Anabolic Steroids Blog – writingdesk.pw » Dr. John Ziegler
Doc Ziegler in his Olney office. While Bob Hoffman had the greatest influence on Olympic weightlifting, bodybuilding, and other strength sports in the sixties, Doc Ziegler had the greatest impact.
Doc was a pure scientist who became fascinated with strength development. His innovations did more to alter the course of this aspect of physical training that any other individual, before or since. John Bosley Ziegler was a fourth generation doctor. His great-grand-father served in the Civil War as a physician for the Union Army. Doc was a Civil War buff with a large collection of medical paraphernalia from that era who often dressed up in garb to attend some Civil War convention or reenactment.
His grandfather was a country doctor and his father a combination of practicing physician and research scientist. Appropriately, he attended Gettysburg College as a pre-med student in and upon graduation joined the Marines.
Fighting in the pacific, he was badly wounded and was told by the attending doctors that he would never be able to walk without the use of crutches because he had lost his right collarbone and would never lift his right hand above his head again. Doc had always been an active person, so he ignored what the military doctors had told him and began experimenting with a variety of exercises to help remedy his physical defects.
After graduation and four years of internship and residency, he set up a private practice next to his home in Olney, Maryland. He was using resistive training for his ongoing rehabilitation when he learned that the center of Olympic weightlifting was located just across the Mason-Dixon line in York, Pennsylvania.
He was extremely impressed with what he found there: John Grimek, Steve Stanko, two of the greatest Olympic lifters and bodybuilders in the history of physical culture. He also met Hoffman, who understood right away in the value of having a medical doctor associated with the York organization. Doc, in turn, liked the idea of having what he considered to be the strongest athletes in the country at his disposal.
This trip set the stage for what would eventually become a revolution in not only Olympic weightlifting and bodybuilding, but in every sport that needed greater strength.
Which basically means all of them. In Vienna, every night the coaches of the Russian team and those lifters who had already competed would party hard into the wee hours of the next morning. For a number of reasons. Doc had purposely made friends with the Soviet team, but it had nothing to do with creating good will between the two countries. He wanted to find out as much as he could about how the Russians were training. Plus anything else that might have an influence on their programs. But after a full week of everyone getting drunk together he discovered that they had been experimenting with testosterone.
He carried this information home and used the hormone on several lifters at York. Grimek was one of them. After a few weeks, Grimek told Doc that he never felt any effects one way or the other after taking the testosterone, so Doc gave up on that idea and set about designing the first anabolic steroid.
The New Jersey-based company wanted the drug to be used for patients who were severely debilitated. In theory, it would help build muscle with only a minimum of activity. The tests showed remarkable results, even for burn patients and those who were so weak they were confined to wheelchairs.
Doc understood immediately the implication for weightlifters and wanted to test it on one of the York lifters. At this same time, he had read some German research where the athletes were using isometric contractions to gain more strength.
The idea of pushing or pulling against a stationary object had its roots in Dynamic Tension, but what Doc came up with was something quite different. He expanded on the basic concept and came up with a complete training system and began using it himself on a power rack that he designed in his home gym.
He started making gains on a regular basis and could even lift very heavy dumbbells overhead with his bad right arm. He needed a test subject for both Dianabol and his new form of training. This person had to meet some specific requirements. He had no intention of driving back and forth to York five times a week. It was an mile round trip.
And most importantly of all, this individual must possess a high degree of dedication and be able to follow instructions to the letter. This would, in effect, be a full-time job. Hoffman informed Doc that he thought Bill March would be the ideal subject. Bill was an outstanding athlete and had recently won the Middle Atlantic Championship in the pound class with a total. Hoffman approached Bill about the idea and March quickly accepted.
It was suggested that Bill stay with Doc. He wanted to sleep in his own bed with his new wife. It appeared that the plan had nit a major roadblock. There was really no other lifter living in the area who fit the bill.
Then, Smitty came forth with a solution. There was nothing he loved more than driving and the longer the trip, the better. There was really no way to drive from York to Olney easily.
The back roads in Pennsylvania were laid out following animal trails and the route to Olney consisted of lots of sharp curves, narrow roads, most without shoulders. Few realized how important Smitty was in this whole process. Ziegler had a very short interest span. But it did happen and the results changed the face of Olympic lifting and bodybuilding quickly and eventually spilled over into other sports that utilized some form of resistive training.
By this time, Doc had modified his rack routine so that the bar was moved a short distance before being locked into an isometric contraction. This proved to be much more effective than just doing pure isometrics. Riecke, another exceptional athlete like March, took off like a comet.
Meanwhile, Hoffman was selling isometric courses and power racks like crazy. Nearly every high school and college in the nation began doing isometrics. And all were achieving a certain amount of success for their efforts, yet nowhere near what March and Riecke had accomplished.
That was a closely held secret. Doc wanted it that way because he thought that if word got out, lifters would abuse the drug. Hoffman had another motive for keeping the drug usage under wraps. Dianabol gave the York lifters a tremendous edge over their opponents and there was nothing Hoffman liked more than having an advantage in business and athletics.
The dosages were so low they would be considered ridiculous today. A lifter started out with five milligrams of Dianabol a day for two weeks. Then this was doubled to ten milligrams for two weeks, followed by twenty milligrams for another two weeks.
At that point a liver function test was done and the athlete laid off the drug for the next six weeks, or even longer, before going on another cycle. I followed the guidelines to a tee and so did all the other lifters who were there at the time.
It was only after the word got out and the lifters began taking the drug on their own that they began to be abused. It was the drugs and not the rack routine that had made March and Riecke so strong so fast. Which was only partly true. When the isotonic-isometric contractors were done just as Ziegler taught, lifters made a great deal of progress.
But in a very short span of time, the only Olympic lifters in the country who were still including rack work in their programs were the York lifters who knew how to do the program correctly. It was truly a case of the baby being thrown out with the bath water. When Doc learned that Dianabol was now being used in all parts of the country, he stopped writing scripts altogether. He had predicted what would occur and he was right on the money, but the genie had been released from the bottle and there was no turning back.
Hoffman lined up a local doctor, Dr. Roseberry, on Market Street in York to take care of the scripts. The scripts were brought into the drug store and the bill sent to the York Barbell. This was totally irresponsible and it got worse. He just told the pharmacist what he wanted and signed the receipt. It was like giving a kid the key to a candy store.
Eventually, the drug list expanded to uppers and downers plus any new drug the lifters could find in the P. So it was Hoffman, not Ziegler, who totally disregarded the potential problems with this wholesale, reckless dispensing of drugs to any lifter who represented York.
When Doc learned of this insane practice, he hit the roof. He fully understood that competitive athletes are compulsive by nature and lifters never be allowed to waltz into a pharmacy and leave with whatever their little hearts desired. To add to the problem, this was going on when the entire country was going through the drug culture. Doc tried to persuade Hoffman to stop the usage of Dianabol, but his words fell on deaf ears.
Hoffman was adding more and more top-flight lifters to the York team and he liked being in that lofty position. There was no going back anyway. Doc once told me that he wished he had never introduced Dianabol into the experiment with March and Riecke. All he was trying to do was conduct a controlled clinical experiment. But by this time, Doc had moved on to something new, the Isotron. He had been given an exercise machine made at the turn of the century by his father.
It ran on electricity. Like many of his inventions, he took an old idea and vastly improved it.