John Davis


Davis pressing.


Davis jerking.


In this age of sports superstars, it is hard to conceive of an athlete like John Davis. Davis was an American Olympic champion. A gold medalist in weightlifting in the 1948 and 1952 Games. He probably would have won the ’44 Games too, if they hadn’t been canceled due to World War Two. Among his many feats, he was the first lifter to jerk 400#, and this was at a bodyweight the hovered near 200#. Davis also competed before the squat clean and snatch had been invented, and the bar was not allowed to brush or touch the thigh on any lift.

Davis was self coached. No coach, no trainer, no nutritionist, no masseuse, no sycophants, no agents, no posse, no video analysis of his lifts. He trained alone in a church basement on an old standard weight bar without revolving sleeves. Imagine Davis training day in and day out, year after year (he won his first world title in 1938), alone, on a concrete floor, lifting near world record weights over his head with the most primitive of equipment.

I don’t know about you, but I think it’s pretty inspiring.

Here is a pretty interesting video of Davis clean and jerking the famed Apollon train axle and wheels. The wheels weigh 366#, but also have a diameter of nearly 2 inches (that’s about as thick as the sleeve on an Olympic).

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Find your highest box jump.



7 sets of 3

Do the Burgener warm up, demoed here.

Then 3 progressively heavier warm up sets and then 4 working sets with all the weight you can handle for 3 reps.

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