Joseph Curtis Hise: A Pioneer in Strength and Innovation

Joseph Curtis Hise, often known as Joe Hise, made a lasting impact on the world of strength training through his pioneering approaches and remarkable achievements. Born near Montreal in 1908, Hise became a prominent figure in the strength community during the early 20th century.

Hise's journey into the spotlight began when Mark Berry profiled him in the August 1932 issue of Strength magazine. In a time when lifting 500 pounds was deemed ambitious, Hise confidently proclaimed that someday a weightlifter would clean and jerk 500 pounds. Although met with skepticism, Hise's prophecy came true in 1970 when Vassily Alexeev achieved the historic clean and jerk of 501.5 pounds in Columbus, Ohio.

During the early 1930s, Hise delved into barbell training, and his dedication quickly yielded remarkable results. His commitment to deep knee bends, inspired by Mark Berry's articles, led to a transformative increase in bodyweight, from 160 to 200 pounds. Hise's innovative training methods, including a combination of squats and deep knee bends, challenged conventional norms and caught the attention of the strength community.

As Hise continued experimenting with his training regimen, he achieved astounding results. Squatting with a straight 20 reps and meticulous training, he saw his bodyweight reach 298 pounds, with an arm measuring 19.5 inches, a chest of 56 inches, and thighs expanding to 33 inches. Hise's rapid transformation into a powerful and imposing figure made him the talk of the strength world.

Hise's influence extended beyond his personal achievements. His unique training methods attracted attention and curiosity, prompting lifters, including the legendary John Grimek, to visit and witness his unconventional yet effective approach to strength training. Grimek, after observing Hise's training in Homer, Illinois, noted Hise's agility despite his ponderous weight, highlighting the effectiveness of his system.

The impact of Joe Hise's contributions to strength training reverberates through the years. As the original power lifter, he stimulated the specialization of the squat, laying the groundwork for future generations of strength enthusiasts. Hise's legacy lives on through his incessant questioning, investigation, and unique philosophy that forever shaped the Iron Game. His experiences and teachings continue to inspire, emphasizing that true greatness lies in those who dare to question and innovate in the pursuit of strength.