The Steel Tip Collection Book Review
By Anthony Ricciuto
Hey Folks I have a really good review for you this month and I am sure just about all of you reading this will be interested in this one. I recently got in one of the best collections of strength information all in one spot. Now for those of you who have been a long time reader of Powerlifting USA like I have, then you will remember the name of Dr. Ken Leistner. He used to have a monthly column in PL USA that spanned all the way back from 1979 up until 2000. Dr. Ken is a Chiropractor and strength coach extraordinaire and his successful career as a writer and strength consultant has spanned over 4 decades literally. I have always been a fan of Dr. Ken’s writings as far back as I can remember. He has written for numerous other publications including Hardgainer magazine, Milo from Ironmind, and others. Now getting back to the purpose of the review is that one of the best sources of information written by Dr. Ken was his Steel Tip Newsletter. Ken and his wife Kathy put this amazing newsletter together in 1985 and published an astonishing 36 issues. Now if you are like me and like hardcore strength info you will absolutely love this newsletter. I had some old copies of it but I never ended up getting the entire collection. I would scour over each issue and read each one half a dozen times trying to take out as much good info from it as I could. Now, much to my surprise John Wood from Oldtimestrongman.com in conjunction with Dr. Ken published all 36 hard to find issues now in a book called the Steel Tip Collection. When I saw that this was out I had to get my hands on a copy as fast as I could. So I ordered one and I was counting the days until it reached my doorstep.
Dr. Ken with Lyle Alzado on the Cover of PL USA
A Gold Mine of Strength Information
Now just to give you some insight into the Steel Tip collection, you are looking at over 330 pages of some of the highest quality info you will find anywhere. Dr. Ken discusses numerous topics including strength training, recovery methods, injuries, nutrition, supplementation, and much more. There is so much information in this collection that I am telling you that you will need to go over the content more than once to fully absorb all the valuable information that it contains. One thing that I like about this newsletter is Dr. Ken’s unique writing style. When I read his newsletter it’s written with a style that grabs your attention as if he is right there speaking with you explaining the reasoning behind his theories and methodology. Dr. Ken is a big supporter of HIT style training and his ideas and theories have been grinding out world-class athletes for over 40 years. Dr. Ken didn’t just talk the talk he also walked the walk not only with the athletes he personally trained but with himself as well. Back in 1992, Dr. Ken founded the Iron Island Gym with Ralph Raiola in Long Island New York. For those of you who were around when he was there, you will know that it truly was a one of a kind gym with an atmosphere second to none. If you were looking to get bigger, stronger, or faster, Iron Island Gym was the place to be that way if you had the guts to take the punishment of his hardcore training style. One of his students was a world-class Powerlifter, Joey Almodovar. He was featured on the March 1997 cover of Powerlifting USA doing a trap bar Deadlift. Joey was one of the best lifters to come out of Iron Island Gym and he hit some amazing numbers at 165. He was always ripped to the bone and looked like he had fewer than 8% body fat year-round. Dr. Ken was no slouch himself when it came to training like an animal. Dr. Ken was known for his intense training style that would bury guys half his age. I once saw a video of Dr. Ken squatting 415 pounds for 23 reps. Yea and what was astonishing about this was the fact that he only weighed 165 pounds at the time, he was completely raw not even a belt, and his depth was rock bottom Olympic style squats. If you look at all the variables here that were an amazing feat and I believe he did this over the age of 40 too. Actually, I saw the PG-rated version of the video as the constant bleeping was I guess to block out all the profanity. All I can say is that I love it, and anyone who has a computer should look it up as you can find it online. So as you can see Dr. Ken was not just a writer and coach but he also spent his time in the trenches too against the cold hard steel which makes him a true strength legend in more ways than one.
Dr. Ken took Strength Training to a New Level!
An Educator and Innovator in Strength
Now let’s get back to some info about the Steel Tip Collection. Now one of the things that I really like about this book is the fact that the information present in it is as true today as it was 25 plus years ago. One thing I like about this collection is that Dr. Ken includes numerous different training programs that you can put to use. There are ones to help improve your deadlift, bench press specialization programs, offseason football programs, and much more. Now for those of you who might be unaware Dr. Ken was discussing the benefits of Kettlebell training way back in the early 1980s to improve strength for Powerlifting. I know in recent years this has come around again full circle but we should note that he was an instrumental factor in helping introduce this to our sport. He also played a major role in implementing trap bar training as well as the safety squat apparatus into the sport. Dr. Ken was critical for bringing many new training ideas as well as training equipment to fruition that would help us even decades later. One of those inventions is Dr. Ken’s Original Log Bar which you can still buy through Functionalhandstrength.com. So as you can see Dr. Ken has contributed to Powerlifting and all strength sports through many of his unique strength philosophies and innovative training ideas that today we simply take for granted.
Dr. Ken was Known for his Brute Strength even into his 60’s
My Favorite Sections
Now trying to cover all my favorite sections of the newsletter would be hard simply because there is so much good info present through the pages of this book. Now I want to highlight some of the more important areas just to give you a taste of what this jackpot of strength knowledge has to offer. Dr. Ken discussed many times about the importance of grip training throughout his columns and gives some really good tips on improving this area. Today you see little information written in this regard and that is a shame. Since Dr. Ken is a Doctor of Chiropractor he offered plenty of good advice in regards to injuries especially to the spinal column and nerve impingement which are worth their weight in gold. He discusses different injuries and how to avoid them in the first place. Dr. Ken was also a proponent of drug-free training and didn’t shy away from the topics of drugs in sports. In the newsletter, he covers his opinions on steroid use and abuse as well as the ever-increasing use of other pharmaceuticals making their way into strength sports. Considering this was back in the 1980’s Dr. Ken’s insight was very interesting and even how they relate to present-day pharmaceutical enhancement in the current age. Dr. Ken also covered many times about the mental aspect of training as well because he believed this played a vital role in the success of any athlete. Dr. Ken also didn’t forget about the nutrition and supplement end of things either. He covered many topics from Vitamin C to protein intake for athletes. These are just a few of the many things discussed throughout the book that has made this collection of information one of the best in strength history
Dr. Ken was Innovative and always Cutting Edge
Get Your Hands on a Copy
All I can say is that there are so many excellent topics covered in this book I can guarantee you will take plenty of valuable information from it time and time again. One last thing that I really enjoyed about this book was his “Looking Back” section after every issue. Here Dr. Ken recently covered and gave some updated input on his writing to help further explain his theories or how they relate in current times. This is a great addition to an already masterpiece of strength knowledge. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, it just did. Now for those of you who may want to get a copy of this book all I can say is that you will be very pleased to say the least. I have read mine over the cover to cover and I go back to it over and over because there is that much good info contained in the pages of this book. Now the only place you will be able to get your hands on a copy of this book is online at www.Oldtimestrongman.com. You can also order it by phone at 1-800-978-0206. You can email John Wood at info @oldtimestrongman.com as well if you have any questions or would like to order it online. So take it from me if you are looking for a true blast from the past that will without a doubt add pounds to your total then get your hands on a copy of Dr. Ken’s Steel Tip Collection because you will be glad you did!