Muscle Making by DON DORANS

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Tom K
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Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2017 12:17 am

Re: Muscle Making by DON DORANS

Post by Tom K » Sun Jun 28, 2020 6:09 am

Imagethe tobruk system by Reg Park, on Flickr


THERE lives in Ballymena, in County
Antrim, one of bodybuilding’s most
enthusiastic followers. John Carton is the
name and it is to John that I am indebted for
carrying out the experiments and presenting
me with the detailed results of a very
effective series of strength and muscle
building schedules.

First let me say a few words about John
Carton. He is above average in strength,
belongs to a strong family, and from all
accounts his younger brother possesses
greater natural strength than does our hero.
As an example the youngest member of the
family can lift three 56lb. block weights
above his head with one hand, which is a
remarkable feat even for a trained weight-
lifter. John informs me that his brother has
the makings of a star lifter if only he would
take an active interest in the sport, and I
wholeheartedly agree.

130lb. with him

John’s enthusiasm for bodybuilding is
such that during the war his barbell was his
constant companion. How is it possible for
these lads to carry around 130lb. of weight
for so long? It is obvious that you must
serve with the transport section and if so I
am assured that anything is possible. John
was fortunate in this sense for it enabled him
to work on all sorts of queer schedules
ranging from the single set to the group system
of repetitions when applied to one or more

During one period which took place
during the lull in the fighting at Tobruk
John was busily engaged working out the
rough spots on a fairly lengthy schedule
using the group system. Before long the
sight of the barbell going into action
stimulated interest in the company with the
result that three or four of the lads would get
together every night (conditions permitting)
to fight against the other common enemy—
boredom—and following in its wake physical

Faithfully they worked on the weights ;
what else was there to do in a place cut off
by the enemy, without entertainment or
distractions of any kind?

When John was sent into action the
Tobruk Bodybuilding Club continued to
work - out, with a difference ! The
remaining heroes decided to change the
schedule a little and only perform the Two
Hands Slow Curl. Yes the ordinary barbell
curl! What is more surprising they per-
formed only one set of repetitions each day.
They continued to force the reps until they
could perform 20, then they added sufficient
weight to the bar to reduce the reps once
more to ten. Work was carried out along
these lines until John returned once more to
the fortress. Much to his surprise all the
lads had shown great improvement, not only
on the upper arms but around the shoulders,
too. Several of the enthusiasts had gained
1” on the upper arms and an inch or more
around the chest. You may find this
difficult to believe but John assures me that
it did really happen.

Must be good style

The above mentioned system of repetitions
can be applied to any schedule consisting of
6 to 8 exercises, but to enable it to fit into
peacetime conditions it is only necessary to
work out 3 or 4 periods per week. Several
members of the Wally Wright gym are at
present making good progress on a schedule
comprising one exercise for each major
muscle group. Good style is of the utmost
importance for there are no repeats to
ensure that the muscles are fully worked.

Another system associated with John and
myself is one in which you work well
within your capacity and is guaranteed to
give results in strength and development.
First you compile a brief schedule and it is
as well to choose those exercises that affect
your weakest muscle groups. Now take a
weight that you can perform 10 or 12 reps,
which in your case may be 100lb. for the
Bench Press. With this poundage perform
4 sets of 6 reps for the first two training
periods of the week but on the third day
which is usually a Friday perform one set
only of maximum repetitions on each
exercise. As a rule this usually works out
to 15 or 18 repetitions each set. The weight
should be increased sufficiently every week
to reduce the 18 reps to the previous
starting number of 10 or 12. This is a
poundage you select for your Monday’s
workout when you revert back to the 4 sets
of 6 reps.

I now leave these schedules to those
readers who have reached a sticking point
or who have for some reason let boredom
form part of their training routine.

Tom K
Posts: 186
Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2017 12:17 am

Re: Muscle Making by DON DORANS

Post by Tom K » Sun Jun 28, 2020 6:10 am



the famous Bodybuilding Coach and
Physique Title Winner.

DURING my visits to the large towns in various partsof the country, I have the opportunity of meeting a great many bodybuilders and potential bodybuilders.
Now wherever you find a muscle man, you find problems.
so | have decided to deal with a few of the more common
questions put to me. Here’s a regular one.


Question: As | am a newcomer to bodybuilding, would
you advise one a set of repetitions on each exercise, or per-
form what is commonly known as the set system and work
to several sets for each exercise ?

Answer: It was the general practice before the war to
perform one set of repetitions for each movement, and in my
opinion you can credit the poverty of muscle displayed by
the average bodybuilder as being directly related to this one
factor alone. A glance through any pre-war P.C. magazine
will prove the worth of this statement. I would still advise a
minimum of two sets for each exercise, even if we take into
consideration that the performer is a complete stranger to
the various movements.

The fact that he is completely ignorant of exercise
technique is the main reason why he deserves and requires
more than one set of repetitions. Anything that requires
practice cannot be mastered at the first attempt. Have you
ever known a novice accomplish this? We must also consider
the ability of directing the work to the particular muscle
group we wish to develop. Two sets per exercise will produce
an ache the following day, and I can assure you that this
ache is the only guarantee you have in the first few days
that you are performing the exercise correctly!

It goes without saying that you experience a certain
amount of discomfort whenever physical effort is undertaken
for the first time: there is no escaping it; even one set of
reps performed correctly will leave the muscles sore to the
touch the following day.

After a week or ten days, depending on the condition of
the exerciser, one extra set can be added, making a total of
three groups. You will generally find that it will take all
three sets of repetitions to produce the same stimulating effect
as one perfectly directed set.


Question : What variation of the Curl is superior to all
others for its effect on the biceps ?

Answer: Curl variations are designed for one purpose
only—to relieve boredom. If a change in curling position
enables you to by-pass this snare which traps 90% of the
unsuccessful muscle men, then I for one agree that their
presence in any handbook of bodybuilding is more than

It is rightly said that a change is as good as a rest, and
this applies to the Curl, but more so in relation to the average
weight trainer who may never reach a 15in. upper arm,
mainly through lack of enthusiasm or concentrated effort.
Few are destined to enjoy world acclaim on account of their
superior upper arm size, but most bodybuilders can by
diligently working on one exercise for the biceps and another
for the triceps greatly improve the shape of the upper arm.

Most of the original members of the Ealing Barbell Club
can sport upper arms that measure 17in. and over, and a more
conservative bunch of curlers I have yet to meet! Once they
become accustomed to a movement, they play it to death.
Wild horses couldn’t drag them away from the old faithfuls.

For my part, I prefer any Curl that enables me to handle
a fair poundage, followed by one of the variations that will
make it difficult to force the poundage, such as the “Bent-
forward-single-arm dumbell curl”. This position will enable
the biceps to reap full benefits from the work, and as heavy
weights are out of the question, good style is easily assured.
Being able to work to high reps is an added advantage. Thus
you have the best from both worlds, heavy resistance followed
by a “chaser” of high reps.


Question: | purchased a set of weights for the purpose of
increasing the size of my arms first, and at a later date intend
working to an all-round schedule. What are my chances of
success ?

Answer: Assuming that you possess sufficient bodyweight
for your height, your efforts would meet with partial success,
and no doubt after considerable time you would succeed in
developing a large upper arm measurement. Still, there is no
accounting for tastes, and if arm size is more important to
you than super fitness and a general feeling of well being,
then go ahead, and good luck!

My plan of attack would be first of all to normalise my
bodyweight. If I required a few more pounds, I would con-
centrate on the large muscle groups, for an inch on the
calves and forearms will show little improvement as recorded
on the scales. Once a healthy bodyweight is reached, an
increase in muscle size offers no problems. Still working to
a fixed plan, I would single out the chest for some special
work, which to a great extent has a marked influence on the
Static and kinetic postures. Furthermore, the average man is
quick to appreciate a large chest.

Shape and development of the legs would be my next con-
cern, and this would prove to be a straight-forward job. It 1s
very unlikely that you could increase your bodyweight and
still have the legs under-developed. All you would require is
some special work to improve the shape.

The development of the shoulders would be my next
choice, and the reason for choosing this particular muscle
group in preference to the back will be obvious to anyone
who had the opportunity to study a physique that is well
blessed with powerful deltoids. You will find the back
muscles developed to the same high standard, Building up
the shoulder muscles also entails a great amount of work for
the back, and needless to say, you could hardly develop one
and neglect the other.

Next I would include some special work for the arms, and
from there I would work on the neck muscles and abdominals.
The latter would require little attention, for one has to pack
on a great amount of bulk before the waist line gets out of


Question : | am interested in developing great strength—
how shall I set about the task ?

Answer: A certain amount of conditioning work is neces-
sary before any attempt should be made at specialisation,
whether your quest be strength or muscular development.

The majority of strong men have spent considerable time
and effort in building the foundation. By improving the shape
and size of the muscles in order they are thus able to support
great weights in various positions. Once this conditioning
period has been completed, you are free to specialise in the
exercises that develop power, giving particular attention to
the muscles of the legs and back and to other types of
exercises that require frontal movements such as the Half
Squat and Dead Lift, the latter being performed on a sprung
platform commonly known as a Hopper. A greater amount of
weight can be handled in these restricted movements than is
possible when the muscles are worked over their full range.
The reps should be reduced to three or four per set and the
number of sets for each exercise increased to seven or eight.

Many would-be strong men make the mistake of specialis-
ing too soon, by working on a system far in advance of their
present physical condition. To be sure, you will make im-
provement, but it will be limited and inferior.


Question: The Squat being an important exercise, what
is its best position in a schedule ?

Answer: The importance and beneficial results of the
Squat cannot be over-stated. A few of its immediate benefits
are greater strength, improved stamina and general fitness:
increased lung power, keener appetite leading to increased
bodyweight. Considering these facts and their importance, it
is only natural that the Squat should be given pride of place
in the schedule and receive attention while the muscular
system is still fresh and capable of exerting its full powers.

Greater effort can be called forth if the Squat is performed
in the first or second position, or at any rate within 15
minutes of commencing a workout. This exercise should be
preceeded with several loosening-up Squats with a light
weight. It isn’t coincidental that every physique champion of
note start their workout with the Squat. Still, I agree that it
isn’t everyone who can muster up enthusiasm for this exercise,
with the result that it is very often ignored by those who are
in the habit of leaving it to the end of the schedule. This is
understandable, for I would reluctantly tackle this strenuous
exercise after doing justice to the other muscle groups.

To give the legs such a vigorous workout in the middle
of a schedule presents equal terror, for a great deal of time
and effort has already been spent in flushing several of the
muscle groups with blood. These same muscles are thus called
upon to support a heavy poundage, while the blood which
has always given preference to the working muscles is drained
to the legs to assist the great mass of muscle involved in
lowering and raising the body. Physical activity such as weight
training calls for a great amount of concentrated effort, and
if we are to meet with success, the heaviest weights must be
handled while the muscles are still capable of exerting their
full power.

peter yates
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Location: NEW YORK, USA

Re: Muscle Making by DON DORANS

Post by peter yates » Sun Jun 28, 2020 6:47 am

Gratitude Tom, great job mate.
Peter Yates

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David Gentle
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Re: Muscle Making by DON DORANS

Post by David Gentle » Sun Jun 28, 2020 9:51 am

Those articles are just examples of how good Don was,he really knew his stuff, even gave Arnold S some tips when they used to meet at Diane Bennetts, Just think how good he was at genuine personal training, i used to look forward to every schedule, all hand written with personal extra advice. He honestly trained more Mr Britains than any other trainer by mail in the business, Spencer Churchill being a favourite, who later did his own series of training articles based on Dons advice. David Gentle
David Gentle
Chief Moderator
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David Gentle
Posts: 534
Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2014 7:39 am
Location: England

Re: Muscle Making by DON DORANS

Post by David Gentle » Sun Jun 28, 2020 9:52 am

Those articles are just examples of how good Don was,he really knew his stuff, even gave Arnold S some tips when they used to meet at Diane Bennetts, Just think how good he was at genuine personal training, i used to look forward to every schedule, all hand written with personal extra advice. He honestly trained more Mr Britains than any other trainer by mail in the business, Spencer Churchill being a favourite, who later did his own series of training articles based on Dons advice. David Gentle
David Gentle
Chief Moderator
Author & Historian,
Physical Culture

Tom K
Posts: 186
Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2017 12:17 am

Re: Muscle Making by DON DORANS

Post by Tom K » Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:16 pm

A Freak Schedule that worked

A GREAT many bodybuilders, both
novice and advanced alike, are under
the impression that an all-round training
programme will produce all-round results.

They reason after this fashion: if every
muscle group is subjected to work on
specialised movements in any given schedule
the whole physique will develop in harmony.
Nothing could be further from the truth,
for if this were the case then we need only
select the appropriate exercises, and presto!
we have a prize-winning physique.

This is often the mistaken illusion
harboured by the newcomers to bodybuild-
ing. It is an illusion that lasts a great many
-years until an accident or changing circum-
stances, or maybe as a result of the pursuit
of training knowledge, he eventually stum-
bles on a series of systems that produce
outstanding gains, even on muscle groups
outside the work undertaken.

The killer-dillers

Every day I receive letters dealing with
success stories based on an odd assortment
of exercise combinations, and very often on
the results of one exercise. These single
exercise successes are usually the result of
the Squat, and for sheer hard work and
training tenacity I must give merited praise
to Martin Carr of Reigate, Surrey. His
choice of exercises are the killer-dillers of
the iron game; the Squat and Good
Morning exercise.

Everyone is familiar with the Squat, but
for the benefit of those who have never
heard of the latter exercise, I will describe
the movement briefly.

A barbell is placed behind the neck and
the feet spaced 18” apart. Now the trunk
is lowered until it is at right angles. The
legs remain straight throughout the move-
ment. As the trunk is bent forward the
hips should sway back in order to counteract
the weight and so maintain the balance.
From this position the trunk is raised until
the upright is assumed. This completes one
repetition—and you will find the crutches
at the far end of the gym.

Now, let us get on with the Martin Carr
story. You may wonder what inducement
he had to undertake such a combination of
exercises. He informed me that he developed
paralysis of the serratus magnus muscles,
the finger-like muscles under the lats. They
are noticeable when you perform the lat
spread or stretch the arms overhead, by
if you are overweight you can save yourself
the effort, for you are not likely to meet
with much success.

Martin was forbidden to touch the weights
for a period lasting from six to twelve
months and was instructed to confine
himself to hospital treatment.

Was he faithful to the advice as regards training?
Well- at least for a few weeks, until he
decided that there was no harm in fitting in a
few exercises.
As enthusiasm is limited in its scope, I
suggested that he should employ movements
that would not affect the injured muscles..
Any exercise that entailed the use of the
arms we decided to rule out, for the serratus
are brought into play directly or indirectly
when weights are handled.

What about the legs and lower back?
They had always been his weak point. Now
was the chance to start at rock bottom and
work up the poundage on the Squat and
Good Morning exercises. It was a chance
to build up to his maximum within the
limits of his present circumstances.

Great performance

During the two months that followed,
Martin Carr worked faithfully on his two
exercises, and the poundages he eventually
reached were 290Ib. for 3 sets of 12 on the
full Squat and 205lb. in perfect style for
3 x 8 on the Good Morning exercise. This
was surely a remarkable performance for a
man with such a handicap.

During this short period he gained 16lb
in bodyweight, and the following increases
were registered as cold measurements
chest 2”, u/arms 1 ¼ , thighs 2”, calves ¾
The point of interest is the all-round
progress in size and appearance on
schedule limited in its scope, or so it would
appear to the beginner. The waist measurements
remained the same during the 8 weeks
period, so you can imagine the feelings
expressed by Martin and his enthusiasm
for the exercises in question.

A considerable amount of milk was
consumed and it has always been my opinion
that when dramatic increases in bodyweight
are made, they are the direct result of this
number one bodybuilding food. Training
in many cases only serves to direct the
growth, otherwise the bulk would accumu-
late around the hips and waist.

Wherever Health & Strength is read you
are likely to find a great many enthusiasts
like Martin Carr, and they will always rise
to the occasion. whenever fate decides to
play her hand.

Tom K
Posts: 186
Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2017 12:17 am

Re: Muscle Making by DON DORANS

Post by Tom K » Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:26 pm


Imageyou must breathe right by Reg Park, on Flickr

SO little has been written on the subject
of breathing, and its relation to body-
building movements, that one is forced to the
conclusion than an important subject such
as this does not present any difficulties. I am
afraid the contrary is nearer to the truth,
judging by the enquiries I receive from
Health & Strength readers.

Bodybuilders of years standing are often
at a loss when newcomers to the club pop up
with the inevitable question: “‘How should I
breathe during such and such a movement ?”’

Greater poundages

Strangely enough, few of the advanced
men have given any thought to the question.
And I venture to say that in 9 cases out of 10
the breath is held until 4 or 5 reps have been
completed, before a quick gasp is taken in
order to struggle out the remainder of the set.

The advantages of correct breathing
during exercise show themselves in greater
poundages and the ability to handle them
with less effort. The visible signs of fatigue
are greatly reduced and the workout can be
completed with less discomfort than is
possible if an exercise 1s performed while
the breathing is restricted.

I am going to devote the remainder of the
space at my disposal to examining the correct
breathing procedure to adopt while per-
forming the basic movements which form
the nucleus of a training programme.

Let us commence with the Squat, and
assume the bar is in position across the
shoulders. At this point a deep breath should
be taken before bending the knees and
lowering the body into the Squat position.
This breath is retained in the lungs in order
that the expiration can take place when the
greatest muscular effort is required in
raising the weight.

I find it more comfortable to exhale as the
bar reaches the last 6” of its travel. Each
repetition of the Squat is subjected to the
same manner of breathing.

Now we must clear up the problem in
relation to the Bench Press as performed by
the bodybuilder, i.e. repetitions. The bar is
usually held at arms length over the chest in
preparation for the first rep.
As the bar is lowered to the chest you
should inhale, and then exhale as the weight
is pressed to arms length. Continue breath-
ing in this manner until the full number of
reps is completed. .

Should you be interested 1n_ record
attempts on this exercise, the position 1s a
little different. To commence this movement
the bar is rested across the chest. Now inhale
deeply before pressing the weight to arms
length, thereby completing the lift.

Breathing instructions for the Slow Curl
are as follows. Inhale as the weight is
raised and exhale when lowering. In the
case of the Alternate Dumbell Curl, inhale
as you curl one of the bells and exhale as the
same bell is lowered. During the exp!ration
the opposite bell is, of course, being raised,

The Triceps Stretch or French Press is a
difficult movement as regards rhythmic
breathing so it is just as well for the novice to
accustom himself to the proper procedure
from the start.

The general rule is to make the effort while
the lungs are inflated, for it is a difficult task
to exert a great deal of force while air is being
taken into the lungs (I am, of course,
restricting my remarks to the iron game and
not covering the physical effort required in
field athletics, etc.).

Not enough air

As it is our aim to remove as many
difficulties as possible and make training
more pleasant, greater comfort will be found
if a deep breath is taken as the weight 1s
lowered. This leaves the lungs in a natural
state to exhale or retain the breath while
force is directed in overcoming the resistance.

You will generally find that an all-out
effort with the weight, as demanded in the
Press, will be doomed to failure if the
quantity of air in the lungs is insufficient to
meet the demands of the system during the
period required to raise the weight.

Briefly, it amounts to this. Once the
immediate supply of oxygen in the system 1s
exhausted the weights will not remain in
mid-air while the lungs are recharged.

For movements such as the Pullover and
Flying exercises, the breathing is simple
enough. Inhale as the arms are extended
and exhale as you return them to the starting

The Dead Lift follows the same law as the
Bench Press already described. Repetitions
with a medium poundage are performed
more comfortably if you inhale as the weight
is raised and exhale as you return it to the
floor. A deep breath should precede an all-
out record attempt, and if the performer is
already schooled in the finer points of the
lift, it is possible to recharge the lungs with
air when the bar is rested across the lower
thighs midway through.

For the Press Behind Neck (bodybuilding
variety) breathe in as the bar is lowered,
enabling the effort of pressing the weight to
be made when the lungs are inflated. The
air can be exhaled as the weight is raised, or
retained until the movement is completed.

Very few exercises will tax the breathing
more than the Rowing motion, the chief
difficulty being the unnatural position for
breathing during prolonged effort. The
discomfort can be considerably reduced if
the head is rested on a box, which should
not be less than 30” high. Breathing
arrangements: inhale as the weight is
raised and exhale when it is lowered,

At this point I seem to have exhausted
the basic exercises, and with them the
amount of space allotted to this article. I
trust I have satisfied the requirements of
those readers who wanted help on the subject
of controlled breathing.

peter yates
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Re: Muscle Making by DON DORANS

Post by peter yates » Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:05 pm

Thanks Tom, sterling stuff. If you PM me your email address i will send any Dorans articles i may find to you.
Peter Yates

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David Gentle
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Re: Muscle Making by DON DORANS

Post by David Gentle » Mon Jul 06, 2020 10:59 am

Just found my old Dorans courses and booklets, see current no 14 Muscleanous, i will if i can relocate his schedules send some in for people to sample. he really was the best David Gentle
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peter yates
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Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2014 3:38 pm
Location: NEW YORK, USA

Re: Muscle Making by DON DORANS

Post by peter yates » Tue Jul 07, 2020 11:15 am

That would be great David.We never know it all even after years in the game.I have picked up quite a few important tips for my own training with this series.
Peter Yates

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