Gorilla Rack Available

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CAD drawing of our GORILLA RACK


In 1970 Arthur Jones took the bodybuilding world by storm with his Nautilus machines and his philosophy of "train-to-failure." Neophytes still believe that they can gain muscular size and strength on machines that they sit in to exercise and, at least until they hurt themselves, mistakenly believe that "training to failure" stimulates muscular growth. It doesnít.

I bought the first Nautilus machine, a pullover torso and back machine, to enter the State of California in 1970. It took me about 3 weeks to realize it just wasnít going to work as claimed. However, I considered it money well spent. I learned.

Arthur Jones, if nothing else, was an original thinker. One of the things he pointed out was that a muscle has more potential power the further it contracts. Using this principle, in 1973 I began doing partial movements at the top of the lift in the bench press. By August 1974 I was doing repetitions in this movement with 840 pounds. At the time the world record was less than 700 pounds for the complete movement and my bodyweight, at a height of 6' 1", was only 190 pounds.

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Mike Brown doing partial bench pressses with 720 pounds, circa May 1974, using a York WW Power Rack with rack rebounder. The inner plates were so large they had to be cut out with a welding torch. There were four of them, each one weighing over 100 pounds apiece. The welding gloves were used to keep him from cutting his hands on those plates.

Unfortunately, the FBI arrested me the next month and kept me as a guest of Big Brother for three and a half years. When I got out my wife had sold all my equipment.

In 1984 I designed and had built what I called a Gorilla Rack, a variation of a power rack that allowed the height of the rack to be varied in one-sixth inch increments. The lifting blocks were supported by springs to eliminate shock when the weights were dropped or bounced. Dropping a 500-pound bar on bare steel while you're still holding onto it can be really painful. The theory was that my "goal weight," once I achieved it, at the top of the bench press, I could lower it one-sixth inch at a time until I could do the full lift. I sold it when I was doing 550 pounds 4 inches for 20 repetitions.

You might think, oh, this was just a gimmick or trick. Thatís what a fellow from Chicago thought when he came to visit me. He could bench press 300 pounds. His brother manufactured exercise equipment.

He watched me do 20 repetitions, 4-inch travel, with 550 pounds. I asked him if he wanted to try it. He said sure, but take it down to 400 pounds. We did. I could tell from the look of skepticism on his face that he figured he could do an easy 20 repetitions with 400 pounds.

You should have seen the look of consternation on his face when he came up off that bench. He hadnít been able to budge that 400-pound weight even once.

The theory behind the Gorilla Rack is simplicity itself. It is much more productive to train from the strongest point (full extension) down, as opposed to the weakest point (bar or chest) up.

This is also true of deadlifts, probably the most productive back development exercise there is. Let me give you an example.

Over half a century ago a man named William Boone decided to specialize in the deadlift. He dug a hole in his back yard. He placed a barbell set across the hold and then stood in the hole. At the original depth of the hole he could only lift the bar a couple of inches.

He was training from the strongest point, full contraction of the back muscles, down.

Boone worked up to 800 pounds with 2 inches of travel. He then started shoveling dirt into his hole, just enough to increase the travel of the bar a fraction of an inch at a time.

It took him about three years. At the end of the three years Boone was doing repetition deadlifts with 800 pounds.

We can custom build a Gorilla Rack for you.

However, before you call to order one, ask yourself this question: what is a 400, 500, or 600-pound bench press or 800-pound deadlift worth to you? The answer should be $2,500.00, the cost of your dietary supplements (such as desiccated Argentine beef liver, Mitsí Protein, etc.), and your time. You are not gong to achieve a 500-pound bench press or an 800-pound deadlift in six months.

We are leaving out squats for two reasons.

First, there are already enough characters out there doing "knee snaps" (diping about 6 inches or so with a weight across their shoulders) and calling them squats (which in turn shortens the quadriceps).

Second, we have designed equipment that should engage four times as much muscle fiber as conventional squats do.

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CAD drawing of our GORILLA RACK


I invented the Samson Cable Set in 1973, rack rebounders and the tapered wrist roller in 1974, and the Gorilla Rack in 1984. They all work.

The newest item availabIe that I invented are Sticking Point Smashers. A pair of these will allow you to train using your maximum strength, just short of failure, without injury. To read more about these, click here.

At the moment I am designing a whole new series of training equipment. Two of these pieces are designed to be used with our Samson Cable Set.

One piece is a combination Gorilla Rack, Power Rack, and upside-down training apparatus. Upside-down training was one of the staples of Paul Andersonís training routines. Read his book, Secrets of My Strength, available from Bill Hinbern.

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This page was updated on 2 April 2007