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Dr. Ken Leistner
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strengthmaster

Michigan, USA

Just received word that Dr. Ken Leistner
has passed away this morning. I have no further info to share at this time. To all who knew him or read his writings, this is very sad news. He was one of my mentors. My Sincere Condolences to his family and friends.

Scott
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Dude77

Sad news...I first read his articles on hardgainer magazine
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MDieguez

That man has had such a profound effect on so many lives. He has helped me in so many ways.
This is a very sad day. If you knew him , you knew
there was no bull shit . He was sincere and always told it like it was, whether you wanted to hear it or not. He was a very unique and generous
individual. I will miss him.
Mike
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dipsrule

Pennsylvania, USA

We exchanged several emails last summer up to Christmas 2018.

wow Sad news
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StuKE

I really hope this is not true. I was going to mention in a thread that Dr Ken still posts articles over on another site.

Please provide more info as aoon as possible.
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Ray200

I've not seen anything online, albeit there's a recent news update on Cyberpump about Dr Ken (subscription needed). But if he has passed away then we've lost one of the great figures of the iron game, never mind HIT.

Ray
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strengthmaster

Michigan, USA

More info on Dr. Ken: from a family friend, trainee, and local first responder on Long Island. Doc went down in his office this morning. A client found him and gave CPR. Ambulance arrived quickly and techs did everything they could in a rapid manner. Got him to the hospital as quickly as possible, but he could not be saved. Preliminary cause is thought to be an aneurysm.

Wife and kids are in shock, but surrounded by friends and family.

That is what I know to this point. Can't say enough about what an outstanding individual he was on many fronts.

Scott

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StuKE

Ray200 wrote:
I've not seen anything online, albeit there's a recent news update on Cyberpump about Dr Ken (subscription needed). But if he has passed away then we've lost one of the great figures of the iron game, never mind HIT.

Ray


Couldn't agree more. Dr Ken inspired countless numbers of us, his writing was great, full of no nonsense wisdom and stories of mind boggling workouts.
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StuKE

As far as I know after a bit of searching the web, Dr Ken passed whilst graining someone, heart attack. I would not like to say this is definite though.
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Average Al

I've seen it in several places now, so it appears to be true:
- On Dan John's site, he said that he had heard about Leistner's passing, but it wasn't from an official source.
- On the Starting Strength web site, Mark Rippetoe says Leistner's death was sudden and unexpected, but no cause mentioned. (Leistner had published several articles on Rippetoe's site, so they appear to have known each other.)

Sad news for his family and friends, and those who were his fans.

Whenever someone who looks and acts healthy dies suddenly and without warning, the immediate suspects are heart attack, stroke, or aneurysm. It will probably take an autopsy or medical examination to assign a definitive cause.

Fred Hatfield (Dr. Squat) also died unexpectedly at home, and it was several months before the cause was made public (heart attack, if I recall correctly).
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1958

Texas, USA

StuKE wrote:
As far as I know after a bit of searching the web, Dr Ken passed whilst graining someone, heart attack. I would not like to say this is definite though.


Well,if it's not definite,why post it?
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Nwlifter

1958 wrote:
StuKE wrote:
As far as I know after a bit of searching the web, Dr Ken passed whilst graining someone, heart attack. I would not like to say this is definite though.

Well,if it's not definite,why post it?


If something had to be definite to post, we'd only have about 7 posts total on the forum lol
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StuKE

Nwlifter wrote:
1958 wrote:
StuKE wrote:
As far as I know after a bit of searching the web, Dr Ken passed whilst graining someone, heart attack. I would not like to say this is definite though.

Well,if it's not definite,why post it?

If something had to be definite to post, we'd only have about 7 posts total on the forum lol


Thanks.
I am not sure why he said that, I meant no disprespect. The comment about passing during training someone was made by a friend of Dr Ken who lived in his attic for a period.
Not sure where the heart attack comment was from. I am saddened to hear about his passing, however it happened, we have lost a legend.
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AI1963

If true, HAIL AND FAREWELL to an Iron Game great and, much more importantly, to an individual who seemed to be a great family man.

With sadness and respect.
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Crotalus

I am at a loss for words .... stunned by this news.

Dr. Ken was my main guru for many years after being introduced to HIT by Dardens books. Loved his Steel Tip newsletters and everything else he wrote. I'll never forget a HIT workout he put his secretary through at a Rutgers strength training seminar back in the 80's. Everyone in the audience who weren't accustomed to real HIT training were mortified.

I posted awhile ago asking how he was doing and if he was still dragging scrap iron through the neighborhood in his 70's ...

Just horrible news .... I'm hoping this is a bad dream and I wake up .


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strengthmaster

Michigan, USA

Official Obit for Dr. Ken Leistner.

https://hungerfordandclark.com/...r/obituary.html
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Ellington Darden

Ken Leistner first visited the Nautilus headquarters in Lake Helen in the fall of 1973. I remember putting him through a ball-busting workout on the Nautilus leg machines. He did what I asked of him and never flinched.

A week later, Ken loaded up his van with 5 or 6 guys (I was included) and we drove north to some flowing springs, where we lazily floated down the river in inner tubes in a four-hour trip. What fun we all had.

Over the the next 30 years, I had several run-ins with Ken. But Ken was a man of forgiveness. He never stayed mad for long.

I frequently sent Ken a copy of my just published books -- and he always penned me a sincere "Thank-You Note," which I always appreciated.

Over the years, I visited Ken and his wife twice in their New York home. His training rooms, inside and outside, were a testimony to high-intensity exercise.

Ken, the man, and Ken, the writer, left a legacy of wisdom on all of us.

Ellington
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epdavis7

Wow! Shocking. Reading his articles motivated me to do 20 Rep Squat routine. What a loss not only to his family, friends and loved ones, but to the Iron game as a whole. Rest in Peace.
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Crotalus

epdavis7 wrote:
Wow! Shocking. Reading his articles motivated me to do 20 Rep Squat routine.


Yeah, no doubt that Dr.Ken along with Dr. Darden were the two most motivating writers on training I ever read.

Leistner's Steel Tip Newsletter that went for three years was probably the best advice ever form those wanting to get bigger and stronger. Everything he wrote made so much sense you had no choice but to do what he said.

Nobody could give a written description of a actual workouts like Darden. His detailed descriptions have you feeling like you were right there in the gym witnessing them 'live' and would motivate me so much I'd sometimes have trouble thinking thinking about anything other than my next workout.

I consider myself very very lucky to be learning about training while both of these guys were providing the best info available on a regular basis. Each saw things a bit differently, but both were irreplaceable in the HIT circle.
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StuKE

Just seen that the rare and legendary video of Dr Ken squatting has been posted on You Tube yesterday, easy to find. Not sure how long it will stay on there.
I had not seen this for years. A must watch for all fans.

Great squatter, great man.
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epdavis7

At his bodyweight and age that video is incredible. It is hard to believe how strong he was.
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sgb2112

Ipsilateral Intensification
by Ken Leistner (1987)

Positive training effect -- defined by most bodybuilders and powerlifters as an increase in muscle tissue size and strength -- comes as a result of many factors. The most obvious and important variable is still the actual training one does to stimulate gains.

Of course, in bodybuilding circles the virtues of nutrition are also extolled in the same breath. Nevertheless, despite the proliferation of commercially biased literature, nutrition is a very distant second to one's actual work in the gym. Granted, one can certainly "eat" his way out of a major title by not controlling his caloric consumption or eating in a way that causes significant nutritional inadequacies and/or fluid imbalances.

However, I have yet to see any major powerlifting or physique title bestowed upon a man or woman who did not train, despite utilizing sound nutritional concepts. And for every bodybuilder who eats inadequately, there are scads who eat correctly, yet comparatively few ever grace the winner's podium. Therefore, it should be obvious that nutrition is not, and has never been. "85% of the battle" for muscle-building success.

Let's face a very sobering fact -- the vast majority of bodybuilders eat and train alike, but there are only a handful of outstanding physiques. Similarly, the majority of powerlifters eat and train along the same lines. Yet, year in and year out the top competitors in each weight class are very often the same men and women. In actuality, proper, productive training, which will stimulate maximal gains in accordance with one's genetic limitations, is responsible for one's success (or lack of it) in the lifting and physique worlds -- with nutrition giving one the energy to train vigorously and recuperate fully from that training.

As I've stated so many times, hard training has nothing to do with the volume of a training session, workout frequency, the length of a particular workout or the number of repetitions performed in a set. Rather, it's a function of one's willingness to execute each and every set of each and every workout to the fullest of his capabilities -- pushing against the barbell, dumbbell or machine handles until the resistance will not move.

Plain and simple, what I'm talking about is intensity, and you should always be looking for ways to increase this factor. One manner in which we infuse variety and added intensity into our workouts is through ipsilateral (one-limb) training. It's very difficult, although I believe almost everyone can benefit from it. Above all, bear in mind that this technique must be approached in a careful manner owing to the fact that it can only be done productively for a few weeks at a time . . . or when used intermittently, yet infrequently, as part of one's regular weight training program.

There are training machines which I like and others which I do not. In order for one to justify the use of any machine, it must offer advantages that are not available from a barbell or dumbbells. However, some machines allow one to train in a safer and/or more effective manner, and those which permit the training of one limb at a time offer an advantage. Furthermore, using dumbbells one arm at a time works very well for some movements. However, there are many exercises that can be done with greater intensity when done ipsilaterally. Actually, the movement becomes harder and, in many cases, more uncomfortable. this should not be seen as a negative.

As long as it does not signal endangerment of a joint or soft tissue structure, a bit of discomfort forces the trainee to concentrate more completely on the movement. And when all properly performed strength training is done in a controlled and careful manner, one-limbed training must be executed with tremendous control and concentration to avoid injury and to realize increases in the muscle-stimulating effect.

For the lower extremity, let extensions and leg curls are often done one leg at a time, especially for the purposes of injury rehabilitation. However, working with maximal weights for whatever the recommended number of repetitions in the leg curl and extension significantly boosts the intensity of these movements.

Moreover, we have received great results from ipsilateral leg presses, particularly when done in a "negative only" fashion. There are a number of leg press machines that lend themselves to this movement, and some which do not. Above all, be careful to maintain control because heavy weights can and should be utilized.

If one can follow this with one-legged squats -- and I do believe that doing so will prove to be too much work for most -- plan on shuffling your feet for a few days because the ensuing muscle soreness will prevent normal ambulation for two or three days.

The Nautilus Leverage Bench Press, Incline or Double Press machine, as well as the Schnell Standing Bench Press unit, are excellent for one-limb pressing movements. Of course, one can do one-armed dumbbell presses, being careful to support or otherwise balance the body during the exercise so that excessive backward or lateral bending is avoided. Eight or 10 slow and steady reps, done with the palm facing the side of the face, is an underutilized exercise which was very common in the "old days."

The Schell Standing Bench Press offers an incredible range of motion in comfort, allowing the trainee to concentrate fully on the movement. We have also found that the Nautilus Leverage Dip machine allows for the practice of one-armed dips . . . which have to be tried to be appreciated. However, I would not recommend one-arm dumbbell bench presses as they are dangerous due to the difficulty in balancing the body properly on the bench during the movement. Any "false movement" with a heavy weight can result in a torn pectoral muscle or injury to the shoulder region.

In training the upper back we have always relied on one-armed dumbbell rows over the standard barbell version due to the greater margin of safety offered, increased range of motion and degree of comfort the dumbbell movement offers relative to the barbell exercise. Of course, one-arm chins are an impossibility for most trainees. But doing a regular two-armed chin in a positive (up) manner and then lowering the body on the strength of one arm can be done by many . . . and for more reps than you would think. One good set done in this style will provide excellent stimulation for the latissimus, forearm flexors and biceps structures. And prone rows -- done with a dumbbell in one hand at a time while lying face down on an elevated bench -- is another effective upper back builder that is best performed in ipsilateral fashion.

Lateral raises are almost always done one arm at a time if the bodybuilder uses a cable of low pulley apparatus. Usually, this is more concentrated than the two-armed version, but try it with a machine or a dumbbell.

Ipsilateral biceps and triceps movements are often done with dumbbells, but you can also try them on a wide variety of machines that are available. In fact, doing one-armed biceps movements on a machine that was designed to accommodate both arms at the same time adds a dimension to the exercise that has to be experienced to be appreciated. We employ this one-armed variation when a trainee is lagging in either progress or enthusiasm. The exercise is tougher, requires more concentration and is perhaps more challenging.

Switching exercises every four to six weeks for the sake of "muscle confusion" is a much-ballyhooed topic in the bodybuilding journals today. However, instead of changing routines every time a new muscle-building publication hits the newsstand, stay with the basics, but incorporate variety and renewed intensity with new wrinkles like one-armed movements.

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epdavis7

sgb2112 wrote:
Ipsilateral Intensification
by Ken Leistner (1987)

Positive training effect -- defined by most bodybuilders and powerlifters as an increase in muscle tissue size and strength -- comes as a result of many factors. The most obvious and important variable is still the actual training one does to stimulate gains.

Of course, in bodybuilding circles the virtues of nutrition are also extolled in the same breath. Nevertheless, despite the proliferation of commercially biased literature, nutrition is a very distant second to one's actual work in the gym. Granted, one can certainly "eat" his way out of a major title by not controlling his caloric consumption or eating in a way that causes significant nutritional inadequacies and/or fluid imbalances.

However, I have yet to see any major powerlifting or physique title bestowed upon a man or woman who did not train, despite utilizing sound nutritional concepts. And for every bodybuilder who eats inadequately, there are scads who eat correctly, yet comparatively few ever grace the winner's podium. Therefore, it should be obvious that nutrition is not, and has never been. "85% of the battle" for muscle-building success.

Let's face a very sobering fact -- the vast majority of bodybuilders eat and train alike, but there are only a handful of outstanding physiques. Similarly, the majority of powerlifters eat and train along the same lines. Yet, year in and year out the top competitors in each weight class are very often the same men and women. In actuality, proper, productive training, which will stimulate maximal gains in accordance with one's genetic limitations, is responsible for one's success (or lack of it) in the lifting and physique worlds -- with nutrition giving one the energy to train vigorously and recuperate fully from that training.

As I've stated so many times, hard training has nothing to do with the volume of a training session, workout frequency, the length of a particular workout or the number of repetitions performed in a set. Rather, it's a function of one's willingness to execute each and every set of each and every workout to the fullest of his capabilities -- pushing against the barbell, dumbbell or machine handles until the resistance will not move.

Plain and simple, what I'm talking about is intensity, and you should always be looking for ways to increase this factor. One manner in which we infuse variety and added intensity into our workouts is through ipsilateral (one-limb) training. It's very difficult, although I believe almost everyone can benefit from it. Above all, bear in mind that this technique must be approached in a careful manner owing to the fact that it can only be done productively for a few weeks at a time . . . or when used intermittently, yet infrequently, as part of one's regular weight training program.

There are training machines which I like and others which I do not. In order for one to justify the use of any machine, it must offer advantages that are not available from a barbell or dumbbells. However, some machines allow one to train in a safer and/or more effective manner, and those which permit the training of one limb at a time offer an advantage. Furthermore, using dumbbells one arm at a time works very well for some movements. However, there are many exercises that can be done with greater intensity when done ipsilaterally. Actually, the movement becomes harder and, in many cases, more uncomfortable. this should not be seen as a negative.

As long as it does not signal endangerment of a joint or soft tissue structure, a bit of discomfort forces the trainee to concentrate more completely on the movement. And when all properly performed strength training is done in a controlled and careful manner, one-limbed training must be executed with tremendous control and concentration to avoid injury and to realize increases in the muscle-stimulating effect.

For the lower extremity, let extensions and leg curls are often done one leg at a time, especially for the purposes of injury rehabilitation. However, working with maximal weights for whatever the recommended number of repetitions in the leg curl and extension significantly boosts the intensity of these movements.

Moreover, we have received great results from ipsilateral leg presses, particularly when done in a "negative only" fashion. There are a number of leg press machines that lend themselves to this movement, and some which do not. Above all, be careful to maintain control because heavy weights can and should be utilized.

If one can follow this with one-legged squats -- and I do believe that doing so will prove to be too much work for most -- plan on shuffling your feet for a few days because the ensuing muscle soreness will prevent normal ambulation for two or three days.

The Nautilus Leverage Bench Press, Incline or Double Press machine, as well as the Schnell Standing Bench Press unit, are excellent for one-limb pressing movements. Of course, one can do one-armed dumbbell presses, being careful to support or otherwise balance the body during the exercise so that excessive backward or lateral bending is avoided. Eight or 10 slow and steady reps, done with the palm facing the side of the face, is an underutilized exercise which was very common in the "old days."

The Schell Standing Bench Press offers an incredible range of motion in comfort, allowing the trainee to concentrate fully on the movement. We have also found that the Nautilus Leverage Dip machine allows for the practice of one-armed dips . . . which have to be tried to be appreciated. However, I would not recommend one-arm dumbbell bench presses as they are dangerous due to the difficulty in balancing the body properly on the bench during the movement. Any "false movement" with a heavy weight can result in a torn pectoral muscle or injury to the shoulder region.

In training the upper back we have always relied on one-armed dumbbell rows over the standard barbell version due to the greater margin of safety offered, increased range of motion and degree of comfort the dumbbell movement offers relative to the barbell exercise. Of course, one-arm chins are an impossibility for most trainees. But doing a regular two-armed chin in a positive (up) manner and then lowering the body on the strength of one arm can be done by many . . . and for more reps than you would think. One good set done in this style will provide excellent stimulation for the latissimus, forearm flexors and biceps structures. And prone rows -- done with a dumbbell in one hand at a time while lying face down on an elevated bench -- is another effective upper back builder that is best performed in ipsilateral fashion.

Lateral raises are almost always done one arm at a time if the bodybuilder uses a cable of low pulley apparatus. Usually, this is more concentrated than the two-armed version, but try it with a machine or a dumbbell.

Ipsilateral biceps and triceps movements are often done with dumbbells, but you can also try them on a wide variety of machines that are available. In fact, doing one-armed biceps movements on a machine that was designed to accommodate both arms at the same time adds a dimension to the exercise that has to be experienced to be appreciated. We employ this one-armed variation when a trainee is lagging in either progress or enthusiasm. The exercise is tougher, requires more concentration and is perhaps more challenging.

Switching exercises every four to six weeks for the sake of "muscle confusion" is a much-ballyhooed topic in the bodybuilding journals today. However, instead of changing routines every time a new muscle-building publication hits the newsstand, stay with the basics, but incorporate variety and renewed intensity with new wrinkles like one-armed movements.



I rarely ever change the exercises I use for various reasons to include equipment limitations, past injuries,and what exercises I feel give me the most bang for my buck for the non-resistance activities I enjoy, but what I will do from time to time is change things such as shorter TUL, longer TUL, 10/10, 3/3, add in a rest pause rep here and there, straight failure, change the order of the exercises to emphasize different muscle groups etc. Over time your body adapts to a protocol and gets stagnant. Every 3-4 months works for me. Its also mentally refreshing to do something different periodically. The exercises don't change, just how I do them.
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Crotalus

Yeah, that is a typical, no bullshit article by Dr. Ken.

I remember he always said the only variation needed in your workouts was rep numbers ; sometimes lower and sometimes higher but the same handful of basic exercises would serve you as long as you trained.

Early on I agreed with anything he said just because he said it but many, many years later I came to disagree with some things he said and customized them to suit my own goals, but always sticking with his philosophy of training as hard as possible.

Though he hadn't written anything in a long time that I know of, just the thought that he's gone and we'll never hear anything from him again is still hard to swallow.

One of the first articles I ever came across of his was in Muscular Development magazine in Oct.1987 titled '50% SETS'. That method became one of the best things I ever tried and I still have the original article that I cut out out the magazine.

Another article of his I read early on in my HIT education was in Iron Man Magazine and was titled ' The Look of Power ' , which also appeared in his Steel Tip news letter.

I remember seeing that article in the summertime and it looked so hard I thought I'd wait until the cooler fall weather to tackle it. I think in October of that year I gave it a shot and was only able to get to the fourth exercise and couldn't continue. I had to throw in the towel that day and lay down on the tile floor to avoid throwing up, LOL.

That was my first step into another dimension of what really training hard was compared to what I had been doing. I remember waking up about a half hour later and said to myself " Holy Fuck ... so THIS is what training hard is ... "

I really hate the thought of Dr. Ken not being around anymore , a very inspirational teacher in my training education

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too old

Bought a piece of equipment several years ago , it came with Milo magazine. There was an article by Dr Ken on training. He still was talking about his low volume, high effort methods. Said they will build size/strength, but are very hard to do. He did say that not everyone can do them.
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