A natural, the “Iron Knight” is yet another Golden Era bodybuilder we pay homage to…

Chuck Sipes, “the Iron Knight” (1932-1993) is one of the nicest bodybuilders you’d want to know. He worked with the California Youth Authority for 20 years helping troubled kids. He made appearance at high schools and colleges word wide performing strength shows emulating his training partner Bill Pearl. He would blow up hot water bottles, bend iron bars, drive nails through two inch thick wooden planks and break chains. Like most bodybuilders from the pre-steroid era, Chuck preached “natural training.” In fact, it was the use of steroids that eventually made Snipes quit bodybuilding competitively.

In 1950, Chuck joined the United States Army as a paratrooper.  During a routine practice jump, his parachute failed to open and Chuck luckily got tangled up with another trooper, before free-falling around 70 feet to the ground.  He spent 4 months in the Hospital with severe head injuries.  The accident apparently triggered recurring epileptic seizures and may have contributed to the fits of depression Sipes experienced later in life.

At 5’9 and 220 pounds, 19 ½” arms, 50” chest, 32” waist, 25 1/2 “ thighs and 18”calves; Chuck had his own ideas on training which I think you’ll find very interesting.

The 4-21-16-4 Method is a “shock” technique, and only to be used once every two weeks at most, and not every workout.

4 Sets of barbell 21’s (7 reps using the bottom range of movement, 7 reps in the top, and 7 full reps) paired with 16 Sets of Cheat Curls

The whole workout would look like this:

Barbell Cheat Curl 4 Reps

Barbell Cheat Curl 4 Reps

Barbell Cheat Curl 4 Reps

Barbell Cheat Curl 4 Reps

Barbell 21s

Think that’s hard — hah Snipes would then repeat it three times!!

He liked to combine heavy lifts with lighter lifts in a super set:

Back Squat – 4 sets of 2

alternated with Leg Extension – 4 x 15

Standing Calf Raise – 4 sets of 2

alternated with Bodyweight Heel Raise – 4 x 20

 

Here’s another Snipes technique for body weight exercises:

1-10, 10-1

For Pull-ups or dips:

1 rep

2 reps

3 reps

4 reps

5 reps

6 reps

7 reps

8 reps

9 reps

10 reps

9 reps

8 reps

7 reps

6 reps

5 reps

4 reps

3 reps

2 reps

1 rep

If you get all the way to then end (10 reps) you just working back down from there. Only rest a few seconds in between sets. This intense training served him well. He was reported to have a lifted a 570 pound bench press, a 600 pound squat and a cheating barbell curl with 250 pounds!

Take a look at his bodybuilding stats:

1958 AAU Junior Mr. America 3rd

1958 AAU Mr. America             9th

1958 AAU Mr. Pacific Coast     2nd

1959 IFBB Mr. America             1st

1960 IFBB Universe                  Tall & Overall, 1st

1966 Mr. Olympia                     3rd

1967 Mr. Olympia               2nd

1967 WBBG Pro Mr. America   3rd

1968 IFBB Mr. World               Overall, 1st

1968 IFBB Mr. World                 Medium, 1st

1970 IFBB Universe              Medium, 2nd

1973 Mr. Pacific Coast                1st

 

The man who could inspire and heal others with his positive attitude was unable to help himself and at the age of 61 took his own life. Life is sometimes strange and poignant. We should remember all the positive and inspiring things this great man did for bodybuilding.