From Left to Right: Matthew Penrose, Ahmad ‘Joe’ Atef, Ernie Frantz, Howard Penrose, Ray Makiejus
Forward – Publisher
I rejoined the world of powerlifting with my first competition in October, 2011 following a 15 year break due to a serious injury falling from a roof. In the 1980s and early 1990s, powerlifting was at its 20th Century peak. The sport was open to new lifters, but the spotlight was on the ‘big boys,’ the heavy squat attempts, the giants, the big benches and the big deadlifts. Throughout the World powerlifting has remained a significant sport as well as a practice and training for sports of all types.
Powerlifting is the art of moving weight quickly in the form of three major lifts: squat, bench, and deadlift. Each of these lifts, using proper form, involve the whole body as well as mental fortitude. If you are not using both the power of the mind as well as power of the body, you will not be able to move the super-human weights observed at many local and world events. It is now not unusual to see squat attempts approaching, or exceeding, 1000 pounds, or bench attempts over 500 pounds, or deadlifts exceeding 600 pounds. It is not without its dangers – as I am writing this I am recovering from a serious training accident that occurred away from my team on sub-standard equipment (I broke one of the commandments).
At the time of the publication of this book, there are multiple federations globally with a variety of rules associated with the lifts and judging. There is also controversy surrounding raw versus single ply versus multi-ply geared lifters. The number of raw first time lifters has escalated and often exceeds the number of geared lifters at many meets as virtually anyone can enter the sport and compete at any level of experience. Additionally, social networking has generated the ability to broadcast whole meets live, athletes can record and upload their attempts, advice can be shared between lifters World-wide, even when they don’t share the same language.
While there is virtually no money in the sport, with the very few financially sponsored lifters, there is the thrill of no restrictions from entering a meet. I have observed 60+ and 70+ year old men and women make their way up to the bench or squat rack and knock out weight that your average young gym rat would be impressed by. Engineers, doctors, business leaders, truck drivers, fast food employees, therapists, you name it, all participate and speak the same language of powerlifting and lifters who persist enjoy a brother and sister hood that extend World-wide.
I met Ernie Frantz, after having heard about him for decades, during an Illinois local meet. He had suffered some business losses related to the loss of his gym in Aurora, Illinois, due to fire. He was selling off damaged items and continuing his support of the sport. When we met, he was proudly wearing his “Godfather of Powerlifting” t-shirt and kept me wrapt in stories related to the early years of strength sports and powerlifting. He continues to train lifters and visit gyms providing advice generously.
Over about a year of meeting Ernie off and on at competitions and gyms we realized that a wealth of information would be lost to time once Ernie would no longer be able to continue. When I attempted to obtain a copy of the original Ten Commandments book, published in 1983 – not only could you not find a copy, but those who had obtained them held on to them tightly – not willing to part at any cost. I did obtain a copy from Ernie in order to work this project – the development of the second edition. It was decided that a few items (amounting to about five paragraphs) would be removed, spelling and grammar corrections made, new pictures (actually some of the original plus new) would have to be obtained, but that the lion share of the original book would remain unchanged. Why? Simply because it remains one of the most complete books on entering and maintaining the athlete – easy for the beginner and a great reference for the elite lifter.
We are also working on a second project – Ernie Frantz’s biography. It is a collection of stories and experiences that bring to light a generous spirit and full life bringing the sport to where it is today. Intrigue, excitement, adventure and rubbing shoulders with local and world leaders; when I first heard some of the stories I was taken aback. Then, as we sifted through the evidence, pictures and news stories, we believe that the biography will expose our chosen sport well into the general public, once again.
And so, please enjoy this second edition of the original Ten Commandments – the advice and wisdom of one of the giants in sports, let alone powerlifting…
Howard W Penrose, Ph.D., CMRP
President, SUCCESS by DESIGN Publishing
Lombard, Illinois, 2013