Strength & Health, Page 26, May 1969


By Don Reed

It is rare to find an individual with the strength of mind and determination to do well in everything he tries. James Morris is just such a man. At the age of 32, when most bodybuilders are taking it easy and letting that washboard midsection soften up a little, Jim is fast becoming one of America's top physique threats. Add to this a solid record as a competitive lifter, a congenial personality and a steel-trap mind and you can seethat Jim Morris is a unique individual.

Jim's interest in the weight world began some 13 years ago, when he was dragged into a localYMCA by an enthusiastic friend. Once he saw the big ironplates, Jim was hooked. But, and this is where he differs frofu most beginning bodybuilders, Jim did not begin training right away. He spent the rest of the summer researching weightlifting and bodybuilding. Almost locked up in the library all that long, muggy Summer, Jim put himself through an intensive cram course on biology, anatomy, nutrition, kinesiology and every related subject he could think of. He read andre-read all the old S&H magazines he could get his hands on. And he began to formulate his own program.

His first workout, based on the assumption that he could start right off with the "big guys", consisted of 22 exercises and took him six full hours to complete! Needless to say, there was a little revision done to that program. After the necessary changes had been made. Jim settled down to gain weight. He did. Three months later he had gained some thirty pounds of muscular bodyweight. This success is typical of Jim's attitude toward life. He wanted something,and he went at it wholeheartedly, with no looking back. He promised himself that by Thanksgiving he would be weighing 180, and by Thanksgiving he weighed 100. His mental approach was so strong that obstacles were never allowed to get in his way. Sticking points were just signs to change his routine.

Jim became an instructor at the YMCA and in 1959 formed a weightlifting team with such notables as Gary Hanson, Bill Kowaloff, Victor Schreiner, Leston Sprauve, and Joe Saguto. Everyone was young And interested, but somehow the team just couldn't get started. Prospects seemed bad until a little mAn with a thick Hungarian accent walked into the gym and said, "Morris Weissbrot sent me." This was Sandor Gere, and under his tutelage the New York Weightlifting Club became one of the most respected clubs in weightlifting. With such a trainer, Jim set aside his bodybuilding goals, and worked at becoming an Olympic lifter. With the same singlemindedness that he had earlier displayed, he worked on the explosive techniques of the Olympic three. The quick lifts soon became his forte and he became a solid snatcher. In fact, at his last contest as a light-heavy, he snatched 280. He also pressed 260 and clean and jerked 335. (Jim has also done some very good powerlifting and has done a 405 bench press, 550 squat and 600 deadlift.)

Uncle Sam showed signs of interest in the powerful New Yorker, however, and Jim's lifting career was cut short. He joined the Air Force and was sent to Anchorage, Alaska. Naturally one of the first things Jim did was check out the Field House, but the cupboard was definitely bare. There was not a weight in the place. Somewhat disheartened, be wrote to Rudy Sablo, who mentioned his plight to Bob Hoffman. Unlike many people, who would have just said, "too bad", and then forgotten about it, Bob took it up with a Major Kern, then the Air Force representative to the AAU. Military wheels began to grind and a few months later the Personnel Officer gave Jim a free hand for gym equipment. As can be imagined, the gym is now very well equipped. Ironically, Jim only got to use the new weights for a month before being shipped out. Upon discharge, he joined the Air National Guard and is now a staff sergeant at Floyd Bennett Air Field in Brooklyn.

Anyone who talks to James Morris for very long realizes he is in the presence of a first-class intellect. The basic material for this high level of intelligence Jim was born with, but he has worked hard to fulfill his potential. Upon his return from the Service, Jim went back to scbool and received an Associate Degree from Pratt University. He went to work as an architectural designer for a major corporation, but he had not been there for too many months when he realized that he was not happy there. While his work was intellectually stimulating, he felt that he should be of more service to his fellow man. He got a job as a fireman and has been happily risking his life for his community ever since. The job carried an unexpected bonus as Jim's captain, George Schumacher, is a bodybuilder and the two set up a weight room in the firehouse. Captain Schumacher is also very understanding in adjusting Jim's work schedule to allow time for entering physique competition.

This competition has been extremely successful and Jim has annexed such titles as: Junior Mr. United States, Mr. New York State, Mr. Atlantic Coast, Mr. Region 1, Mr. Eastern Shores and many others. Jim placed 7th in the 1967 Junior Mr. America Contest, and captured 10th place in the 1968 Mr. America.

With the advent of Jim's national prestige, he is asked by beginners for advice quite often, and he has some sound advice for them: "Over the years I have watched hundreds of fellows come through the Y and the reason most them fail to get the development they want is not lack of enthusiasm or application, but because they do not do the exercises properly. They cheat, they strain at weights far in excess of their capacity, they try cramping, flushing, super-what-haveyou motions they saw in disreputable magazines, and they give up in disgust. The most important thing a beginner can do is find someone he can respect, and learn to do things the proper way. The old standards done in strict form will yield the most gains in the shortest time. Cheating on an exercise is only cheating on yourself. You have to make the muscle do the work; then it will grow."

Jim is currently training on a six day a week schedule and divides the work up as follows: (He gives a great deal of credit to Rudy Sablo for his technical bodybuilding advice.)

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

Situps alternated with leg raises, 10 X 20
Full Squats 6 X 8 up to 405, followed by bentarm
Pullovers 6 X 10 w/225
Hack Lifts 4 X 8 up to 300
Thigh Extensions 4 X 12 100
Wide and Medium Grip Pullups 3 X 12 w/35 dumbell
Close-grip Pullup to Waist 4 X 10
Wide-grip Barbell Rowing 4 X 9 205
Seated Press Behind Neck 4 X 8 up to 175
One-arm Dumbell Press 4 X 890
Laterals 4 X 12 40
Incline Laterals 4 X 12 35

Monday, Wednesday, Friday

Same as Tuesday
Bench Press 6 X 8 up to 345
Incline Barbell Press 4 X 8 up to 265
Incline Dumbell Press 4 X 8120 each
Tricep Extension on Decline with EZ Kurl Bar 4 X 16 alternated grip
Prone Tricep Extensions w/same weight (up to 135)
Standing Triceps Extensions w/special Bar 4 X 800
Lat Machine Pushdowns 6 X 8 125
Strict Barbell Curls 4 X 8 135
Preacher Bench Curls w/EZ Bar 4 X 8 130
Concentration Curls w/dumbell on Incline Bench 4 X 8 50

As a result of all this hard work, James Morris is now a respected and formidable opponent in any physique contest. Tall, broad-shouldered and extremely narrow waisted, yet with the depth of back that marks the possessor of real power, Jim typifies the "Ideal American" physique. Modest to the point of reserve, Jim seems mildly surprised that anyone would be interested in his accomplishments. One can be certain that his competitors are interested, or is concerned a better word?

Still to be typed in


- Grace, power, muscularity, symmetry: all these attributes combine to make the build of James Morris memorable. With continued drive and enthusiasm, James could become one of the all-time greats of the physique world.

- Wide Grip Chins; Lateral Raises; Press Behind the Neck.

- A straight Muscle Pose shows some of James' excellent "cuts".

- Thigh Extensions; Wide-Grip Bench Press.

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