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The Charles Atlas Question
John Peterson John Peterson is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2008
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12-06-2019, 08:54 PM
Hello Everyone,

I hope you're all having a great day. As almost all of you know that have been with me for any length of time, I have been a strong advocate of the Charles Atlas Training System since my Grandfather got me on it in the summer of 1963 (that's 56 years ago). Even to this day, I still do a Low Volume Ultra Intense Version of Atlas's exercises with my Isometric Power Belt Training System.

The reason I bring it up is that I received an e-mail from a man that had tons of questions about Atlas's System because he recently got a copy of 'Pushing Yourself to Power" and was told by one of his friends as he looked through it, that it was obvious to him that both Charles Atlas and I had been weight lifters. So the guy asked me, "Is that true."

I'll make this short and sweet.

My friends in years past I always felt a need to defend Charles Atlas and his integrity because I felt that in a way I was vindicating myself for training with Atlas's method... but that was then and this is now...I don't need to defend anyone or anything.

Besides, you can't prove it either way and people can believe whatever they want and it doesn't change anything.

I will say this though. I had many discussions with Jack King, whom I profiled in "Ultimate Push-Ups For The Awesome Physique". Jack had won the Masters Mr. America in 1997 at age 61. Jack trained obsessively with the Push-Up as his cornerstone exercise because weightlifting had so injured his shoulders and wrists that he could no longer do pressing movements of any kind. Yet, with his feet elevated on a bench and holding a block in each hand to ease the pain in his wrists, Jack told me that over the course of 5 years beginning in 1992 that his High Volume Push-Up routine performed on Wednesdays and Saturdays had given him the best-ever overall development of his life though he only weighed 160 when he won the Masters Mr. America.

I first came across Jack's story In a June 2001 article from Iron Man Magazine. In it, writer Bill Starr wrote,
"My longtime friend Jack King...found he couldn't do any free weight exercises for his upper body: no flat benches, inclines, declines--nothing...finally he came up with an exercise he could do without pain that brought him the desired results. It was a form of Push-Up, in which he placed his feet on a bench and did partial movements while he gripped blocks to take the pressure off his wrists. By adding reps, he slowly worked up to four sets of 150 reps. it worked wonderfully because he won a great many physique titles, including the Masters Mr. America."

It was during my discussions with Jack King that I asked him whether or not he believed Charles Atlas could have developed his physique with only his Dynamic Tension Exercise System rather than lifting weights. Jack's response was, "Absolutely! I know from my own experience what Push-Ups can do. They're almost all you'd have to do to get a great looking upper body. In fact, I knew guys that were boxers that had great lookin' builds that did nothin' but Push-Ups for their upper body."

---John Peterson
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