Paul Anderson Training Routine

The following routine used Mr. Anderson at the age of 21. During this time of period his squat record at 820lb surpassed that of the giant Canadian champion Doug Hepburn.

Anderson’s early training was primarily on the squat, at which he was stronger than the average advanced lifter to begin with. During the past year, however, he has made the squat a secondary exercise to practice on the three lifts and allied pulling exercises.

Squatting was an “off day” exercise, practiced Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays when his regular training days were Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

On those off days, however, he has often done three sets of two repetition squats with 780lb. This was more than 100lb ahead of what anyone else has been able to get up with once.

A sample training schedule of Paul was followed:

Monday, Wednesday and Friday
Exercise Rep Set Weight
Press 2 2* 320lb/145kg
Dumbbell Press  3 7* Pair of 135lb/61kg dumbbells
Press Behind Neck      
Snatch 1   singles, worked up from 225lb/102kg to 300lb/136kg or 310lb/140kg
Clean 1   singles, worked up to 400lb/181kg
Deadlift 3 2 690lb/312kg
High Pull (to waist) 3 4 500lb/226kg

*The presses are usually done just two sets, but occasionally Anderson extends himself further. 

Note: He alternated the dumbbell lifts with sets of two rep presses using an extra wide grip and ultra strict style with 305lb on a barbell. He used a pair of hooks to aid his grip when practicing heavy repetition pulls to the waist and deadlifts. He also uses a bounce for the repetitions. During this workout with tremendously heavy poundages, as might be expected, he rests from 10 to 15 minutes between sets and as much as an hour between exercises.

Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday

Exercise Rep Set Weight
Squat 2 1-3 780lb/353kg

Note: Sunday was rest-day. Other exercises Anderson used occasionally for variety are quarter squats (on off days) and bench presses (on regular training days).

For quarter squats he used a 1800lb barbell, tying on all kinds of “junk” in addition to huge home-made plates. His poorest lift, and one in which he seems unable to find the same groove twice, is the bench press. In this exercise he has done “only” three sets of two repetitions with 410lb.

Measurements taken by Steve Stanko November 4, 1953
Arm, flexed 20 3/4″ 52cm
Neck 23″ 58cm
Chest, normal 53″ 134cm
Waist  46 1/2″ 118cm
Thighs 34″ 86cm
Calves 19″ 48
Wrist 9″ 23cm
Ankles 11 1/2″ 29cm
Forearms, fist clenched 15 5/16″ 39cm
Forearms, flexed in the “goose-neck” position 16 3/16″ 41cm
Bodyweight 300lb 136kg


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