Home gym equipment has become more complex since the early 1940’s and 1950’s. Garages and basements are now filled with power racks, bumper plates, cable cross machines, etc. But in the 1940’s and 1950’s the popular in-home equipment was simple and focused on basic yet effective training.
The Big 12 Special from York Barbell had everything you needed for basic weight training. There was no need for unnecessary machines or benches, just simple weights. This set was made up of one five or six foot long bar, two short bars with collars and sleeves, several plate sizes, iron shoes and bars, kettlebell handles, wrist/grip/forearm developer, a head strap, and several training books filled with exercises. This 240lb set could be bought for just under $40. These days a home gym set can cost into the thousands of dollars. Simple and effective training was the name of the game in the 1940’s and 1950’s and the Big 12 Special provide all that was needed for a total body workout.
The Big 12 Special became a very popular set during its time. One person noted that “After three months of training I gained twenty-two pounds of body weight and nine inches in chest size”. The set had training books that were filled with exercises and tips on how to build muscle. The books provided insight into the double progressive, heavy and light training system. Pair those exercises with Bob Hoffman’s four dumbbell courses and the set became a game changer in the 40’s and 50’s. The courses were perfect for busy people. The exercises would take as little as five to ten minutes, three to four times per week. And the double progressive heavy and light training system provided a style of training that would increase strength rapidly. The busy home gym enthusiast was completed with this Big 12 Special, as it had all the equipment needed for rapid strength increases.