Deadlifts- 3 x 12-15

There were no chairs in the Jones gym because he never fucking sat down during a workout- he was no shiftless layabout.  In addition to the above, there was a ton of weighted ab work, weighted hill sprints and hikes, cycling, climbing, and whatever else he wanted to do. 

So there you have it- Maurice Jones, a man who lived and died so badass he likely never gave a fuck how close he was to a world record in the squat, because he'd rather rockclimb anyway.  There are a ton of lessons to be learned from the man's life- Jones was only limited by time and his imagination, he didn't give a fuck about records because he was all about the journey rather than the destination, and he didn't let shit stand in his way, be it age, injuries, or anything else.  Clearly, he was onto something.


... and if that shit wasn't enough to get your ass into the gym tonight, check out this 69 year old who managed to build a better physique than anyone I know under a Communist regime and still chumps the lot of us going into his seventh decade of life.



Sources:

Baptiste, Walt.  Maurice Jones, Canadian Hercules (1941).  The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban.  11 Dec 2010.  Web.  10 Jul 2018.  http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2010/12/maurice-jones-canadian-hercules-by-walt.html

Maurice Jones the Canadian Hercules workout routine.  Rippeder.  Web.  28 Nov 2018.  http://rippeder.com/content/maurice-jones-canadian-hercules-workout-routine

McCallum, John.  Running.  Reprinted from Strength and Health Jan 1968.  Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban.  10 Aug 2017.  Web.  10 Jul 2018.  http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2017/08/running-john-mccallum-1968.html

Strossen, Randall.  Maurice Jones: muscles, mountains and the man.
Milo. Mar 1997 4(4)9-12.

9 comments:

  1. FAWK!! Much work to do. Glad you're out and writing again Jaime!! Great work as usual.

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  2. I started training at 18 and still do so at 52. Hopefully a long way to go. Hopefully I'll see the revolution.

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  3. I can't tell you how many military members complain of their "old" age being that they're in the 30s to 40s bracket. I've entered my 30s and continue to bust my ass and lift heavy because why not? There's a weird letting go on heavy weights for the 40 and up guys which I cant gather being that there are ways to work around aches and injuries. Anyway great read again, bro!

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    1. Glad you liked it, bro! You military guys have a whole different ball of wax to deal with when it comes to injuries and shit, but if Chuck Sipes could land on his fucking head after a chute malfunction and set WRs, we should all be able to hit the weights hard at any age.

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  4. Loprinzi's gym is still operating in south east Portland (OR). It still has all of, or at least most of, the original equipment it had when it was opened in 1946.

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