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Ernie Frantz is known amongst powerlifters to be the godfather of powerlifting, not just because he broke records as far back as 1974 but because he was responsible for starting the first American Powerlifting Federation. Ernie has had a permanent effect on powerlifting.
Ernie Frantz returned from the Korean war and started bodybuilding, not powerlifting, at his local YMCA. In 1955 he came third in the Mr. America bodybuilding contest. In 1964 he opened his own and he competed in the same year at the Mr. USA contest and won.
But life was going to change direction for Ernie when his wife died of breast cancer. He has stopped training and was drinking and smoking when his father said to him. "why don't you just stand in front of a truck." This changed Ernie and he went back to the gym and found a way to channel his enormous strength.
Ernie is unstoppable, he can easily be found on Utube deadlifting 315 pounds at 81 years old. Some powerlifters peak between 40 and 50 but for Ernie to maintain his strength into his eighth decade is amazing. Many top bodybuilding athletes like Franco Columbu competed as a powerlifter before he won Mr. Olympia twice.
Ten years later in 1974 Ernie placed third in the Mr. USA standing next to legend bodybuilders like Robbie Robinson. It was the same year the owner of York Barbell called Bob Hoffman put on the world first Open World Powerlifting Championship, which was the first world title that he won.
But Ernie was just getting started because he ran a successful gym and was a strength coach that developed a training system using singles that had never been published before. The principal of doing 10 sets of 80% to 100% RM is actually not a new idea as it was done by the Russians around the same time Ernie started.
The Russians approached the idea of this strength development differently because they would do one rep training every few hours during the day with incredible results. But Ernie said to fully recover after your one rep max and then do another one.
The increase in strength is noticeable and he got good results. Obviously training like this without using perfect form can cause irreparable harm. He would teach his students to cycle the singles as well, like doing a superset o singles where your whole body is full pumped after only a few reps.
An intense workout would look like this:
10 X 1 Bench-press
10 X 1 Deadlift or Superset 10 sets of single squat, deadlift bench-press
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