Featured Weight Training Equipment: power rack, barbell

Paul Edward Anderson (October 17, 1932 - August 15, 1994) was an American weightlifter, strongman, and powerlifter. He is an Olympic gold medalist, World Champion and two-time National Champion in Olympic weightlifting. Anderson played a big part in the manifestation of powerlifting as a competitive sport. He is considered to be one of the strongest men in recorded history for his mostly unequaled feats of strength.

This Wikipedia description of Paul's accomplishments gives you a sense of accomplishments and his impact on strength sports. Anderson was a strength savant. Raised in rural isolation, he was moved, for some strange and inexplicable reason, to pursue self-metamorphosis. Paul had a burning desire to become as big and strong as humanly possible. He grew himself from a 200-pound college-level football player into a 360 pound physical monster. He riddled everything out and used himself as the test lab. He was clear as a bell on his unwavering goal: to lift as much as possible in the overhead press, snatch, clean and jerk, squat, deadlift, bench press, back lift and rows. Every successive year Paul grew substantially larger and substantially stronger. At his peak, he was light years ahead of the rest of the world. The Russians worshiped Anderson, they called him Chirody Pirot – the wonder of nature.

Paul invented the power rack and partial rep training while sitting alone in the Tennessee or Georgia backwoods. They say a photo is worth 1,000 words and in this photo a 22-year old 290 pound Paul is performing 3/4 squats with 900-pounds. He worked upward from a maximum of six reps to a maximum of 15-reps. At that point Paul would reduce the height of the two stools by 3-4 inches and repeat: working reps upward from 6 to 15 reps. Eventually a 24-year old, now 330 pound Paul was performing 900 lb. barbell squats for reps without any stool. That is just one example of Anderson's intuitive imagination: how about upside down barbell rows and upside down arm work? He was equally innovative in his nutrition, purposefully seeking to maximize his body mass to maximize his leverages. He drank 14 quarts of whole milk every day. He was the first to stress protein over all other nutrients. Paul was quite athletic; he had a 36-inch vertical leap and once beat an Olympic sprinter in a 10-yard dash. Had he been reinstated for the 1968 Olympic Games (he lost his amateur status for making money in pro wrestling) he would have won. Paul Anderson was forged passion personified; his inquisitive mind never lost its inquisitive passion for the art and science of strength.

About the Author
As an athlete Marty Gallagher is a national and world champion in Olympic lifting and powerlifting. He was a world champion team coach in 1991 and coached Black's Gym to five national team titles. He's also coached some of the strongest men on the planet including Kirk Karwoski when he completed his world record 1,003 lb. squat. Today he teaches the US Secret Service and Tier 1 Spec Ops on how to maximize their strength in minimal time. As a writer since 1978 he’s written for Powerlifting USA, Milo, Flex Magazine, Muscle & Fitness, Prime Fitness, Washington Post, Dragon Door and now IRON COMPANY. He’s also the author of numerous books including Purposeful Primitive, Strong Medicine, Ed Coan’s book “Coan, The Man, the Myth, the Method" and numerous others. Read the Marty Gallagher biography here.