Joe Dube: The Teen Weightlifting Star

Joseph Douglas “Joe” Dube (born February 15, 1944) is an American weightlifter and world champion. Here’s Dube’s story!

Less than a week before his 20th birthday, which fell on February 15, the 283-pound giant pressed 400 3/4 pounds in a Jacksonville, Florida, A.A.U. meet to break the junior world and national teen-age records.

In the press, his best is 400. The snatch is 310, although he did a 325lb but lost it forward. His best jerk is 395. He tried a 405lb but failed. His best total is 1085lb. Unofficialy he can do 220pound curl, a 620 pound squat and 500 pound front squat.

As for other lifts, the Floridian did a 415lb push press, 410 high pull, snatch grip up to chest; a 545lb clean grip over belt, 525lb power push or press starts above head, two 370lb power cleans, five 1,050 one-quarter squats, and an 870lb half deadlift on power rack.

Dube was a track star in high school. He did a 100-yard dash in 10.5, 220 in 24.6 while weighing 192 pounds. In the field events, he covered 60 feet with a 12 pound shot put. His future in sports was: Art. He was attending an artists’ school.

The young lifter stands one-quarter inch short of six feet. His other measurements: Neck, 19 inches; arm, 18 3/4; forearm, 16; wrist, 8 5/8; chest, normal 50; expanded, 52 1/2 waist, 40; thigh 31 1/8 and calf, 19 1/4.

Joe was born in Altha, a small town in West Florida. His family and he moved to Jacksonville when he was two and they have lived there since. In 1958, at the age of 14, he took up smoking and weighed only 135 pounds. He gave up smoking when he started lifting weights that same year. After he began bodybuilding, he gained strength rapidly. In six months he weighed 160 pounds and started on the Olympic lifts, gaining up to 170 pounds. Terry White, a friend, encouraged him all the way.

In February, 1960, he entered his first contest, the Duval County meet, at a local high school. He was in the 181 pound class with a 635 total. Shortly after it he won his first state meet in Jaacksonville with a 670lb total in the same class. He started gaining weight again and soon weighed 190. He started playing football and participated in track and field meets in high school.

He ran the 100 yard dash in 10.5 seconds and the 220 yard dash in 24.6. He gave up these sports for weightlifting and began training harder. He raised his total in the 198 pound class up to 835 (one of three Florida state records at the time), then went to York, Pennsylvania, for the Teen-age Nationals.

The trip was too hard on him and missed first place by 20 pounds, totaling only 800 pounds. After his first attempts, he could not do any better.

He then went into the heavy weight class. His best lifts as a 198 pound lifter were 280, 255, 325, and 835.

While he weighed 206 his total went up to 875. In the 1961 Southern Invitational meet in Atlanta, Georgia, he totaled 930 while weighing 227. In the 1962 Florida State meet he weighed 228 and totaled 950 pounds.

He gained more weight and brought his total up to 990. He didn’t gain very much the rest of that year but early in 1963 he really went to town gaining weight and training harder than ever.

He made his first 1,000’s in the Florida State meet where he lifted 1025 pounds. His lifts were 345, 300, 380, at 252 pounds bodyweight. In the Senior National Championships he weighed 262, and made only one press and no quick lifts.

The Florida A.A.U. paid his expenses to the Senior Nationals at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in June, 1963. It was an inspiration to meet the top lifters in the country, despite his experience in the contest. A week later in a meet in Jacksonville Beach, he made 355, 305, 390 for a 1050 total. The snatch is his best, but he had to really work on his pull.

In November, 1963, he entered the East Coast meet at Savannah, Georgia. In this meet he lifted 380, 300, 390 – 1070. The lifts were actually five pounds heavier in each case. The officials weighed his press at 385. The next contest found him breaking the Junior World Record Press with a lift of 389 1/2 pounds. It was held at the Jacksonville Beach Civic Center, November 30, 1963.

His goals were to break the junior world records in the heavyweight class and possibly break the world record press held by Vlasov.

joe duban clean 345lb

Joe Dube: “I have no big doubts or fears when I train or enter a contest. I think only of timing and bullet speed. I always try to plan ahead. Timing, speed and planning are important factors in any sport – and especially my sport. I eat plenty of meat, drink plenty of milk and eat lots of vegetables. I taker vitamins and sometimes I have protein supplements.”

Training Schedule

Joe Dube weightlifting 425lb jerk

His training was basically power work with special attention to the three lifts. Squats, supports and high pulls and push press were his main power lifts. He changed his program from time to time. He trained four times weekly: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Here is the way his three lifts are done most of the time:

joe dube high pulls 530lb
Joe Dube high pulls 530lb
Tuesday and Saturdays
1. Press – 135×3 reps, 225×2, 325×2 365×2, 380×2
2. Snatch – 135×3, 205×2, 255×1, 270×4 or 5 singles
3. Push press – 250×2, 350×2, 380×3, 400×2, 410×1 or 2
4. High pulls – (straps and medium grip) – 225×2, 320×3, 360×3, 380×3, 410×3, 440×2, 460×2, 500×1, 530×1 ( he usually did about 10 sets)
5. Squats – 300×3, 450×15 to 20 reps
Joe Dube 800lb squat weightlifting
Joe Dube squatting 800lb
Thursdays and Sundays
1. Clean and Jerk, power push (or start press, driving for above head)
2. High Pull, snatch grip, 1/4 squats (use from 800 to 1050 pounds for reps)
3. Jerk from rack. Power cleans (sets of 2’s or 3’s), Front 1/4 squats record 435lb (every other Sunday)
4. Also do Isometric Contractions at times after workouts
Weightlifting achievements
First teen age weightlifter in the world to clean and press 400 lbs. accomplished Feb. 1964.
First teen age weightlifter in the world to clean and press 400 lbs. accomplished Feb. 1964.
Tied for 1st (silver medal due to bodyweight) at the Little Olympics (1967)
Tied for 2nd (Bronze medal due to bodyweight) in 1968 Olympics and World Championships (1968)
Gold Medal World Weightlifting Championships (1969)
America’s Cup champion (1980)
First American weightlifter to total 1300 lbs. in three Olympic lifts
Set twelve American and four world records during career
Inducted in Weightlifting Hall of Fame, York, PA

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