Dr. Ken Leistner was simply known to many as “Dr. Ken.” He was a chiropractor (that’s where the “doctor” thing comes into play), and he was also a renowned expert in strength training, athleticism, and gym ownership.
Known for his intense training sessions, Dr. Ken supervised the training of athletes at every skill level, including high school, collegiate, professional, and Olympic record-holders. He served as a consultant to several university athletic programs and NFL coaching staffs in the areas of rehabilitation and strength enhancement.
Long before strength training was widely accepted or practiced in the athletic community Doc utilized what knowledge and equipment were available. He enhanced both with experimentation and iron working skills in order to compete as a collegiate athlete and power-lifter. In the late 1960s he installed one of the first comprehensive strength training programs on Long Island while coaching high school football and track and field.
He and his wife Kathy, a weight-trained Big Ten Conference multi-sport athlete, champion power-lifter and bodybuilder, and Taekwando Black Belt holder, founded the Iron Island Gym and operated it from 1992 through 1998. It became the premiere training site for serious, hardcore competitive, and recreational trainees. In the early 1970s he served the equipment industry in positions ranging from welder to prototype consultant for a number of major companies.
Training isn’t all Dr. Ken did. With well with over 1,100 published articles to his credit, in such publications as; Milo, Hard Gainer, The Steel Tip, Power-lifting USA and IronMan, and even a few text book contributions, and a couple of power-lifting federation rule-book revisions.
“We all train for our own reasons and if enjoyment is one of them and using equipment that is different, more challenging, fascinating, and inspiring to you makes each rep a bit ‘better’ then that’s what you should be using.”
- Dr. Ken
“It is not a call to lay down our arms. In fact, knowing that my potential for strength and muscular improvement is reduced with age, each workout reminds me that I have to in fact train harder than before, train harder than I think is possible, train with an intensity that perhaps I had been unable to summon previously. It's also a reminder, that while doing that, there is a real need to train smarter... while I'm trying to train harder.”
- Dr. Ken
TAKU’s NOTE: I was lucky enough to speak with Dr Ken a few times, and he was kind enough to allow me to share some of his writing here on our BLOG.