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10 Bulk Routines That Work - Fred R.


Gary Aprahamian

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10 Bulk Routines That Work

by Fred R. Howell (1974)

Somehow in the past few weeks the word leaked out that I had at least a ton of weights in my
cellar. All of a sudden every kid in town that owned a barbell or was going to train someday
showed up at my door asking to see this old mans collection of iron.
Talking with the kids I learned that each and every one of them had, as their goal, a desire to gain
weight. Some of them, Im sorry to say, will be very lucky to gain a few pounds with the type of
courses they follow. Their training routines are far from weight gaining routines. I was able to
convince one super enthusiast not to train every day and expect to add on the pounds. Not when
hes just a beginner.
Nature plays a horrible trick on the human male. When a male needs the weight most to excel in
some head-busting sport its hard to put it on. Then a few years later when we have no use at all
for extra bodyweight, we can add it just by looking at food. I had to smile to myself as they

talked about their routines and how they wanted to weigh a certain amount in a couple of
months. And here I am fighting the battle of the double bulge.
Lets take a look at some of the bulk courses that have been used over the last 35 years with
outstanding results. In the early thirties a guy by the name of Joseph C. Hise was stuck at 200
lbs. bodyweight. Having used all the standard routines, Joe read about the squat in Mark Berrys
magazine. Hise figured anything was worth a try and used his own ideas to formulate a bulking
He did the squat, press behind the neck, and curl. In just one month he gained 29 pounds. When
he wrote Berry about this super fast gain, Mark couldnt believe it. Joe had to write to Berry a
couple of times before he would print the news! Hise continued his experiments and finally
reached a bodyweight of 298 lbs. His arm hit 19 with a chest of 56 and thighs that measured 39.
In this routine the curl and press behind neck should be done for 10 reps, using one set of each
exercise only. The squat in this routine the squat done for only 20 reps each workout. The first 10
reps of the squat should be done in the usual way. After the 10th rep, however, take three or more
deep breaths between each squat. After doing 20 reps this way your breathing should be rapid
and take two or three minutes to return to its normal level. Be sure to train no more than three
alternate days per week.
Mark Berry, mentioned earlier, weighed around 130 lbs. and had been doing squats without any
fancy breathing and was still known as the thin man. Hise talked in his ear and Mark built a squat
rack to prove Joe was all wet. He started doing sets of 20 deep knee bends with the three breaths
between reps, a few curls, presses, plus a set of pullovers. This simple routine, plus a fair amount
of food, gave him a gain of 50 lbs. and Mark was tipping the scales at 180.
Notice that Mark Berry used the pullover. Hise wrote me that the one mistake he made was to
neglect doing the two arm pullover. He said, The use of the two arm pullover will perch the
upper chest high. Never neglect the two arm pullover, preferably the straight arm version. Then
faster, better looking gains will be your reward.
Then around 1940 Roger Eels started to give some publicity to a new twist on the exercise called
the squat. Before becoming a gym owner and publisher of a magazine he called Vim, Eels
made some cash teaching beginners how to fly planes. In those ancient days a motor was primed
by spinning the propeller. The ignition is turned on with the throttle closed and one good yank
will start the motor. Alas! a pupil had the throttle open and the propeller sucked Eels into it. A
tendon on the external vastus of his left thigh was sheared off. This plus a bout with TB led Eels
to try barbells. At first he did 20 reps in the squat in rapid fashion without any special attention to
breathing. The results were average and Eels wrote Hise that squats are just another exercise
without magic. Hise went out and visited Eels, unannounced, as he did many of his friends and

pupils and explained the way to big gains. Eels felt bodyweight poundage was enough to use in
the squat. Now, his leg condition may have been a factor in this idea, but no matter why, it
worked. The breathing squat (plenty of breathing between each rep), a set of curls, deadlift,
pullover, bench press and you have a routine Eels printed many times in Vim.
Harry Paschal once wrote me about Eels, saying, I remember very well the month Roger gained
DAY. He ate as much as he could, including three quarts of milk, a lot of honey for energy,
peanut butter plus several boxes of raisins each day. Rumor had it that Harry and Roger had a
bet as to who could gain the most weight in a month. Eels won and Harry said he cheated by
being able to stomach so much peanut butter.
The very same Harry Paschal in one of his great Bosco barbell booklets gave his version of a
weight gaining schedule. Here it is:
1.) Breathing Squat 15-20 reps.
2.) Pullover 15-20 reps.
3.) Press on Bench 8-12 reps.
4.) Breathing Squat 15-20 reps.
5.) Pullover 15-20 reps.
6.) Curl 8-12 reps.
7.) Breathing Squat 15-20 reps.
8.) Bent Arm Pullover 8-12 reps.
Do just one set of each exercise, three alternate days a week. Never use more than bodyweight in
the squat with at least three deep breaths between each squat. Be sure to get plenty of food
including meat, potatoes, eggs, whole wheat bread and cereal.
Both Eels and Paschal believed in light squats for gaining weight. They claimed heavy weights
compressed the rib cage. When you enlarge your rib cage your bodyweight will go up, and
deeper breathing is only possible with no more than bodyweight squats.
Now we come to a bulk, chest and leg routine recommended by John C. Grimek. It incorporates
the good use of BOTH HIGH AND LOW REPS. John has written about this type of course many
times. It has produced excellent results to those who gave it a fair trial.
In a letter John said, Training three times a week should be sufficient. Get enough sleep and rest
and by including a variety of food in your diet you should experience an increase of bodyweight.
Do about 3 sets per exercise for the upper body, about 8 to 10 reps to a
set. For the lower part, the legs, you should work as high as 15 reps in each set. Perhaps a squat
schedule as listed below might prove beneficial:

First set 20 reps, warmup with a light weight.

Second set 12-15 reps, increase the weight.
Third set 10-12 reps, increase the weight.
Fourth set 8-10 reps, increase the weight.
Fifth set 5-6 reps, increase the weight.
Sixth set 3-5 reps, increase the weight for the
Last set 1-3 reps.
It is suggested that you do a chest exercise in between each set of squats, as well as a back
exercise after the squats. It is imperative to start fairly low in poundage the first set to warm up
the legs. Then increase the weight in each set and complete the sets mentioned. This routine plus
plenty of good food will help anyone to add that magic bulk to his frame.
Norman Fay made some amazing gains in bodyweight. A gym owner on the West Coast who
wanted to gain weight to see just how big he could become without getting fat, at the start of his
experiment he weighed 156 lbs. and at the end of 30 days he was tipping the Toledo at 186. Here
is one of his favorite weight gaining programs. He had put all of his pupils on it at his gym and
said he never had a failure. Heres the routine:
1.) Clean & Press with a barbell Do 12 reps and make each clean a dead-hang clean. Breathe as
deeply as possible before cleaning and when pressing.
2.) Pullover on a round bench Light dumbells should be used. Breathe in as deeply as possible
as you lower the dumbells. Keep your elbows straight. Do 20 reps and be sure to force the air
into your lungs.
3.) Bench Press 12 reps
4.) Dumbell Curl 12 reps.
5.) Rowing Motion Be sure the bar touches your chest each rep 20 reps.
6.) Lateral Raise on a bench 20 reps with deep breathing on each rep.
7.) Deadlift 20 reps. Breathe in as you raise the weight and out when you let the weight down,
followed with a set of light pullovers.
8.) Breathing Squat 35 reps. The Fay version will make it a real gaining exercise. With every
squat take 3 deep breaths and really pack in the air on that third breath. If your chest doesnt ache
after the squats then you wont gain like you should. After a set of these your ribs should feel like
theyre going to drop off onto the floor. Follow with another set of light pullovers. This course
never failed to put on weight for those who worked hard, ate enough and rested well.
Heres another guy that used a brief course and gained 100 lbs. and got the first 60 of those
pounds in the first year of training. Willis Reed, a barrel-chested Hollywood strongman, had a
four-point program which he followed to gain this weight. First, sleep: You need 8 to 10 hours of
sleep, according to the amount of energy you use during the day. If you work hard during the day
or your day-to-day life is stressful you will need 10 hours to get the maximum gains. Second,

nutrition: You need good solid food. Willis liked malted milk shakes and included plenty of
them. Be sure to include green vegetables, meats, whole wheat products and a snack before bed
at night. Third was not to worry. It wreaks havoc with the digestive process. Dont invent
worries. We all worry at times but you must understand and overcome this habit. It keeps
bodyweight down. Worry will wreck the program and your body simply wont assimilate the
food you eat, no matter how much.
Fourth is the exercise program. The exercises are the squat, two arm pullover, regular deadlift,
and bentover rowing. These four exercises work the large muscle groups of your body to the
limit; the legs, chest and back. Train three alternate days a week. Heres how:
1.) Squat Do 10 reps. Place a barbell across the shoulders, feet flat with heels about a foot
apart. Take a deep breath, descend, and exhale as you arise to standing position. Go easy for the
first month and work on the breathing; its very important as this enlarges the lung capacity and
the rib cage and triggers better health and assimilation of foods.
2.) Two Arm Pullover Lie on a bench on your back. The weight is above your head, then allow
it to move backward behind the head, keeping the elbows locked. Take a deep breath before
lowering and try to get more air in by the time the bell is behind your head. Exhale as you return
to the starting position for 10 reps.
3.) Regular Deadlift Use 10 reps in this one. While standing, reach down and grasp the bar,
being sure to bend your legs and keep a flat back. Take a deep breath as you straighten up and
exhale as you lower the bar to the floor.
4.) Bentover Row Breathe in as you pull the bar up to your chest, and exhale as you lower it.
Dont cheat. If you find yourself cheating, try holding the bar at your chest for a two count until
strict form becomes second nature. 10 reps.
If youre tired of many sets and few results why not give this course a try. Lifters were happy
with the bulk they could gain but wanted a small waist too. Soon everyone was trying a low rep
routine. A typical setup would include the squat, bench press, bent-arm laterals, pullovers, curl,
press behind the neck, deadlift, situp, and side bend. The pullover, situp and side bend were done
for 15 reps, 3 to 5 sets. The rest of the routine was done for 5 reps, 3 to 5 sets.
No matter how good the routines may be there are always a few men who cannot gain weight no
matter what they do. Sometimes a one exercise routine will pull them out of their rut.
Years ago Jim Evans found himself with little time to exercise. Looking for one exercise that
would give his body a complete workout he chose the Clean & Jerk. Evans took a weight he
could handle for 10 reps as a warmup, cleaning each one from the hang position. Then he added

weight in 10 lb. jumps doing 5 reps each set until he reached couldnt get the 5. A few others did
just the clean, feeling the jerk was a waste of energy. Jim worked out twice a week and yes, he
did gain weight.
A closer look at these routines reveal them to be very close to what the beer garden lifters used to
do in their workouts. None of them were known as skinny.
In the last course Ill present we have the same brief training routine as J.C. Hise used, except
here lower reps are used . . . and only two exercises.
A hefty guy by the name of Ron Ledas used such a workout routine and trust me, it sure worked
for him. Workout just three times a week on alternate days. Do 6 sets of 6 reps of each exercise.
Do only the squat and the bench press. Dont cheat. Ever. Make the muscles do the work at all
times. De sure to warm up first with a light weight for 10 reps. Get extra sleep and chow. You
must work the larger muscles of the body to gain weight and size. Once you have enough raw
beef go back to a regular routine.
Before you rush in and try out one of these routines, ask yourself these question: Have you been
training for at least six months yet? Have you been using a good course? If not, give yourself a
few months to get out of the beginner class.
All the routines mentioned here have proved to be great bulk builders. According to your mental
attitude, physical limitations, personal liking for high or low reps they will produce added
bodyweight. Physiological reasons such as superior metabolism and genetic background will
make some men gain faster than others.
You must follow the basic rules of good health. Give any routine at least two months fair trial. It
will take at least a month to get used to a new routine. So dont give up after a few weeks.
Persistence will win out. Stick with it and get big.