Don Howorth Training Routine

Don Howorth, “the Duke of Delts”, was born on November 9, 1935, in Los Angeles, California.  He was known for his wide shoulder. In 1967 he won the title Mr. America. Thus he was qualified for the Mr. Olympia.

But he did not compete. He said: “Who in their right mind would want to go up against Sergio Oliva? He was unbeatable. I would have to wait until he retired, the way Frank Zane held out until Arnold stepped down.”

The bodybuilding career of Mr. California began in his garage in the summer of 1955. It was a set of weights, inherited from an inactive buddy, that launched Don on his way. Progress was slow but encouraging that first year of training at home. 

Don was still training rather casually at this point with no definite plans other than getting gaining weight. He continued to work out three times a week for the next couple of years and he began to show real promise as a bodybuilder.

He entered his first contest and placed a somewhat disappointing fourth in his height class. This was the turning point in his bodybuilding career, for he began training in earnest right after this contest – six days a week!

One of his hobbies is building radio-controlled flying model airplanes. His interest in this was no doubt cultivated while serving eight years in the Naval Air Reserve. Although he was assigned to ordnance, he has flown in the famous “Shooting Star” jet on several occasions.

He credits weight training with saving him from serious injury during a routine sixty-hour check of a special ejection seat from one of the jet fighters. It seems that his assistant forgot to apply the safety level on the seat and it suddenly ejected from the cockpit while Don had a very secure grip on it. He traveled about fifteen feet up in the air before he could let go of the seat and landed almost head first on the wing of the plane; the ejection seat landed 200 feet away on top of a hanger. Don jokingly mentioned that he was almost “first man in space.”

Don’s training workout split:
Monday-Wednesday-Friday: Chest, deltoids, arms and forearms
Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday: Thighs, calves, lats and back and waist



Incline Press  8 sets 8 reps
Arched Bent-arm Laterals 4 sets 10 reps


Incline Side Raises 4 sets 10 reps
Dumbbell Press 4 sets 8 reps

Lats & Back

Chins 8 sets 10 reps
One-arm-Rowing 4 sets 8 reps
Long Lat Pulls 8 sets 10 reps
Incline Rear Deltoid Raises 8 sets 12 reps
Stiff-legged Deadlift 4 sets 15 reps



Front Squats 6 sets 8 reps
Hack Squats 6 sets 12 reps
Leg Extension 6 sets 20 reps
Leg Curls 6 sets  15 reps



Heel Raises on Leg Press 6 sets 20 reps
Heel Raises weight on knees 6 sets 20 reps


Standing Preacher-bench Curls 4 sets 8 reps
Pulley concentration curls 4 sets 12 reps


Seated Barbell French Press 4 sets 8 reps
Lat-machine pushdowns 4 sets 12 reps


Wrist Curls 10 sets 15 reps


Hanging leg raises 4 sets 30 reps
Lying leg raises 4 sets 30 reps


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