Doug Hepburn 1953 World Championship Training

By Brian Carson

For those who don't know, Canadian born Doug Hepburn was one of the strongest men to grace our planet with only Paul Anderson being stronger at the time.

Hepburn burst on the Olympic Lifting scene in 1950 and would later defeat the legendary John Davis at the 1953 world championships - shattering records along the way. Those records would eventually be smashed by Anderson.

In his prime, Hepburn had lifted 760 pounds on the squat, 705 in the deadlift, 440 in the press and 580 in the bench. He was the first man to ever bench press over 500 pounds. More impressive is the fact that his lifts were before the age of steroids, bench suits and all the other crap that's used today.

This is how Hepburn trained for the 1953 World Championship. I've eliminated his weight totals in case anyone reading this would want to follow. Use weights that you can handle.

Doug Hepburn's Championship Routine


Cleans 10 x 2

Bench Press 1 x 5; 6 x 2

Squats 1 x 5; 6 x 3


Snatch 10 x 2

Bench Press 1 x 5; 6 x 2

Squats 1 x 5; 6 x 3


Press 10 x 2

Bench Press 1 x 5; 6 x 2

Squats 1 x 5; 6 x 3

Notes: Doug ate 4-5 meals a day and would try to get nine hours sleep a night. You don't have to follow these guidelines, stick with what makes you feel comfortable. Hepburn used very heavy weights in his workouts and you should too. Always work with weights that are heavy for you and keep training hard and progressive.

Understand that to be successful in any weight training program - hard work is a must! Half-hearted effort does nothing for you. If you're new to weight training or grossly out of shape, consult a physician first. End of disclaimer.

Brian Carson is a writer and workout enthusiast who write and edits the Workout Routine blog, the site devoted to workout routines by bodybuilders, powerlifters, strength trainers and strongmen from the past to the present. Visit us at

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