Legends of the Iron Game

the rack front door

Anthony Ditillo is a name unfamiliar to many, but quite legendary to a select few.  Ditillo was a prominent writer for Ironman Magazine (IM) from the 1960’s all the way up to the 1980’s.  In addition to the many articles he wrote for IM Ditillo also authored two iconic strength training books: The Development of Physical Strength and The Development of Muscular Bulk and Power.  With the invention of the internet, information on power lifting, body building, weightlifting and strength training is abundant.  However, in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and even beyond, information like this was few and far between.  You could not simply log on to your favorite website and download a training program.  Programs were offered in some magazines, but you had to mail in the other forms and then wait like a child longing for Christmas morning for that program to arrive in the mail, weeks, sometimes even months later.  To understand the importance of legends like Anthony Ditillo, think back to the culture of weightlifting.  Lifting weights, especially being strong, was frowned upon, even discouraged and seen as unhealthy.  To put this into a more clear perspective, the most popular trends in exercise and fitness in the 50’s and 60’s were Hula Hooping (yes, this was a legit form of exercise then, and those vibrating belt contraptions).  The first Gold’s Gym wasn’t opened until 1965, by Joe Gold in California.

Now that you’re fully emersed in the fitness culture of his day, imagine, if you will someone in the 60’s and 70’s writing thorough articles on things like this:

  • High Frequency pressing, utilizing many variations, performed 3-4 times a week
  • Heavy loads for both the weightlifter AND the body builder
  • 90% loads for multiple sets of singles
  • Opting for rep schemes of 10×5 over 5×10 for strength and size
  • Routines like: 5×1, followed by 5×3,then 5×5
  • Breathing Squats and Back-Off sets

Anthony Ditillo is amongst the first lifters AND authors to popularize the use of power rack training inspired by Paul Anderson.    Dead-stop, sometimes known as Pin presses/squats were brand spanking new in his day and he was one of the first to use that style of training.  Much like Arnold pioneered body building styles and methods, Anthony Ditillo was decades ahead of research.  In fact, it was the instincts, writings and training styles of Ditillo and his pears in the 60’s on up that provided the theory upon which much of modern strength training research is based upon.  Seemingly becoming an expert on all things strength related, he was always experimenting on himself.  Walking around at over 300lbs, he routinely would cut weight all the way down to an extremely lean 180-190 pounds on a 5 foot 6 inch frame.

in strength, Robs Blog

Robert Jacobs
USAW, PICP, BioSignature, Metabolic Analytics, NKT, Nike-SPARQ, NASM-PES, CES & CPT

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