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Author Topic: few advice from john kuc  (Read 815 times)
jon cole
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« on: February 24, 2013, 01:47:51 AM »

I knew John Kuc personally.

 I grew up in Wilkes-Barre, PA (god help me). Kuc owned a donut shop two blocks from my childhood home so I had quite a few opportunities to pick his brain. I asked the guy many of the same questions you’re all asking here so I wanted to comment when I saw this article.

 There’s confusion over what “his routine” was. Basically, the guy tried everything at one time or another just like everyone else does. The different routines people are posting are from different times in his career. It's misleading.

 This is basically the gist of what he told me:

 (His “Assisted” Routine)

 Early on he made most of his gains by ramping up to heavy singles in the lifts once or twice a week. He’d do something like:

 Monday - Bench, Curls
 Tuesday - Squat, Row, Shrugs
 Friday - Squat, Bench, Deadlift to maxes

 He'd work up to the heaviest weight of the day using 10,8,6,4,2,1,1 or some variation thereof. He would do something like 3,3,,1,1,1 in the deadlift.

 He didn’t like assistance work. He did experiment with box squats and rack pulls at certain times in his career but didn’t think they helped much.

 I showed him some early Louie Simmons articles in PLUSA and he thought they were bullshit. He urged me to keep it simple.

 He used simple linear cycles early on, dropping the weights back after a peak and working back up. He didn’t use percents, he just went by feel and added a bit week to week. Simple as that. (That JV Askem cycle is misleading. It makes it look like some sophisticated mathematics when there was none.)

 That being said, Kuc was also very frank about his use of “currently outlawed ergogenic aids“ which I greatly appreciated as a young lifter.

 He told me that the linear cycling only worked while he was using. He would come off cycle for a little bit after a meet, lighten the weights, and then gradually start back, increasing the dose as the weights got heavier. That's how me made most of his progress, by upping the dose. He also force fed himself to get up to super heavy. He and Jim Williams would go out for banana splits after their heavy session every week. That was their “post workout smart bomb“.

He dropped from super heavy by eating around 2,200 calories a day and walking. He also got off the “supplements” for a while until his doctor gave him the OK. He said his lifts went to shit and he was miserable. He was also pissed that he lost so much hair. LOL
 (His “Clean” Routine)

 Once he started lifting in the ADFPA he had to change his training. He wasn’t able to progress in a linear fashion anymore, so he started doing smaller 4 week wave cycles. His theory was that dropping back to light weights (like 60%) as a “natural” is a waste of time, and that nattys need to back off and rest for a bit, but should keep the weights higher to maintain their strength.
 He also started using sets of triples and fours instead of singles. He would have kept doing singles if he could have, but he burnt out too easily without the "supplements".

 This is basically the approach Bob Gaynor outlines in his article. Bob used to run "Kuc's Fitness" (later the "Fitness Headquarters") and used to promote contests in the area. He and his wife Geri actually got me started in lifting. Good people.

 (Other Crap)

 Kuc hated deadlifts. He did them grudgingly and never liked training them. I shit you not.

 He pulled 925 in training as a SHW.

 He only got to train with Jim Williams ("Chimsey") once a week in Scranton. He loved doing assisted bench presses (forced reps) with Williams and thought it was the main contributor to his 600 bench.

 The assistance work people list in his routines is basically bodybuilding work he threw in to keep up his physique when he dropped down from super heavy. He enjoyed bodybuilding and when I first met him (96) he was in his late 50’s and still had a massive baseball bicep (actually more or a cantaloupe bicep).

 He seemed to be a bright individual but very low key. Someone would probably think he was shy or slow if they talked to him. Very much the “strong silent type”, though I know exactly what Mary Gallagher says when he refers to his “Scary” psych up. Everyone knows a nice guy who will rip your head off and shit down your throat if you piss them off. I got that gist from Kuc. Very introverted.

 The most poignant thing I can think of about him is that none of his coworkers even knew what the man had accomplished. My neighbor worked as a waitress at his shop. When I told her he was one of the strongest men to walk the planet she looked at me like my head was on sideways. He never talked about it, no trophies at the shop, nothing. To her he was just “John”, a very humble nice guy. It would be like working for Michael Jordan and not knowing he ever played basketball.

 I can also tell you all is that when Kuc quit powerlifting he was DONE with it. After a local YMCA meet I took Tony Succarotte (former IPF WR holder in the bench) to meet him. Tony remarked that Kuc should come back to power lifting as a master's lifter and asked him if he missed it at all. Kuc’s reply was a simple “No, not really”, and that was that.

 Somewhere in the early 00's Kuc sold the donut shop and the last time I heard he was involved in a Dunkin' Donuts in Exeter, PA. Wherever he is I hope he's well.

 It's a bittersweet world where Lance Armstrong can ride his wittle bicycle and become a multimillionare celebrity but guys like Kuc are left as faint memories on internet message boards.

 (p.s. - Jim Williams was a PIMP. Literally. Hell of a nice guy as well.)


 
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jon cole
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« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2013, 01:49:53 AM »

interesting stuff for roider and natural, even bber.
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« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2013, 10:09:04 AM »

I have so much respect for guys like Kuc and Williams. Today power lifting is a bs sport. Shallow squats wearing cheat gear isn't a squat. The bench is even worse. Get a crazy arch and twist your rib cage up so the range of motion is cut. Take a wide grip. Use a bench shirt that won't even allow you to get your arms back without a decent weight and press the weight a distance of 15 inches.

The cycles they used were so simple back then. I'm not talking about steroids. Many used a 6 week cycle. If 4 sets of 4 reps max was 370lbs. you would back track 5 pounds a week for 6 weeks. Even if it was easy that's how they would start. Hopefully you would come back and break 370lbs at the end of the cycle.
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« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2013, 10:20:54 AM »

I want to thank Jon Cole for the excellent post. And proving that lifting need not be over thought. Pretty simple stuff, really.

Forms of the Wave theory and Ramping up are both good basic ways for steady progress, in strength and size. Each has it place, within a periodization planned workout year. Most good lifters plan well in advance any future training protocols.

All due respect to Louie Simmons (who has produced many, many champions...and a pioneer in certain respects) but must agree, for the most part, with Kuc. Over thinking some basic concepts is not needed. Percentages, for example, have never worked the way some experts believe they should; as, matching most trainee's progress..or lack of it.


If anyone can keep the ego and training low key, than that's half the battle. Be hard to find people like that on GB, sorry to say.  Good Luck.

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jon cole
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« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2013, 01:41:48 PM »

this is a copy/paste from another site, i'm french i don't live in p.a but i find the article really interesting, because many truth are there, about training, roids, and the key is to keep it simple.

that short article is a bible.
kuc is not ashamed about aas use, and the miserable feeling when off.
most interesting is about periodisation, long cycle works for geared lifter and short cycle for natural.
natural should stay in a respectable percentage.

john kuc did few assistance, he loved barbell row and shrugs, and dumbell curl

to me, he is with jon cole the strongest pler ever, 900/600/890, with ace bandage, and simple belt.

that's inhuman.

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« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2013, 10:22:07 PM »

I have so much respect for guys like Kuc and Williams. Today power lifting is a bs sport. Shallow squats wearing cheat gear isn't a squat. The bench is even worse. Get a crazy arch and twist your rib cage up so the range of motion is cut. Take a wide grip. Use a bench shirt that won't even allow you to get your arms back without a decent weight and press the weight a distance of 15 inches.


I agree with you 100% here. Back in the 60's and 70's powerlifters looked just as strong as they were. The only difference between a powerlifter and an off season bodybuilder back then was that the powerlifter carried more muscle. The squat suits, bench shirts, deadlift suits changed powerlifting and how powerlifters train. Now it's about knowing how to get the most out of your gear.

The one thing that people don't mention though that has played just as important of a role is the monolift. In the european federations where you have to walk out your squats, the guys that squat big numbers have tree trunk legs, because they squat with a narrower stance. You can't get into that ridiculously wide stance if you have to walk out your squats, let alone be able to get back into position to walk that weight back in and rack it. If you can't walk it out, you have no business squatting it. 
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« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2013, 02:35:58 AM »

I agree with you 100% here. Back in the 60's and 70's powerlifters looked just as strong as they were. The only difference between a powerlifter and an off season bodybuilder back then was that the powerlifter carried more muscle. The squat suits, bench shirts, deadlift suits changed powerlifting and how powerlifters train. Now it's about knowing how to get the most out of your gear.

The one thing that people don't mention though that has played just as important of a role is the monolift. In the european federations where you have to walk out your squats, the guys that squat big numbers have tree trunk legs, because they squat with a narrower stance. You can't get into that ridiculously wide stance if you have to walk out your squats, let alone be able to get back into position to walk that weight back in and rack it. If you can't walk it out, you have no business squatting it. 


just watched a video of a guy i know, hardly squatting 320lbs for 3 reps with a pling belt, so it's not even raw. he squatted 520 at his last meet full geared.
same for bench, in the warm up room i see guy struggling with 300lbs and benching 400 with a shirt.

it's shit.
they have no foundation, no muscle for most of them, the only thing they learn is how to use gear, and they're only concerned about that.
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« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2013, 07:42:21 AM »

I think the worse delusional guys are the bench press specialists. They hardly squat or deadlift but think they are strong because of their bench that they can only do with a bench shirt. We had a guy at work that benched 400lbs at around 180lbs. Of course it was with a bench shirt and the bench style of bridging and inflating the chest with a wide grip. At work we have a physical test involving push ups, situp and a 1.5 mile we have to pass. This guy could barely do 50 pushups even though he wasn't going all the way down. Got up from the floor breathing like he was about to die. Tell me how that bench contributes to any benefit to an athletic performance is beyond me. 

Look at how low Kuc and Kaz got in the squat. Watch how they benched in tee shirts without the crazy inflated chest bridge. Power lifting today is bs. At least in Olympic lifting it's so simple. Lift the bar over your head or you don't.  Most "world class" power lifters couldn't clean 350 lbs.
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