John Isaac Training For Mr. Universe

Johnny Isaacs, born in 1929 in Johannesburg, South Africa, was Reg Park’s brother-in-law. John won the NABBA Mr. Universe short class in both 1953 and 1958.
Reg Park and John used to train together.

The following bodybuilding routine is very oldschool. Back in those days (1900-1930) the benchpress was controvers, called the lazy way to train the chest. Bodybuilding pionners like Reg Park and John Grimek would rather stretch their rib box with breathing squats and pull-overs.

Training six times a week they did and they found that they could gain the best results by splitting the routine. Have Fun!

Monday, Wednesday and Friday Thighs, Deltoids, Calf, Midsection and Rib-box
Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday Chest, Back, Biceps, Triceps

Note: Yes, this routine will seem very long. Johnny trained about two and a quarter hours.

Monday, Wednesday and Friday

John Isaac squat

Thighs Set/Rep Description
Squats 5×4 Straight back, take as much air as possible
Hack-lift on a block 3×10 Hack-lifts work the vastus-internus directly and should bring out those ‘thigh cuts’
Leg extensions 3×20 Definition-gaining movement. After the 3 sets deel that the thighs has really been worked
Leg curls on bench 3×15 Concentration plays an important part in leg curls.

John Isaac Press Behind Neck

Deltoids Set/Rep Description
Press-behind-neck 3×8 Strict movement. No jerk. Lowering the bar as far as possible behind neck worked for Johnny’s deltoids solidly. He suggested to use a lighter weight to get a good movement.
Standing dumbbell press 3×8
Seated lateral Light weight. Do not swing the dumbbells up. Raise the dumbbells above your head but do not quite let them touch each other
Bent Over Laterals 3×10

John Isaac calf training

Calf Set/Rep Description
Heel raising with toes on block 5×30 This exercise can also be performed by having a training partner sit on your shoulders
Pushups on toes 5×30 This exercise can be performed on leg press machine. It’s performed by lying under the machine and pushing it up on to the toes with the knee locked throughout the movement
Heel raises donkey 5×30 This is commonly known as the donkey style calf exercise. This can be performed by using the multi-purpose squat stands or even leg press machine.
Midsection Set/Rep Description
Sit ups on incline board 2×25 Hands behind head for the first two sets of 25 reps then swing hands forward with the next two sets.
Hands forward head 2×25
Leg raises 2×20 To get the most out of this do not when lowering the legs, allow the heels to touch the floor, but keep them an inch or two above floor-level.
Side Bends dumbbell 3×10 (each side) Keep the back straight as possible as you bent sideways from the waist.

John Isaac Pullover

Rib-box Set/Rep Description
Bent-arm pull-over 3×8 No hip raise, feel the pull with each repetition.
Dumbbell Pull-over 3×8 Good position is the essential factor. Be sure to keep your hips well down

Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday

Incline Dumbbell Presses

Chest Set/Rep Description
Incline dumbbell Press 3×10 For upper pectoral development
Bench dumbbell press 3×10 This is an all-round pec developer
Press Up between boxes 4×15 Feet are raised at least two feet above the box-level. This exercise gave him good stretch and that “worked” feeling

Note: Johnny did not practice the regular barbell bench press. He wanted to shape his pectorals and he believed that with the dumbbell he could do so with much more flexibility.

John Isaac back training
Note: Johnny with Reg Park!
Back Set/Rep Description
Bent over rowing 3×8 Strict movement for as many of the 8 reps. If you could only make 6 in good style then jerk the next 2 reps. Keep torso parallel to the floor and remember to pull the bar right up to the chest.
Chinning to the bar 4×8 Two of the sets behind neck and two in front. If you can not manage the full 8, i.e., you cannot pull up any more, just hang from the bar for a few seconds and feel your weight.
Pull down behind neck 3×8 He used the lat. machine. You will need a training partner that hold your waist down if you use heavy poundage. Try to pull the bar down as far as possible and lower the weight slowly to feel the lattismus dorsi.
Prone Hyper extensions 3×10 Add a light weight and held behind neck. Be sure of having your training partner hold your ankles down firmly. Come up as high as possible, and lower down to within an inch of the floor.

John Isaac curls arm training

Biceps-Triceps Set/Rep Description
Barbell curl 3×8 Executed in the standing position in as strict possible style. The concentration is very important in both curling and lowering the bar. Eliminate as much body swing as possible
Seated barbell curls followed by lying triceps 3×8 First adopt the position as shown in photo 9 and perform curls in the usual manner. Then change the grip to an over-hand one, and lay back along the bench, see photo 10. Perform the lying tricep stretch for another 3×8.
Seated dumbbel curls followed by lying triceps 3×8 Same movement as the one explained above. Now dumbbells are used. Johnny found that these bicep-tricep combined movements gave his the fullest arm work-out he has had since he first started training.
Incline dumbbell curls 3×10 Very strict. Head down on the bench through the movement
Tricep dip stretch 3×12 He called this a feeling exercise. Grip should be as narrow as possible. Work in such a manner that it is the triceps only that are pushing you up.
Parallel bar dips 3×8 Upright position throughout otherwise you will find that you are working pectorals more than triceps.

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