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Mike Brown's 40 Years of Experience in Strength Training

** 1964 **

I ran Dean’s Gym in Honolulu while Dean Higuchi was away wrestling. Dean’s Gym is where the professional wrestlers trained while they were in Honolulu.

The first person I trained, Frank Hay, did exactly what I told him to do. He was 6' and went from 137 pounds to 170 in 4 months. He later became a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps.

** 1966 **

I trained under Mits Kawashima. Mits supervised my workouts and gave me a diet that took me, at a height of 6' 1", from 190 pounds to 235 in 5 months. Mits Kawashima was so knowledgeable that as long ago as 1946 he was taking men from a bodyweight of 150 pounds to 215 in 2 years. Today Mits hosts physique shows in partnership with his friend of over 30 years, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

** 1968 **

Another trainee who did exactly what I told him to do (Bob Walton, 6' 2"), increased his bodyweight from a pear-shaped 180 pounds to a muscular 255 in 9 months.

** 1970 **

I brought the first Nautilus machine into California. It took me only a matter of weeks to figure out that this machine would only not do what its inventor claimed, but that its use was counter-productive. You cannot build strength without also developing balance.

** 1971 **

One of the men I trained, Robert Simpson, at a height of 5' 7" and a bodyweight of 250, set the unofficial world record for a military press from a power rack of 1 rep with 550 pounds.

** 1973 **

I became a contributing author to IronMan magazine and authored the first edition of The Strength of Samson: How to Attain It.

** 1974 **

I opened a basement gym in Berea, Kentucky. The local chiropractor sent me many of his patients to strengthen them to the point where they could hold adjustments. That year I also invented the Samson cable set, the tapered wrist roller, a new method for making thick handled dumbbells, and a power rack accessory known as "rack rebounders." That same year I discovered the use of coconut milk as a muscle-building agent.

One of my first customers for the Samson cable set, with my coaching, won the World’s Arm Wrestling Championship in the 200-pound class at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His name was Ali Muhammad.

I trained a softball player, Jerry Rey, to increase his grip strength. His bodyweight went from 150 pounds to 175 in 9 months. At the end of 9 months his grip was so powerful that every time he hit a softball, it was a home run.

I trained a pole vault competitor, Mike Chastain, who needed to strengthen his shoulder muscles. He had done so well that he improved his vaults by 18 inches. Mike qualified for the Olympics but couldn’t afford to go.

In Berea Herschel and Betty Jones owned Peoples Restaurant. I started training Betty the winter of 1973/74. She was really happy that other people noticed she had increased her bust size. She was very unhappy when the weather warmed up and she found out that she couldn’t fit into her spring dresses because her arms had also increased in size. She called me up and said, "Brown, I’m going to kill you!" I reminded her that I had told her all winter that if she didn’t change her eating habits, she would have that problem.

I trained Mrs. Lucille Burnell, a 55-year-old woman to do deep knee bends with 55-pound dumbbells in each hand. One day her husband called and said, "Brown, what have you been doing to my wife?" Oops, I said, "Excuse me?" He told me that she usually would slip on a rug, break an ankle, and end up going to the hospital. This had happened twice before. This time when she slipped on the rug, she just tucked her feet under her in midair and landed on the balls of her feet like a cat.

** 1975 **

This is the year Thomas Gaertner taught me the proper way to do forced reps. Gaertner, at a height of 6' and a bodyweight of 240, could do 6 reps in the bench press of 550 pounds.

** 1978 **

I helped open and design an 1890s-style gym in Berea, Kentucky. I coached members of the Berea High School football team. Their rivals in Richmond, Kentucky had slaughtered them every year with scores like 48-0. The year I was involved with training them, their Richmond rivals beat them by 1 point.

** 1981 **

I assisted a friend in converting his business from a basement gym to a commercial establishment.

** 1984 **

I learned how to build the Lakhovsky Multiple-Wave Oscillator from Ralph Bergstresser, a personal friend of Nikola Tesla. The first person I tested the device on, an electrical engineer, increased his chin-ups from 6 to 18 in 3 months.

** 1985 **

One day in the gym a guy (6' 8") doing bench presses was going to let my wife (5' 5", 125 pounds) work in between his sets. He asked her what weight she wanted to use. She told him that she would use the same weight he was using. When she finished her set, the guy looked at her and said, "I must not be using enough weight." I ended up training this man in the bench press and found out that he was a pro baseball player.

A different time I saw a man in the same gym, a radiologist, fail his attempt at 1 rep with 220 pounds in the bench press. He asked me what he was doing wrong and I said everything. When I got through explaining it to him, he said, "You don’t have much of a bedside manner, do you?" However, when I trained the baseball player, the radiologist, and 2 others, in 9 months all of them were benching 350 pounds for 1 rep.

The irony of this is that during the 9 months of training 2 other men I trained at the same time and who were already doing bench presses of 350, only increased their bench presses to 360. I was tearing my hair out. I couldn’t figure out what it was I was missing until one of my other trainees, a big Hawaiian kid named Wayne, told me those 2 were using steroids.

** 1986 **

I trained my 15-year-old son, at a bodyweight of 150, to take his bench press from 5 reps with 130 pounds to 5 reps with 200 pounds in less than 6 months.

** 1989 **

I worked with one of the strength coaches of the Cincinnati Bengals by telephone. The deal was, if they won the Super Bowl against the San Francisco 49ers, they were going to buy each team member one of my Samson Cable sets. Unfortunately for me, that was the year that Joe Montana threw a hail Mary that won the game and I saw my sales evaporate as San Francisco pulled off the most exciting win in Super Bowl history.

** 1993 **

I started to train a female golf pro in West Palm Beach, Florida, who was a national class player. She was extremely disadvantaged in her sport because she was only 5' 1" and competing against women 5' 8"and taller. I was unable to accomplish anything with her because a minimum wage instructor working at one of the local gyms wanted to see how strong she was in a test that she should never have been given in the first place. He hurt her. Today, unfortunately, most personal trainers don’t realize its their duty to keep their clients from hurting themselves. Worse, most personal trainers are not trained to recognize preexisting injuries or other problems.

** 1994 **

In Chicago I trained a 24-year-old man, who was 6' and weighed 154 pounds and had never trained with weights before. His weight after six months on Mits’ Protein was 194.

I also trained a 45-year-old woman with a small frame with a weight of 128 pounds. She had never lifted weights before. By the time she was 47, she was able to squat with 90 pounds and bench press 75 pounds. She could do 8 reps doing alternate dumbbell presses with 35 pounds in each hand.

** 1997 **

A trainee whom I called "Splinters" because he was so stubborn, started with a bodyweight of 215 and a bench press of 295. In 9 months his bodyweight was 270 and he was benching 410. Guys would cautiously approach him and ask, "What are you taking?" He would just point at me and say, "See that old man? That’s all I need to take."

One day in the gym Splinters showed a monster on chemicals, that we referred to as "Dashboard" because his shoulders looked as wide as one, how to do a bench press using the proper hand placement and breathing. The guy was able to instantly increase the number of reps.

One day I was watching a guy I had occasionally trained with. He started out an exercise quite well but faded fast. I asked him what was wrong and he said didn’t know. So I asked him if he ate a lot of meat and avoided carbs. He said, "Yeah, how did you know that?" I said, "You have the endurance of a cat. They can run at top speeds but they can only do it a very short distance because their diet consists mainly of meat and nothing else." After that, whenever we referred to this fellow, we called him "the Catman." Later I watched him after he adjusted his diet and noticed that it had solved his problem.

I trained a man from Poland named Jack Miserowski. He was 6' 4" and weighed 196 pounds. As an athlete from Poland and before breaking a leg, he had beaten Bruce Jenner twice. Jack’s bench press started at 200 pounds for 4 reps. Four months later Jack weighed 216 and could bench press 250 pounds for 4 reps.

I began coaching Lauren Laughlin, a massage therapist and marathon runner, on nutrition. You can read her story, Desiccated Liver & Me.

** 2002 **

I started training Ted Roach. His experience can be read at The low-down on lifting with Mike by Ted Roach. My side of the story is at Proper Training Produces Results.

** 2003 **

I made the video Bodybuilding The Right Way to show those who may have hit a "sticking point" in their training and those who keep injuring themselves how a Personal Training Evaluation will benefit them.

My latest trainee, Tyler Willhite, is 6' 2" and started with a bodyweight of 183 pounds can could not do 1 rep with 180 in the bench press. After 2 months he weighs 186 and can bench press 5 reps with 185 and 3 reps with 195. Since Tyler had hardly gained any weight, I asked him a few questions about his lifestyle. I discovered why he wasn’t gaining any significant amount of weight. He wasn’t going to bed until 4 am and didn’t bother to eat any breakfast.

How serious are you about bodybuilding and athletic performance?

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This page was updated on September 1, 2013