Ken Leistner met and knew bench press legend Pat Casey. The following article was written by Ken. It was not ghost written or made up. Here you will read the pure truth about Pat Casey’s workout! – Mr. Berg
“Approximately two years ago, I wrote an article in which I made the statement that Pat Casey was the best bench presser of all time. I explained that this obviously had nothing to do with the absolute poundage was lifted.
Many men have since lifted more than the 617 that Pat elevated in the mid-Sixties, but he was the first to crack the 600 barrier.
He was also a powerlifter, not a one lift specialist. When one judges the achievements of others, their own perspective is the determining factor of some one else’s relative success.
While I have great respect for the abilities of those who can lift a lot of weight in any particular movement, including the bench press, I have more for those who competed in the sport as a “complete lifter.”
Pat was also one of the first powerlifters to squat with more than 800 pounds. More importantly, my prior column emphasized the fact that Pat was truly a lover of the sport and was more than willing to give his time and energy in passing both training tradition and specific programs on to many other who showed the interest and drive to pursue the three lifts. Many professional athletes sought Pat out, and he was always available to help the many who had the pleasure of training with him.
I remember well my first sojourn to California. I was surprised that Bill Pearl’s Manchester Avenue gym was larger than I expected; shocked that Vince Gironda’s bodybuilding emporium was so small; and that Bill West’s Westside Barbell Club really wasn’t a gym at all.
Pearl’s Gym had formerly been the famous establishment of George Redapth and had a good mix of bodybuilders, powerlifters, football player, and fitness types”, although I don’t recall seeing anyone who resembled Sheena Eston doing leg presses in high heeled shoes!
Although he rarely trained there any more, Pat Casey was the one man that everyone talked about.
He owned the gym records in a number of lifts, and as the former proprietor of the on-site juice and protein drink bar, everyone had comments and stories about lifts they had seen him make and reflections on the good deeds he had done for others.
Vince’s Gym was small, but obviously filled with many excellent bodybuilders. Out of curiosity, I had driven over to see this legendary training establishment, but it was apparent that powerlifters were neither welcomed nor encouraged.
The original Gold’s Gym was under the ownership of Dave Saxe and had man like Dave Draper and Ken Waller on the floor, but no real lifters, other than an occasional visit by Steve Merjanian and Chuck Ahren.
Yet while I was there, I heard as much about Pat Casey in the form of both statements and questions, as I had at Pearl’s
Without a doubt, Casey was “The Man,” and unlike most in any aspect of the Iron Game, no one could be heard making negative comments about him borne of jealousy, dislike or difference in training philosophy.
After I began to train regularly at Zuver’s Gym, I heard more about Casey. He had been one of the few men to lift many of the odd shaped strength testing items housed at Zuver’s. While I was the twelfth man to lift the Big Barrel, Pat was, I believe, number two or three.
He made mincemeat out of the 500 pound one handed deadlift, another piece of equipment that required weeks of practice before I even got it close to completion.
Eventually, I came to visit the West Side Barbell Club. I was almost pleasantly surprised that it was just like my “gym” back in New York, only larger.
The legendary Bill “Peanuts” West had transformed his garage space into was arguably the most famous powerlifting gym of all time.
West, Frenn, Thurber, Hamilton and a number of other California lifters were the core of the team. At the time, visiting from other states, were George Crawford, the great squatter from Ohio, one of the famous DeMarco brothers, Hank Breaker of Houston, Richard Moos, Dick Knaster, and a host of other aspiring lifters.
Bill Toomey came down one night to bench press while training for his 1968 Olympic Games decathlon win. However, the one man who held the awe of others, in a gym environment which made quality almost impossible to generate, was Pat Casey.
When Pat was there, he spurred everyone on to higher performances. He was encouraging both verbally and by his very presence. His 515 steep incline press was a Westside Club record, and no doubt, the best ever done. His bench presses were flawless and immense. His squats were, at that time, and probably in almost any gym now, as heavy as one would ever see.
After such an illustrious career, how does a fifty year old Pat Casey keep his musculature well trained? Seriously and consistently, just as he always did. I am fortunate enough to stay in touch with Pat on a regular basis. He lives quietly in a rural area, and train very regularly. He could serve as a model for all of us once our competitive days are behind us. As a competitor, his weight hovered between 300 and 340 pounds. Unlike many superheavyweights, Pat carried that kind of weight in a well proportioned, muscular manner. He could also do many chinups and dips at his highest bodyweights, indicating that he was in fact, carrying a tremendous amount of muscle tissue. He now weights in at a muscular 218. Sensible eating and many long distance rides on his ten speed bike ensure that this cardiovascular system gets plenty of aerobic work.
A program that Pat has found effective is one he developed quite a few years ago. He began doing it when his training time became limited. The demands of college classes, his duties as a police officer, and maintaining ownership of two health food stores left little time to get to the gym, train and et back to daily activities. This is the program that he still does on Friday, while devoting Monday and Wednesday to amore conventional program using moderate weights at sets of ten reps. Pat calls this his “25 Rep Pump Routine” and he completes it in approximately 27 minutes. He most often does 15 minutes of abdominal/waist work prior to beginning his weight training, so that the entire program is completed in less than 45 minutes. Pat uses what he feels are “light weights”, but one look at some of the poundages used, within the context of the total routine, indicates that he is not lacking much of the strength he had as a competitive lifter. He goes at a “non-stop pace”, taking literally no rest between sets, moving from one movement, as listed, to the next. He sets up all of his weights before beginning, a luxury he can indulge in within his home gym.
Pat noted to me that a few lifters “laughed at me about the weight I use but when I got them to try it, they got sick and one guy had to vomit. These were very large, strong powerlifters” whose names he declined to mentioned. One look at the program is enough to indicate that one should expect to vomit, using almost any amount of weight. Pat told me that he got “a hell of a cardiovascular workout from The Pump” and that could be the understatement of the year. This could be a great program for the older lifter, the out of shape lifter, or for the off season, even if done once per week. The fact that one of the greatest powerlifters of all time has utilized this for years, might not be enough reason for many to want to try it, but the fact that this lifter is Pat Casey, should be.
Pat Casey’s 25 Rep-Pump:
One-legged Dumbbell Toe Raise – 25 reps;
Leg Curl-25 reps; Leg Extension – 50 reps;
Squats – 225×25 and this is immediately after 50 leg extensions;
Bench Press – 225×25 reps
Barbell Incline – 25 reps
Dumbbell Pullover 25 reps
Dumbbell Incline Press 25 reps
Pulley Crossover 25 rep
Press Behind Neck 25 reps
Dumbbell Lateral Raise 35 pound Dumbbell 25 reps
Barbell Upright Row – 25 reps
Dumbbell Shrugs – 25 reps
Dumbbell Press – 60 pound Dumbbell x 25 reps
Front, Side and Posterior Neck Work with plates and pulley, 25 reps each
One Arm Pulley Row 25 reps
One Arm Dumbbell Row 25 reps
Close Grip Bench Press 215 x 25
Preacher Bench with EZ Curl Bar 25 reps
Barbell Lying Tricep Extension 25 reps
Dumbbell Incline Curl 25 reps
One arm Pulley Tricep Kickback 25 reps
Barbell Curl 25 reps
Reverse Barbell Curl 25 reps
Pulley Curl 25 reps