||10-16-2009 10:29 PM
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.