Reads: The Development of Muscular Bulk And Power

I like to pretend I’m old school. I probably never truly was, but I get to be more convincing with the mentality as I become, well, old. Within the strength world, I was lucky in the fact I got in with an old school powerlifting team early in my training journey. I didn’t waste too much time plowing through poor programs in Muscle & Fiction and Flex. At least, not until college and even then I knew they were bullshit and was doing them with full awareness of what they were.

The kind of stuff we did in high school was very similar to what I see Zach Even-Esh preaching these days. For years now, I have enjoyed watching, reading and listening to Zach grind away. And trust me, he grinds. And he does it with an undying passion.

So, when I saw Zach post in Instagram some months back he was reading a short book by Anthony Ditillo, I ordered it. Anthony wrote for Iron Magazine back in the 60s and 70s. He was old school strength.

Anthony Ditillo

I have a collection of old strength magazines in my basement gym. I enjoy reading the old stuff, seeing what has held the test of time, and what seemed sane at the time that no longer holds true. With that in mind, I always take notes when I read. I won’t do a full review here, but I will share my notes, which includes a ton of routines at the end. Most are pretty basic and straight forward. One could do worse.

I had planned on selling this on Amazon after I was done. Copies still sell for $40-$50. I think I will keep it in the gym library for a while first however.

The Development of Muscular Bulk and Power

By Anthony Ditillo


Chapter 1–Training Motivations, Why Do You Seek Greater Bulk and Power

Like most youths, started in bodybuilding. Realized he looked better, wasn’t’ much stronger, after a training accident. Started following Paul Anderson and Doug Hepburn. Bodybuilders carry their tools with them, their outward physiques are the reward. Positive feedback helps to stoke the fire. Weightlifters can claim to be Olympic sport competitors. Explores the difference between the three. “You know what to do, the road is quite clear. You must full dedicate yourself to obtain those most sought after dreams. Such thoughts must always be in the back of your mind. Without such an intensive attitude , you most assuredly will not make it.”–”One of the most important things a trainee can learn is that we must work with what we have, not what we imagine ourselves to own or that which we well we shall indeed possess at some later time.” Brief discussion on lever types lending to certain lifts. Great emotional healing is possible through the use of properly performed athletics. Dives into the purpose of altruism ultimately being a selfish endeavor, for self-satisfaction. Embrace that knowledge. The greatest enjoyment is in the striving for goals. Find satisfaction in fighting to overcome the shortcomings. Naturals get bored. “For in you initial shortcomings will lie your hope for future greatness, which if you do not even nearly attain, the road was hard and weary, but the journey was sublime.” 

Chapter 2–Theoretical Application, Bodily Strength: An Athletic Necessity

“One cannot justifiably claim himself to be an athletic person, in the true sense of the word, if he does not possess above average strength.”  Demands extreme discipline to be a true athlete. “Only true joy for this type of fellow is the achievement of his training desires.”  Given two men of equal technique, the stronger one will win. Many sports looked down on strength training for years. Wilt Chamberlain claimed to press close to 400 pounds. Heavy training does not allow for weak areas the way isolation movements can. Not much science. Speaking more from N=1, anecdotal evidence. Keeps referring to bodybuilding muscles as “stuffed but not real”. “Without the proper training routine and diet, you are working for a goal with both hands tied behind your back and both eyes blindfolded. In short you are leaving yourself blind, completely defenseless to any of the training pitfalls and disappointments which may be coming your way.”  “It is your responsibility to seek the proper training information  and also it is your responsibility to push such correct training information into practice.” Talks about why generalizing body types does not work, but then dives into generalizing about the type of person who trains alone vs. the person who trains in a gym. Suffered a lower back injury on deadlifts and somehow deduced it was overtraining. Took a week off to “store up nervous energy.” Megadosed Vitamin C to overcome overtraining? Basically learned the value of a deload week, even if some assumptions may have been sketchy. Look at total tonnage of a workout (CNS overload). 

Chapter 3–Nutrition

Supplementation? Covers the poor diet habits of the poor. Even in 1971, he recognized that sugar in the diet led to fat. Even recognizes cereals and bread crumbs have little nutritional value. Acknowledges that good food is the best source, but supplementation can be cheaper as a fill-in. “For no matter how potent a supplement is, there is no replacement for good, natural food.” Supplements were protein powder and multivitamins. We are potters and our bodies are masses of clay. “We cannot be satisfied with being just a little more healthy than the average man. No, we have in our mind’s eye a higher, more elusive goal; we wish to be paragons of various physical virtues, be it body development, strength or power. Such goals are not simple nor do they become easy to decipher into an easy to perform plan…If you wish to gain properly you must eat properly.”  After talking of forgoing the healthy treats, admits he doesn’t follow his own advice strictly. Eat the foods you need before eating the foods you like. Eat to live, don’t live to eat. Carton of cigarettes was $4.50 when this was written. Not a fan of alcohol, for the economic reasons. His answer to affording a proper diet is forgoing the unnecessary. His cheap diet items: powdered skim milk and eggs. Chicken and livers cheapest of the meats. Swiss cheese. Tuna. Canned corn and peas. Bananas and tomatoes. Supplements: Kelp, brewer’s yeast and multi-vitamin. Discussing anabolic steroids–does not like the look or think they are worth the risk. Prefers useful look of: John Grimek, Melvin Wells, Maurice Jones, Bobby Pandour, Siegmund Klein, Arthur Saxon and George Hackenshmidt. He tried dianabol for 21 days. 

Chapter 4–Dietary Advice, The Need For a Sound, Basic Diet

An athlete without proper nutrition is like a one-legged man climbing a mountain. The cards are stacked against him. “Many of us men are conscientiously, premeditatively, slowly but surely killing ourselves. And this is due to our inability to allow ourselves to live. And what’s even more important is the fact that if the average man, the man on the street, cannot make it in this dog-eat-dog world we men have built up; if you cannot survive without proper health habits and a sound diet, then how can we athletes, who constantly push ourselves to the utmost physical limits within our power, even hope to make it in this world of ours without caring how well we eat and how, in general our bodies are functioning?” “You are trying to force your body to do unnatural things. Your body was not constructed to push hundreds of pounds around in the air, nor was it meant to pick up even heavier weights off the floor. No, you and you alone are responsible for developing this amazing ability.” 

A person without spunk and a great deal of self-pride will not be able to continue to deny himself the initial though worthless pleasure of life for too long a period of time. You see, in this crazy mixed-up world of ours, people are constantly looking for little pleasures, the ones they can have at their grasp quite easily in almost any time. Through the use of these trite joys of life they subconsciously hope to find relief from that constant gnawing in the pit of their stomach, a gnawing which is trying to tell them something, something which they do not wish to hear. A tiny little voice, echoing in the deep, dank darkness, calling out continuously; the stifled voice of life. For to be physically dead means you were only half alive. You still have your emotional and spiritual life within you. But when you neglect your physical well-being completely and wantonly, it does not take long for your emotional and spiritual level of existence to decay as well. You see, as I have said before, your entire mental, emotional and physical powers must work together in order for you to be at your most creative pitch. And when you attempt something as intricate and involved as the changing of your physical structure through exercise, the support of the mental and spiritual forces within yourself will mean quite a lot. And since the kind of food you eat determines how you feel, completely, mentally and physically, it should be relatively easy for you to understand the importance of eating for health and pleasure at the same time, but not allowing the pleasurable aspects of eating override it’s healthful benefits. 

Have a protein with every meal. Careful with carbs. Very much in the “earn your carbs” camp. Understood the difference between dietary fat and body fat. 

Chapter 5–Basic Training Principles

Power training should help you develop the tenacity to keep fighting. Favor the complex movements over isolation movements. Most are fine on the beaten path in regards to exercise selection. All you need to succeed is self confidence and hard work. 

Squatting movements–full squat, half squat, bench squat, bottom squat  (suspended). 

Presses–Bench, incline, decline, seated press, standing press, dip, behind the neck press.

Pulls–Deadlift, rack pull, deadlift on bench, bent-over row, chinup.

His program set-up at time of writing:

Monday–Bench, bent-over row, full squat

Tuesday–Seated press, curl, half squat

Wednesday–rest day

Thursday–floor press, bent over row, deadlift

Friday–Seated half press, curl, high deadlift

1×5 of 50% 1RM, 5-7 singles at 90%, and max reps at 75%. 

Feels 5×5 is too  much volume. 

“No training program will work for you if you do not work.”

Believed in avoiding isolation movements, too many training days, not a fan of super-sets. Preferred slow movements. Even in 1971, he was using chains as safety catches on squats. 

Chapter 6–Bulk Specialization

Leg and Back Bulking Routine

Monday–Full Squat (10×50%, 1 x Max Reps 75%, 3 x Max Reps x 90%), 

Bent Legged Deadlift (10×50%, 1 x Max Reps 75%, 1 x Max Reps x 90%), 

Bent Over Rowing (10×50%, 3x Max Reps x 75%)

Tuesday–Bench Press, Seated Press, Seated Curl (5×5 on all lifts)

Thursday–Half Squat (10xFull Squat 1RM, 5x3RM, 

High Deadlift (10x 1RM of full deadlift, 5x3RM), 

Shoulder Shrug (10 x 50%, 3 x 75% x Max Reps)

Friday–Bench Press, Seated Press, Seated Curl (5×5 on all lifts)

Chest Specialization Routine No. 1

Performed Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays

Bench 5×5-7

Heavy Flat Bench Flyes 5×5-7

Full Squats 3×10-12

Bent Over Rows 3×5-7

Heavy Barbell Curl 3×5-7

Chest Specialization Routine No. 2

Mondays & Thursdays

Incline Barbell Press 5×5-7

Incline Flying Motion 5×5-7

Heavy Bent Over Rows 3x-5-7

Tuesdays & Fridays

Full Squat 5×10-12

Light Pullovers 5×10-12

Clean & Press 5×10-12

Chest Specialization Routine No. 3

Mondays & Thursdays

Full Squat alternated with Light BB Pullovers 5×10-12

Heavy Bent Arm Pullover 5×5-7

Heavy Deadlifts 5×10-12

Seated Press 3×5-7

Seated Curls 3×5-7

Tuesdays & Fridays

Bench Press 5×5-7

Parallel Bar Dips with weight 5×5-7

Shoulder Specialization Routine No. 1

Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays

Press Behind Neck seated or standing 5×5-7

Bench wide grip 5×5-7

Bent Over Rowing wide grip 5×5-7

Full Squat 3×10-12

Barbell Curls 3×5-7

Shoulder Specialization Routine No. 2

Mondays and Thursdays

Press off the rack 5×5

Upright Row 5×5

Bent Over Row palms up 5×5

Seated Barbell Curl 3×8-10

Tuesdays & Fridays

Bench 3×5-7

Full Squat 3×10-12

Heavy Deadlift 3×5-7

Shoulder Shrugs 3×5-7

Shoulder Specialization Routine No. 3

Mondays & Thursdays

Alternate Dumbbell Presses 5×5-7

Wide Grip Press Behind Neck Standing 5×5-7

Incline Dumbbell Press 5×5-7

Alternate Dumbbell Curls 5×5-7

Tuesdays & Fridays

Full Squat 5×5-7

Deadlifts 5×5-7

Bench 5×5-7

Bent Over Rowing 5×5-7

Arm training is for the ego. 

Arm Specialization Routine No. 1

Monday, Wednesday, Friday

Full Squat 5×10-12

Bench 5×5-7

Deadlift 5×3

Standing Barbell Curl 5×5-7

Parallel Bar Dips 5×5-7

Reverse Curls 3×5-7

Arm Specialization Routine No. 2

Monday & Thursday

Close Grip Bench 5×5-7

Bent Over Row 5×5-7

Seated Press 5×5-7

Alternate DB Curl 5×5-7

Tricep Pushdowns on Lat Machine 5×5-7

Palms Up Wrist Curls 5x-8-10

Tuesday & Friday

Full Squat 5x-8-10

Deadlift 5×5-7

Arm Specialization Routine No. 3

Monday & Thursday

Barbell Curl 5x-5-7

Parallel Bar Dips 5×5-7

Shoulder Shrug 5×8-10

Press Behind The Neck 5×8-10

Reverse Curls 5×8-10

Tuesday & Friday

Full Squat 3×8-10

Bench 3×8-10

Chapter 7–Various Bulk and Power Routines

Power rack routines use the safety pins in a power rack to start in different positions, he usually 3, low or bottom (near full range of motion), mid (half range) and high (last few inches). Where Anthony was recommending 2 minutes rest in chapter six, he recommends 3 minutes rest between sets in the power rack routines. 

Power Rack Routine No. 1

Monday, Wednesday and Friday

Full Squat 5×3-5

Deadlift from bottom position 5×3-5

Bench Press from bottom position 5×3-5

Seated Press from bottom position 5×3-5

Bent Over Row 5×3-5

Power Rack Routine No. 2


Squat, low position 5×3-5

Deadlift, low position 5×3-5

Bench, low position, 5×3-5


Squat, middle position 5×3-5

Deadlifts, middle position 5×3-5

Bench, middle position 5×3-5


Squat, top position 5×3-5

Deadlift, top position 5×3-5

Bench, top position 5×3-5

Power Rack Routine No. 3

Monday and Thursday

Squat, all 3 positions, 1×3-5 in each position

Deadlift, all 3 positions, 1×3-5 in each position

Bent-Over Row, all 3 positions 1×3-5 in each position

Tuesday and Friday

Bench, all 3 positions 1×3-5

Seated Press, all 3 positions 1×3-5

Upright Row, all 3 positions 1×3-5

One-Lift Specializations–6-8 weeks is a long enough cycle. Select the weakest lift and focus on it first. Any lift specialization can be substituted.

One Lift Specialization No. 1

Monday–Full Squat 2-3 sets of 20 reps

Wednesday–Full Squat 5×3

Friday–Half Squat 1x5x50%, 10x1x90%

One Lift Specialization No. 2

Monday & Thursday

Bench 5×5-7

Slight Incline Bench 5×8-10

Tuesday & Friday

Bench 5×3-5

Slight Incline Bench 10×1

One Lift Specialization No. 3


Full Squat 1×5, 10×1

Full Squat 5×5-7


Bench 1×5, 10×1

Bench 5×5-7


Deadlift 1×5, 10×1

Deadlift 5×5-7


Seated Press 1×5, 10×1

Seated Press 5×5-7

One Lift Specialization No. 4


Squat 1×5, 10×1

Squat 5×5-7

Squat 5×3-5 using half squat in power rack


Bench 1×5, 10×1

Bench 5×5-7

Bench 5×3 using middle pin press

One Lift Specialization No. 5


Bench 5×5-7

Seated Press 5×5-7

Lying Tricep Press 5×5-7

Squat 5×5-7


Deadlift 5×5-7

Bent Over Row 5×5-7

Curls 5-x5-7

Power Cleans 5×5-7

You are your best trainer.

Bulk & Power Routine No. 1

Monday, Wednesday, Friday

Bench 5×2-4

Bench 2×10

Squat 5×2-4

Squat 2×10

Deadlift 5×2-4

Deadlift 2×10

Power & Bulk Routine No. 2


Bench 5×3-5

Incline Press 5×3-5


Bent Over Rows 5×3-5

Hang Cleans 5×3-5


Squat 10x1x90%

Deadlifts 10x1x90%

Power & Bulk Routine No. 3


Full Squat 1×20 using a weight 50# over bodyweight

Deadlift 1×20 using a weight 50# over bodyweight

Heavy Bent Arm Pullover 5×5-7


Full Squat 5×5-7

Deadlifts 5×5-7

Bench 10x1x90%


Half Squat 5×3-5

High Deadlift 5×3-5

Seated Press 10x1x90%

Bulk & Power Routine No. 4

Monday & Thursday

Bench 10×3

Bent Over Row 10×3

Full Squat 10×3

Tuesday & Friday

Incline Press 5×5-7

Deadlift 5×5-7

Half Squat 5×5-7

Bulk & Power Routine No. 5


Full Squat 10×3

Parallel Bar Dips 5×5-7

Weighted Chins 5×5-7


Deadlifts 10×3

Bent Arm Flyes 5×5-7

Barbell Curls 5×5-7


Bench Press 10×3

Half Squat 5×5-7

Top Deadlift 5×5-7

Bulk & Power Routine No. 6


Bench 5x1x90%

Floor Press 5x1x90%

Deadlift 5x1x90%

High Deadlift 5x1x90%


Seated Press 5x1x90%

Half Press 5x1x90%

Squat 5x1x90%

Half Squat 5x1x90%


Bench 5x-5-7

Deadlift 5×5-7

Curls 5×5-7


Seated Press 5×5-7

Squat 5×5-7

Rowing 5×5-7

Routine 6 is his favorite for building bulk and power simultaneously. 

Update 9/13/20? Just found Zach Even-Esch’s video review of this book.


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