Chuck Sipes appreciation thread
Dude was crazy with his training and his physique and strength show it:mh:
Chuck Sipes Golden Era Classic Bodybuilder Strength Feats
Chuck Sipes Bodybuilder | Bodybuilding champion of the Golden Age | Classic pro physique muscle star and contest winner, Chuck Sipes | IFBB, Joe Weider, Hall of Fame member.
Here's the Chaos and Pain URL (MAB censored "f*ck):
Baddest Motherfuckers Ever #10- Chuck Sipes | Chaos and Pain
One Year of Total Abdominal Specialization
By Dennis Weis "The Yukon Hercules"
Anyone who has followed the competitive bodybuilding career of the
late Chuck Sipes, during the golden era will note that Chuck had
possessed a sensational abdominal development.
It is apparent that Chuck must have done some very SPECIAL work
on this waist region because on the night of the 1968 IFBB
Mr. World contest, Chuck not only won the overall title, but best
abs award. This feat is almost unheard of for a 220 pound
bodybuilder, regardless if he is a Super Star.
I was naturally curious as to how he accomplished this
specialization on the waist region because when I did the complete
story on his preparation for winning the Mr. World title (Iron Man/Jan
1984), he mentioned that he only performed a few sets of abs
exercises to retain sharpness from a special abs program the year
With this thought in mind, I obtained an exclusive interview from
Chuck, detailing how he prefers to SPECIALIZE on the waist region.
Read this interview very CAREFULLY and I am sure that you will
gain much wisdom from this man, Chuck Sipes.
Following is the taped personal interview that I had with Classic
Bodybuilder Chuck Sipes.
Dennis: Chuck what was your age when you began the very
specialized one year abs program?
Chuck: My age at the time I began the specialized abs training
program was 36 years.
Dennis: What were some of the IMPORTANT considerations that
caused you to embark on such a specialized schedule of
Chuck: Well, Dennis, one of the most important considerations that
I give to any type of training schedule is the promotion of HEALTH. I
feel that waist training is the KEY TO GOOD HEALTH. By this I mean
that abdominal exercises have a great toning effect on the internal
organs as well as the muscle structure itself. This, in turn, relates to
nutritional aspects. Waist training, when done properly, seems to
result in internal well being. Such work will often improve digestion,
which, in turn, will break down the food enzymes and proteins taken
into the body via nutritional foods.
Dennis: That’s quite an interesting point, Chuck. Now, would you
relate to the readers some of your secondary considerations in
planning your specialized abs program?
Chuck: To me, the waist region is one of the most important areas
from the standpoint of competitive bodybuilding and winning top
contests. Most bodybuilders concentrate more time on what they
consider the more showy type muscles. This would be the arms,
shoulders and chest areas. As a result, they have a lack of quality
abs development simply because they don’t work them with as
much EFFORT as the muscle areas just mentioned. I personally
believe that the abs are indeed the most eye catching of the body
Dennis: Earlier in the interview, you were mentioning the
breakdown of food enzymes and proteins in the body resulting from
proper abdominal training. What importance does NUTRITION play in
your training for "sharp" abs?
Chuck: Throughout my career of 30 plus years in the weight game, I
have always tried to adhere to a very balanced diet of PROTEINS, FATS,
CARBOHYDRATES in the proper ratio balance. I have always avoided
JUNK type foods. (This basic comment regarding diet is in
consideration of all body parts and not just the abs.)
Dennis: Chuck, would you care to go into your overall nutritional
Chuck: I believe I will wait till another time to do this since the many
facets of the proper nutrition as I see it would take a complete article
or interview itself.
Dennis: Having known you for many years and looking to the many
photos that you have had taken over the years, it appears that you
have always been in fantastic condition, especially in the waist
region. Comment on this.
Chuck: During my many years of bodybuilding, I have always
performed some type of waist training in my workout schedules.
Dennis: Well, why then did you put forth one solid year of EFFORT
on this body part since your abs were in great shape externally and
most likely in a state of well being internally.
Chuck: I believe that in order to bring out the absolute maximum
degree of muscular detail and development in the abs or any body
part for that matter, one must dedicate a period of time just on a
certain body part to realize for one’s self the absolute maximum
potential of the muscle growth, muscularity or strength.
Dennis: Does this mean that the period of time for specialization
on a muscle area would be governed by the factor whether the
muscle area was responsive to training or slow?
Dennis: Chuck, I think at this time, we should go directly into the
maximums of your special abdominal raining program. What was
your body weight and waist measurement when you began this
intense training schedule?
Chuck: At the time I began training on this one year program, my
body weight was 190 pounds and my waist measured 32 inches.
Dennis: Did you make any alterations considering your diet
previous to beginning this abs program?
Chuck: I have always followed a super nutritional program
during my career regardless of my existing goals at different
periods of time. I didn’t really alter my diet at all to aid in
muscularizing my abs to the maximum. Instead of diet
considerations, I CONCENTRATED on HARD and VICIOUS
workouts. This factor in itself keeps the sets and reps per
exercise low key per version.
Dennis: You have always been noted for the chunky granite hard
abdominal formation that appears to be almost separated as a
muscle group from the rest of your physique. What do you attribute
this muscle formation to?
Chuck: Well, there are many factors that are all a part of this visual
effect. HEREDITY, which is the muscle structure you are born with;
skin thickness-some people just seem to have less of a layer of fat
between the muscle and the outer skin surface. I am fortunate in
the fact that my skin is thin. I have just touched on a few of the
considerations involved in this muscle area. I will go into more
detail later but to sum it up in terms of exercise movement, I
believe that the HIGH INCLINE SITUP on an incline abdominal
board has helped greatly to develop to the greatest potential for
my frontal abdominal thickness. I always use some sort of weight
behind the head in this movement.
Dennis: During the one year (1967) of total abdominal
specialization, did you experience any difficulty with any one part
of the abs structure lacking in proper balanced development?
Chuck: Yes. I felt that the lower abs didn’t respond quite as rapidly
as I would have liked them to. I think when I outline the abs routine
later in this interview, the readers will better understand how I
corrected this problem.
Dennis: Did you have a certain speed of movement in regard to
the performance of each rep in your exercise sets? Example: slow,
medium or fast?
Chuck: I an glad that you mentioned this, Dennis. I feel that
SPEED OF MOVEMENT in abs training is the KEY to ZENITH
development in the abdominal region. I always tried to
CONCENTRATE on rapid, quick movements with continuous
tension and flexing in the movements of waist work. I might
mention that that I didn’t sacrifice strictness of movement in the
exercises. The speed of movement is obtained over a period of
many months while on this SPECIAL program. The increased
speed of movement per rep doesn’t happen in the first month
of training. From what I have observed from my many travels
and training with many bodybuilders, most don’t concentrate on
this speed of movement in their abs programs.
Dennis: How did you select the proper exercises and the right
ratio of sets and reps?
Chuck: I did this from past workouts experience, and the feel
and effect in the muscle area from the various movements.
After 20 plus years of experience in the iron game, I believe
that one develops a second sense to whether or not a muscle
area is being worked properly. I go by the feel of the MUSCLE
ACHE and TIGHTNESS in a muscle region (abs in this case).
By this method, I know that I am having a productive workout
rather than just doing set after set. Whenever I specialize on
a body part, my stamina and endurance improve remarkably.
In this way, the muscle ache and tightness I spoke of
subsides quickly and in this way, there is less rest between
Dennis: How long do you rest between sets of abdominal
Chuck: Well, if I am on specialization type work, I rest only
momentarily, probably less than 10 seconds. On most regular
type exercise schedules, my rest periods between sets are
around 20 to 30 seconds and no more.
Dennis: How many days per week did you perform this
SPECIAL ABS program?
Chuck: The first 6 months of the program, I performed the
exercises 6 days per week and twice per day. The second 6
months, I performed the program 6 days per week and did
increase to doing the program 3 times per day.
Dennis: How long did each individual session last since
you did mention that you performed the program more than o
nce per day?
Chuck: Each time I performed the program, it normally ran
about 10 minutes. As you can see, the first six months, I was
devoting 20 minutes per day to the schedule and the last 6
months, I was devoting a half hour per day.
Dennis: During the one year period of abdominal
specialization did you have a FAVORITE abs exercise?
Chuck: Yes. My favorite exercise for the abdominal region
was the high angle incline sit up with a 25 pound weight held
behind the head for resistance.
Dennis: Did you make any changes in regard to your exercise
variations or any changes in the sets and reps patterns during
the one year of SPECIALIZED abs training?
Chuck: I am not the type of individual who has to have a wide
variety of exercises to be happy. By this, I prefer the basics
and have always continued to make the progress on them
over the years. The only change that I did on this abdominal
work was to change the order or sequence of the performed
exercises. I would do this every four weeks or so. This gave
my MENTAL ATTITUDE a lift.
Dennis: Relate to the readers the exact day-to-day specialized
abs schedule that you personally use for a total of six days
per week for one year.
Chuck: Here is the exact program:
ABDOMINAL TRAINING SCHEDULE
6 DAYS A WEEK
INCLINE SIT UPS (I would hook my situp board in the middle
range position of the 7 rung abdominal ladder). -- 2 sets of
INCLINE SIT UPS (I used a 25 pound plate behind the head for
resistance). Working from low to high elevation on the ladder, I
would do 2 sets at each position. On these Incline Sit Ups with
weight, I would focus much CONCENTRATION on FLEXING the
abs with deep TENSION. -- 2 sets of 8 reps.
With a broom stick or bar held behind the neck, Iwould expel
all the air from my lungs and bend forward to a parallel position
to the floor. -- 2 sets of 50 reps.
With a broom stick or bar behind the neck, I would bend from
side to side in a rapid succession touching the elbows to
the sides and striving to CRUNCH the abs. -- 2 sets of 50 reps.
*USE QUICK FAST MOVEMENTS ON THESE TWO EXERCISES.
INCLINE BOARD LEG RAISES (I used iron boots for added
resistance) Each week I would vary the range of the incline
board from medium to high range for the required sets.
Sometimes for a variation i would substitute HANGING LEG
RAISES from a chin up bar. I Concentrated on TIGHTENING the
abs with each movement. -- 4 sets of 8 reps.
This is tremendous exercise for the internal abs health and
great for development purposes also. I CONCENTRATED ON
VERY HIGH DEGREE OF VACUUM FORCING THE ABS REGION
FORWARD. -- 4 sets of 8 reps.
Dennis: Considering the low amount of sets and reps for the 6
exercises, the program looks quite basic. Would you care to c
omment on this?
Chuck: Yes. I will list some points that will show you that this
program was very intense in its entirety.
1. The program was followed at least twice per day for the first 6
months and three times per day the last 6 months. This factor
alone greatly increases the severity of the program.
2. I increased the SPEED of movement over the 12 month period
and this added to the intensity of the exercises.
3. Constantly throughout the exercise movements, I kept
CONTINUOUS TENSION on the abs.
4. I CONCENTRATED deeply into the muscle area (abs) so as
to achieve a deep ACHE and TIGHTNESS.
Dennis: During the one year of specialized abs work, did you
ever notice any adverse effects regarding your overall
strength feats or lack of growth in your body parts?
Chuck: No. As a matter of fact, I was able to reach a Peak of
Strength while on the abs program. My bench press for
example was nearing 600 pounds during this period. All of my
various body parts reached ZENITH growth and development.
Of course, you must remember that this program was in
part successful due to my 20 plus years in the iron game
and I have great recuperative powers.
Dennis: I guess this just about winds up the interview on your
specialized abs training program that you followed many years
ago. I have two final questions that I am sure that the readers
would be interested in hearing a response to.
QUESTION 1: What was your waist measurement and bodyweight
at the end of the one year program?
Chuck: My waist measured 31" and my bodyweight was 220
pounds. As you can see, I only lost 1" on my waist from a
beginning of 32", but if you will note, I gained 30 pounds in
bodyweight, so I feel that the program is worthwhile and I have
a definite high regard for the program.
QUESTION 2: Of a person other than yourself were to attempt
the listed abs program, what are some of the considerations
that one should take into account so that the results will be
100 percent successful?
Chuck: I must first say that someone else following this
particular routine may not achieve the high degree of results that
I realize from it. This might be so, even if one were to follow all
the SUCCESS KEYS mentioned pertaining to this program. The
reasons behind this are HEREDITARY (Abs formation that you are
born with), SKIN THICKNESS, DEDICATION TO TRAINING, ENERGY
LEVELS, AGE OF THE PERSON. After age 30, one would find it
very hard to develop prize winning abs unless the practice of
controlled waist work had been adhered to years prior, such as I
have done. I have never allowed my waist girth or development
to get out of hand. Abs have always been a priority group to me.
Overall though, one still can realize great improvement in the
abs following this program. I believe that one should be
sensible enough to realize that one can’t jump into the exact
listed days exercises, sets, reps and speed of movements, and
all the tensing and muscle flexing that gear this program to its
greatest intensity. First, take into consideration the present
physical condition of your abs, your bodyweight, age and
finally your projected abs goal.
I believe that one could begin to work into this program by
beginning with a mild routine of abs work. For example, one
might begin on a simple program of waist work. Use one
exercise session 3 days per week. As the waist gets
conditioned, increase the amount of exercises, sets and reps
and most important, the speed of movement. After this one
year of total specialization is completed, the best way to
taper off and maintain the greatest muscularity and skin
tone from this very specialized abs program is to always
include 15 to 20 minutes of RAPID and VIGOROUS waist work
each workout, and the results will hold. I have done this for
the past 9 years and my abs are even in better muscular
condition than they were on the night I won best abs at the
IFBB 1968 Mr. World Contest.
Dennis: Thanks so much for sharing with the readers your
explicitly calculated specialized abs routine. Concluding this
rather lengthy interview, do you have any final remarks?
Chuck: CONTINUE TO EAT WHOLESOME NUTRIOUS FOODS.
By following these suggestions, one will be able to maintain
a MUSCULAR and YOUTHFUL mid section.
huck Sipes Bodybuilding Contest History:
Mr. Northern California - 1st
Jr. Mr. America - 3rd (Western section)
Mr. America - 9th
IFBB Mr. America - 1st
IFBB Mr. Universe - 1st
Mr. Olympia - 3rd *
Mr. Olympia - 2nd *
NABBA World Championships - 1st
Mr. Northern California - 1st
IFBB Mr. World - 1st
IFBB Mr. Universe - 2nd (medium class)
Mr. Pacific Coast - 1st (over-40 class)
Chuck Sipes On Power Training - Dennis Weis
Chuck Sipes on Power Training
by Dennis B. Weis
We shall now look into the training wisdom that Chuck Sipes has shared with me by letter and long distance phone conversation. One of the things that really impresses me about Sipes is this: he has never neglected to write a reply to my letters. He always answered immediately and his solutions were very well thought. The point that makes this a great effort on Chuck’s part is the fact that at the time I was in heavy correspondence with him (the late 1960’s) he was a youth counselor at a California reformatory, was doing strength shows worldwide and was in heavy competition for such titles as Mr. World and Mr. Olympia. He was also training to bench press 600 lbs. at a bodyweight of 230. It is hard to see where he could find the time to answer my letters as well as those of countless others he was in regular contact with.
The one thing that I have noted about all the training advice from Chuck is his constant belief that one should include heavy supporting movements to build up the tendon and ligament strength.
From the beginning of correspondence with Chuck he always stressed taking germ oils, sunflower seeds, papaya, peanuts and lots of milk. He always advised me to constantly add weight whenever I could for maximum stimulation of growth and strength. He once mentioned that I should use a jump rope for 4 sets of one minute all-out jumping at the end of my workouts. The one advantage to using the rope is that it only takes a small area in which to use it. Here in Alaska it’s not always possible to run outdoors! During one of my letters to Sipes, I was very interested in obtaining better strength and development of the forearms, as well as increasing my bench press. This is one of the routines that he suggested I use for the forearms. It can be followed three times a week and no more. This is because of the great amount of recovery time needed after the workouts.
Reverse Curl (slowly) – 4 sets of 8 reps.
DB Wrist Forearm Curl (off knee) 4x15.
Cable or Pulley Reverse Curl – 4x12.
Rubber Ball Squeeze, Newspaper Roll-up, etc.
One the bench press routine he said to begin at least 6 months before a meet. This is a five days per week routine which is very intense. There is much direct effort stimulating the ligaments and tendons.
Monday & Wednesday
Warm up Prone, regular grip – 2 sets x10 reps.
Bench Press – 2x6; 2x4; 2x2; 4 singles.
Tuesday & Thursday
Heavy Supports – 5x8.
100 lbs. over best press from ¼ way down to lockout.
Prones – Close to maximum poundage.
Heavy Supports – 150 lbs. over best press, holding with a slight elbow bend.
Prones – close to maximum poundage.
Incline Press, wide grip, slowly – 4x6.
Dumbell Incline Press, slowly – 4x6.
Pullovers, very light weight, deep breaths following 1 minute skipping – 2x20
Flat Flyes, very deep breaths – 4x8.
At this point I shall detail some more powerlift routines by Chuck and some special bodypart specialization for the physique man. After these routines I’ll relate some of his general maxims for training.
Full Squat – 2 sets of 8 reps. 2x6, 2x4, 2x2, 2x1.
Quarter Squat – 6x10.
Leg Press – 8x6.
Chuck mentioned that it is very dangerous to do any type of heavy support or ¼ movement without the aid of a power rack or competent spotters. The weights used in these heavy movements should always be properly warmed up to and done under control at all times. You can never afford sloppy form in heavy movements. The older one gets the longer it takes to recover from an injury.
Regular Deadlift – 2 sets of 8 reps, 2x6, 2x4, 2x2, 2x1.
Rack Deadlift from below knees – 6x4. Use the same position as for your regular deadlift at this height.
Deadlift Holds – 6 sets of 1 minute each.
Chuck mentioned that to deal with tender calluses, soak the hands in a tuff skin solution.
Bench Press Routine
Speed Bench – 6 sets of 10. Use a light weight and accelerate the bar from the chest as rapidly as possible.
Heavy Let Downs – 4x8. Fight weight slowly to chest. Use about 100 lbs. over best lift.
Supports – 6 sets of 10 seconds each. No movement, just hold the weight in top position for the required time.
I will now conclude with some strength training advice from Chuck Sipes and a few miscellaneous powerlift tips.
I once asked Sipes what he thought of using knee bands or wraps in training. I was using knee wraps at he time and felt great doing full squats with 425 lbs. for sets of 6 reps. He advised me never to use wraps in training, saying that wraps have a tendency to weaken the muscle areas of the legs. Chuck said that my poundages would drop when I discontinued the use of wraps, and he was certainly right. The very next workout I couldn’t even do 2 reps with the 425. I think a little bit of the problem was in my mind. He did recommend using them in competition.
I had trouble coming out of the bottom or my heavy squats. Chuck recommended incorporating jumping squats with a barbell of a dumbell in each hand, using a light weight. He mentioned 4 sets of 10 reps. The last 2 reps should feel hard but you should still be able to spring up forcefully. When you can do 8 out of 10 reps the weight is probably just right. When you achieve 10 proper reps it is time to add 20 lbs. to the squat bar or 10 lbs. to each dumbell. This exercise will build the initial driving power. It corrected my problem when I used it.
Chuck recommended trying for a limit on the powerlifts in training in meet style every two months. I realize that not everyone is going to agree with this advice on strength training. This is only natural but don’t be so set or preconceived in your ideas that you can’t have an open approach to different concepts on training, providing they seem sensible and have been shown to produce real results.
Here are four specialized bodypart routines Chuck suggested I use at different times during our correspondence. Remember that these routines weren’t designed to be performed all at the same time. To some of you they may look ordinary or very common. As I have mentioned before, these routines were tailored to correct my own problem areas. Upon closer examination you will find that a lot of thought and preparation went into designing them.
Arm Specialization Routine
To be done three times a week. Always try and add weight to the exercises and work hard to cut your rest periods down to an eventual 45 seconds or less between sets and exercises.
Cheat Curl – 4 sets of 4 reps.
Concentration Curl – 6x8. 2 sets with palms up, 2 sets with palms with palms in (dumbell will be sideways). In these positions you will be seated and bent over with tricep resting on the forearm which is stretched across the legs. 2 sets with palms facing you, bent over a table with forehead on forearm (which is on table), touch dumbell under armpit.
Preacher Curl with EZ curl bar – 3x10.
Wrist Curls – 4x20. 2 sets with palms up and 2 sets with palms down.
Lying French Press to Nose – 4x6.
Pressdown – 3x20.
Pullup superset with
Dip – 6x6 each with no rest.
6 Day Per Week Ab and Oblique Specialization
One thing I must mention is that in order to see the results of your ab work you will have to study your diet and correct anything causing a layer of fat to accumulate around the midsection.
Front Bends – 2x100. This exercise is performed like a good morning. The only difference is that you perform it with only an unloaded exercise bar and tense the abs strongly as you bend forward, making sure to go to parallel with the upper and hold the ab contraction for a moment.
Side Bends – 2x100. Work each side separately. Hold a dumbell in one hand only.
Sit Ups – 4x20. Use an incline board and add weight when possible.
Leg Raises – 4x12. Use an incline board and add weight when possible.
Hanging Leg Raises – 4x10. Done from a chinning bar.
Jog – ½ mile.
Body Twists – 2x200. Use an empty bar behind the neck and contract hard to each side, trying to cramp and lock up the muscles.
Do not rest more than a few seconds between sets.
Calf Routine No. 1
Calf Raise on Standing Calf Machine – 5x20.
One Leg Calf Raise – 4x20. Hold a heavy dumbell in one hand.
After you have done the above, lean against a wall and rise up on toes, flexing the calf muscles very hard. Do this 4 times and hold each flexed position for at least a 10 second count.
Heel Raises on Calf Machine, again – 5 sets of 10 full reps, followed by 20 burns in the upper position.
Calf Routine No. 2.
Calf Raise on Standing Calf Machine – 4x20. Very slow and concentrated.
One Leg Calf Raise – 4x60. Use only your bodyweight and slowly do the first 30 reps concentrating on the downward stretch. Do the next 30 reps of the set in a bouncy fashion concentrating on the high flex position.
Iron Shoes – 2x20. Sitting on a high bench so that the legs are free to hang without touching the ground, raise toes high and work feet back and forth with the legs slightly out. You may add weight to the boots when the reps are too easy. Do not sacrifice form for the added weight.
You may do either of these two routines 4 days a week.
Chuck mentioned several times that if your diet is right you don’t need to take much in the ways of supplements and added protein concentrates.
Sorry BTB, I should have forgone the links and pasted the info in :tomato:
I am definitely going to add in some of his ab work... his inclined situp approach sounds awesome... probably 3 days a week. I wish I had the time to do it every day, 2x a day. But, the ab wheel will have to suffice the other days :(
"250 lb. Standing barbell curl"
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