Jon Cole?

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Jon Cole?

Postby FMJ » Sun Jan 28, 2007 12:13 pm

Does anyone have articles about this guy? I've read about him on americanpowerliftevolution but I didn't find very much. Maybe something about his training?

Thanks for reading.
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Postby Wassung » Sun Jan 28, 2007 2:16 pm

One of my internet lifting friends, who name is Paul sent me a message some time back asking if I was a fan of Jon Cole. I told him I was and he said he had recently traveled to AZ and interviewed Marvin Allen, who was Jon's training partner. Paul is trying to write a book about Cole and he sent me the following notes and I received his permission to post this on IH. I am trying to get Paul to join us as he appreciates and respects the iron game and has some lifts ( 750 deadlift) to go with it.

Here is the letter


Wow-I took a chance and thought you might be interested-and you are. The book is in it's infancy for sure-but when i need a publisher you are my guy Keith. I plan on getting started on it asap-if you have the book on Pat Casey bruce wilhelm did-that is what I have in mind-with as many interviews of people I can. My best friend from HS just finished a book -it's is a fictional cop story-but there is plenty of lifting in it-I think you might be interested-let me know and I will contact him regarding you and your website.

I picked up so many gems from talking with Marvin Allen. Cole would work out for up to 7 hours per day. Allen said Cole did not too much arm work-straight barbell curls for sets of 6 with 240lbs. Lots of upright rows-with 315. Cole could incline 450 easily. Jon preferred being about 240-it was better for business and he felt healthier-to get up to 282 to break the all time total mark Jon would drink a can of nutrament every hour while he trained. Although Jon never read the russian research ala simmons he always said a person had to be fast to be strong. Allen said in retrospect they probably overtrained but they went heavy as often as they could-deadlifting heavy once per week. Jon loved powerlifting first and felt that most olympic lifters were not strong enough-period. Jon trained for strength and did not train the olympic lifts that much. Jon preferred to train starting at about 10 a.m.-and if you wanted to train with Jon-you fit it around your schedule. Jon knew how to fight and Allen saw him crack a guy in the jaw once-over a driving incident-like road rage-Jon was antogonized by a hippy in a Volkswagen van so he confronted him and socked him in the jaw-splitting his cheek wide open-for the most part though Jon was not looking for trouble-like the owner of thoerbeckes, brick darrow did. Allen said if Jon had kept training at his heavier weight in 72 there is no doubt he could have totaled 2500 then. Allen described Jon as a very good parent-attentive to his kids-with whom allen's kids played. Jon considered himself an athlete first. Allen continually stressed that no matter what Cole believed you had to train heavy to get strong-period. Allen was Cole's business partner/employee for almost 15 years and he spoke with such high regard for Jon-it was great to spend time talking with him and I am looking forward to speaking with him at length in the future. Of course many of the things in here I wrote to you I would not put in the book-unless Jon himself gives me permission. Allen is still in touch with Jon and brick darrow. according to brick-jon benched 405 for 5 recently at age 62.

Keith last week I made my first stop in thorbeckes-it is just how you would imagine it. I had only 30 minutes to catch a flight so I popped into the place-it is literally 10 minutes from Phoenix airport-and it is awesome inside-what a dungeon with pics everywhere. The door was open-it was 2 p.m. and no one was there-I waited as long as I could-but no one came-of course on my next trip there I will call ahead.

What spurred my interest in cole is that herb glossenbrenner gave me the video of coles 2370 meet-and to see it is amazing-just amazing! There is no deadlift footage-only the squats and bench but they are amazing. I would be more than happy to share them with you-as I know you would never sell them or misuse them etc-let me know if you are interested.


Here is a brief summary of Jon Cole's training routine from the October, 1971 issue of Muscular Development, pages 43,52, and 53 (Elias Petas on the cover). The article was entitled, "Jon Cole, The Strongest Man in the World?" written by Les Cramer. All weights listed are in pounds. All quotes are text from the article.


Bench press: 225 x 8; 325 x 5; 400 x 3; 500 x 1; 515 x 1 (or more); 480 x 2 and again 480 x 2.

Incline bench presses: 275 x 5; 215 x 4; 375 x 3; 405 x 2 and 450 x 1.

Squats: 335 x 8; 425 x 5; 525 x 3; 615 x 2; 675 x 1; 725 x 1; 780 x 1; 740 x 2; 740 x 2; and 600 x 10.

Raises on toes: six sets of 20 reps (two with toes out, two with toes in and two with feet straight ahead.)

Curl: 155 x 5; 175 x 5; 195 x 5; 215 x 6 and 225 x 5.

Standing triceps press: 175 x 5; 205 x 5; 230 x 5; 260 x 5; and 280 x 5.

"Jon does one arm rowing motions at the completion of this routine." (No weights given in article.)


Bench press same as Monday.
Squats same as Monday.
Deadlift: 345 x 5; 425 x 5; 525 x 3; 625 x 3; 700 x 2; 750 x 1; 700 x 2 and again 700 x 2.

Toes raises, curls, standing triceps press and rowing motion are the same as Monday.

"As you can see, Jon trains only trains two times a week, but his workouts are arduous. Every exercise is performed under meet conditions, including pauses on the bench press. Jon feels that the exercises should be done only twice a week as the body cannot sufficiently recover from a heavy workout in less than seven full days, but in his training Jon gets only three days of rest.

He compensates for this by taking great amounts of protein (250 grams a day). Mike Civalier feels that "tipping" in the bench press and box squatting could up his total by 50 to 100 pounds. However, Jon would have to spend a considerable amount of time over his present training periods to accomplish this feat, but due to his extrememly busy schedule, this extra time is not possible...

...Some of Jon's best lifts are: Press behind neck 355; deadlift 815; press of rack 460; incline bench press 430; clean and press two repititons with 410; snatch 315; full squat 18 repetitions with 600 and bench press 565."

Please note that this article was written years before Jon actually reached his peak strength level.
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Postby Wassung » Sun Jan 28, 2007 2:20 pm

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Postby FMJ » Sun Jan 28, 2007 2:56 pm

Very nice and interesting. Thanks.
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Postby Wassung » Sun Jan 28, 2007 5:21 pm

here is more from the site...

We skipped around over the last few months; measuring the neck of Ken Snell, the neck of Joe Ladnier, the head of Vincent Dizenzo, and then we even had a little outdoor bloodshed. Bleeding is generally good, but always more fun outside - where 'wimmen-folk' don't complain about the carpet and stuff.
Reminds me of a story that we were talking about last night. It was a fun day we had in the country a couple of years back. The main thing you need to know is that NO MOMS WERE PRESENT. My brother-in-law (Scott C.) and I had taken all of our varmints to the country. He had his 4 boys and I had taken my three kids (2 girls and 1 boy). We were shooting guns and fireworks, riding 4-wheelers, driving the truck fast with kids in the back, and looking for snakes and wild hogs. All at the same time. As I said, NO MOMS WERE INVOLVED.
Anyway, there we were, enjoying our relaxing day in the woods, when my youngest nephew Nicky (age 4 at the time) got slammed into the back of a pick-up cab, hard enough that his teeth came. through his cheek. No big - you can't die from that - but we did have to rush him to the ER for a 10-hour ordeal of stitches (inside and outside his mouth). He lived, and it probably built character. Or pain tolerance. (Something good.) When the wives heard about this they cried out "Who was driving the truck and why were they going so fast?!" I explained that it wasn't Pip's fault, because she couldn't see over the dash, and couldn't reach the pedals. (My daughter Callie - AKA Pip - was 8 years old at the time.) My wife looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language. "Why was Pip driving if she couldn .t
see or work the pedals?!" Well, naturally we had put a small child in the floorboard to work the pedals with their hands. At this reasonable explanation, my wife turned white as a sheet. I think she gets too much calcium, or caffeine, or something. She spoke very slowly; 'WHEN YOU SAW that this crazy idea was going to end in a crash, WHY DIDN'T YOU TAKE CONTROL OF THE WHEEL?' Sensing that the mental anguish was affecting her, I explained slowly; BECAUSE I WASN'T IN THE TRUCK AT THE TIME.
At this point the strain of her day became too much, and she lost control of her arms. For that matter both moms (my wife and Scott's wife) became totally unreasonable, and probably said things that we cannot repeat here. You know how crazy wimmen-folk can get for no apparent reason. But the point is, Bloodshed is not always bad, and Bricks are not always for masonry construction.
Arizona lifter Martin Vogt told me that he got stronger by training with a Brick. His exact words: "It's really enhanced my competitive lifts. "Since he speaks properly, and trains with Brick-I'll let him tell the story:

Is that place still open? This is the question I am often asked whenever I wear my Thorbecke's T-shirt to various meets throughout the country. A gym of legendary proportions, it is indeed, very much still open, and perhaps by certain standards might even be considered flourishing. Perhaps an integral factor in the confusion that surrounds its existence can be attributed to its unique location. Some lifters claim Scottsdale as its residence; others feel they're lifting Tempe. Regardless, today's Thorbecke's is located off of Curry Road between McClintock (Hayden) and Rural (Scottsdale) Roads, just north of the 202. You can't miss it - just look for the sandwich board sign by the auto body shop that says GYM, and turn in. (Unfortunately, if the wind is blowing especially hard that day, the sign may have blown down, and unless persistence is one of your strengths, you may miss a golden lifting opportunity.) Nevertheless, if you're successfully negotiated this first obstacle, then simply follow this road (Stadem Road), and just before it ends, turn right into an alleyway that fronts a number of industrial workplaces housed in garages. Now, simply follow this alley to the end, and it's the last garage on the left. Once again, you can't miss it, because the letters GYM are prominently displayed above the door; besides which, if you go too far, you'll drive your vehicle into what's affectionately known as the Thor Creek. Upon entering Thorbecke's, be prepared to take a step back in time as this is that gym your dad lifted in; and, if a further comparison is necessary, you'll soon sense the overtones of the gym Apollo Creed took Rocky Balboa to in the film "Rocky III." The owner describes it as a trip through a time warp in the 70 's where "if you stay in here you won't grow old." Eclectic would probably best describe its internal atmosphere. To begin with, the weights themselves represent over forty years of accumulation and represent a lifter's dream- they're functional.

There are two power platforms (each prominently placed before an American flag), two benches, two squat stations; and to keep it from beginning to exclusively approximate Noah'sArk, incline and decline benches, supine benches, numerous dumbbells, pulley stations, and all the other necessities one would expect to find a gym in this class. In addition, there is the special equipment: a hack squat/leg press machine reputed to have once used by American forces for the invasion of Normandy, and Inverted leg press (a true antiquity), and one of the most unique push up devices known to mankind. The locker room area is also unique and yet once again befits the term functional. It actually comes disguised as the bathroom. And, then there are the lifters themselves, who represent a socio- economic cross-section of America, which includes: policemen, firemen, engineers, teachers, musicians, executives, laborers, students, businessmen, et al. Nevertheless, regardless of your occupation, overall it is like CHEERS - "a place where everybody knows your name, and they're always glad you came."

The locker room/juice bar area at Thorbecke's.

At the same time, this is not merely EVERYMAN'S gym; this has been and stilI is a cathedral for many of America's premier powerlifters - Dave Pasanella, Dave Keaggy, Fred Millan, Bob Calvan, Mike Morris, Marty Einstein, Brick Darrow, Dave Draper, Jack Barnes, Wayne Coleman (aka Superstar Billy Graham), Bruce Wilhelm, Mike Wonyetye, Harold Escobedo, and the legendary Jon Cole-who have all trained at Thorbecke 's at one time or another. Similarly, the team itself - albeit presently a more mature group - continues to win powerliftlng championships at the state and nationallevels, having recently earned Its 30th team championship in Arizona. But, to return to the concept of EVERYMAN once again, there's yet another special quality to Thorbecke's that's especially evident every Saturday - a BARBERSHOP quality - good dialogue and enthusiastic conversation. For if you ever have the opportunity to come in on a Saturday morning for a workout, In addition to your lifting opportunity (as well as the opportunity for some first-rate Instructjon), you'll enjoy the passionate discourse, sometimes bordering on pontification, as this particular group revels in not only dissection America's social, political, and economic concerns and issues, but willingly offering solutions to these maladies as well. It's truly enlightening, and always entertaining, to take a break from your workout, get a container of Ralph's special blend of 'Thorbecke's "coffee and watch the "competition". Then, there's always the requisite ambiance, yet another unique component of the Thorbecke's lifting experience, as it soon becomes apparent that this is, indeed, not a contemporary ".. .Fitness" center.

Immediately upon entering, the first thing you notice is a comfortable and familiar sound, that of Classic Rock & Roll, the only music Thorbecke's offers. Then, as you enter the garage (oops, facility), listening to hits like "Knights in White Satin" or "Stairway to Heaven", you are immediately next overwhelmed by the walls. On the walls {as well as on the garage door) are, instead of the steri Ie pastels and motivational signs all too prominent in the contemporary "Spandex" gyms. A memorial to the "Who's Who" of powerlifting- plaques commemorating the setting and breaking of records, and of award-winning teams, autographed pictures, posters of meets dating back to the 70 's and, a visual record of the Power Bowl meets of previous years. Above, and below, and amongst this pictorial array of lifting prowess are trophies-lots and lots of trophies - recording the numerous competitive successes of the gym. And, if you look very carefully, when taking a break between sets, you '11 even see a life-size poster of the present-day governor of Califomia in his earlier lifting days, as well as some treasured photos from Muscle Beach in California. By now, you're probably asking yourself how the members manage to keep this lifting emporium fiscally solvent. Well, there are actually two sources of revenue. First of all, there is the CO-OP perspective, whereby each member contributes a specified amount monthly, which entitles him to a key, thereby making this truly a 24x7, 365 day- a-year facility. But, for those who are only "occasional" lifters, for the modest sum of $2 (yes, Virginia, much like there is, indeed, a Santa Claus, there is also still a place you can train for $2 a day) you can work out any day you want when the doors are open, which is usually from Odark 30 in the morning until midnight and beyond six days a week.

So, what is it then that holds this lifting Xanadu together? Ironically, it's not glue, it's a brick. Much like any other grandmother, Lucy May Thorbecke looked on her grandchildren as a treasure sent from above. This was especially significant in her feelings towards her grandson Brick (Darrow). In the early 60 's, when Brick and his friends were lifting in his bedroom at Grandma's, they began to render the building structurally unsafe as they increased their poundages. She them moved them to a 12' x 20' cement carport slab outside the house. This, subsequently, remained their headquarters for many years with Grandma functioning as the caretaker for what would serve as the original Thorbecke's. However, as the gym membership grew (from 40 to 250), a larger more permanent faculty was needed; and so, Brick and his cohorts moved to Scottsdale, until rising rent cost next forced them to move to this present location (actually, it's Tempe). Through it all, the one constant has been Brick, an East Val/ey treasure, who still runs and trains at Thorbecke's, and what's even more ironic is that the journey has now come full circle as he presently mentors his own grandson, Connor, who also trains there. So, if you're ever traveling in Phoenix, more specifically its East Valley, and you're looking for a good place to train amidst many of the legends of power lifting, stop by Thorbecke's, invest $2, and take a trip back in time. And, remember, in this gym, everybody's "always glad you came."

His Highness (as the members affectionately refer to him)
Owner/Manager/Lifter sometimes spotter, Brick Darrow, (email Brick)
who once did a 450 lb. incline press at 220 Ibs. in an Odd-Lift Contest at Muscle Beach, CA.

I don't know about you, but Thorbecke's sounds way cool to me! Next time that I'm in Tempe, AZ - I'm gonna train there (heck, it's only $2). Next time you're in East Texas come play with us - cause we will have some fun, and we don't quit until someone gets stitches. Next month, we'll meet "The Keeper of Hell's Gate." Stay tuned.
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Postby Jake » Sun Jan 28, 2007 6:50 pm

makes the gym I train in look like shit
I should have seen the signs
Now the memories far behind
It was no big loss,
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