Category: Biographies

Joe Weider’s Weight Gain Contest (1955)

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In December of 1955, Joe Weider published the first issue of Junior Mr. America magazine. Aimed at teenagers and young men between the ages of 12 to 21, Junior Mr. America highlighted the importance of the younger community for bodybuilding entrepreneurs. Packed with training, dating and general life advice, the magazine was viewed by many teenagers as a godsend.

For Weider, the magazine was a chance to market his products to the highly enthusiastic and highly gullible. Something he did with gusto. Pictured above is the magazine’s first cover, featuring Clement Desjardins, the Jr. Mr. Canada of 1955. Aged just 18 years old, Desjardin had only taken up training two years previously at the behest of his friends. Beginning at just 125 lbs., Desjardin weighed 170 by the time he turned 18. Something which Weider attributed to Desjardin’s faithful following of the Weider training principals.

Now as part of the first issue (Dec 1955), Joe wrote an article that kicked off what he called a “Giant Weight Gaining Contest.” This contest would not take place within the confines of an arena but rather within Joe’s new publication.

The History of American Powerlifting

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Perhaps the most popular form of training for modern gym goers, powerlifting is nevertheless a relatively recent phenomena. Indeed, while bodybuilding and Olympic Weightlifting date to the start of the twentieth-century, it was not until the 1960s that the art of lifting incredibly heavy things was formally recognised.

Today’s article thus looks at the birth of American powerlifting, from it’s humble beginnings, past it’s first competitions and into the age of international contests. A story of strength, politics and fun.

Guest Post: Jon Pall Sigmarsson

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You can’t talk about great strongmen without mentioning Jon Pall Sigmarsson. He was a complete strength athlete. From competing in strongman, Highland Games, Powerlifting, Olympic Weightlifting, and even Bodybuilding, Jon Pall embodied his Icelandic Viking heritage in all that he did. It was the combination of his physical ability and larger-than-life personality that have left a legacy in the world of strength.

Steve Michalik’s Training Diary from 1968

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How bodybuilding champions train is an area of intense interest for muscle fanatics the world over. How many sets, how many reps and how intensely? What makes them great?

Seeking to satisfy demands, muscle magazines often publish polished workout routines written by the Champions. Yet nothing compares to the first article, making today’s post on Steve Michalik’s 1968 training diary just so fascinating. In it we see Steve’s hopes for the future regarding the stage and also his thoughts on training poundages an intensity. A gem of a find that I stumbled across on Dave Draper’s excellent bodybuilding website and forum.

You can check out the training diary below.

The Mr. USA Story Or How Steve Michalik Trained – 1972

 

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A bodybuilder known for the intensity of his workouts and dietary protocols, the late Steve Michalik was one of a kind. Capable of overcoming career ending injuries, training with a zen-like focus and pushing the boundaries of what bodybuilders ate, Michalik left no stone unturned in the pursuit muscle. 

Highlighting this is today’s post. An 1972 article published shortly after Steve’s victory in the 1972 Mr. America. Both a biography and training diary, the article is one part motivational story and one part training aid.

Enjoy!

Famous Bodybuilder Who Use Steroids

It can be a little surprising for some to find out, but pretty much every professional bodybuilder you’ve ever seen is on anabolic steroids.

One of the reasons why it can be surprising to find this out is because, depending on the generation you were raised in, the usage of steroids was simply never very widespread.

We’re talking about an era where it was incredibly easy to get your hands on these substances, and typing in “buy winstrol pills” on a search engine or putting in your latest order at 120kgs.com was many years away from becoming a necessary normality in the modern steroid culture we now face.

We’re now going to list some of the most famous users of anabolic steroids – some of them will come as absolutely no surprise, whereas others may shock you a little!

Sandow, Hercules and the Birth of Modern Weightlifting

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While Eugen Sandow has long been been held in esteem in the lore of bodybuilding, fans of weightlifting have seldom seen the Prussian as a figure of great importance for their sport. This is unsurprising given that over the past half-century, Sandow’s image has become so integral to bodybuilding that the sport’s top contest, the Mr. Olympia, hands out miniature Sandow busts as trophies. Nevertheless part of Sandow’s fame, at least initially, came from his raw strength which he used to set records, wow audiences and defeat opponents.

With this in mind, today’s post looks at Sandow’s 1890 weightlifting contest with ‘Hercules’ McCann, a controversial bout during which the men’s weights measured to a tee, the first time such precision had ever been introduced to the growing sport. The contest can thus be seen as a pivotal moment in the evolution of weight lifting as a recognised sport in its own right.

Clint Eastwood – the Ambassador of Fitness (Scott Hays, 1991)

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Published in Muscle & Fitness in 1991, the following article details the keep fit routine of Clint Eastwood, the Hollywood actor/director then in his early sixties. Coming at a time when celebrity training routines were becoming an item of public interest, the article is interesting in its own right as a piece of bodybuilding history. Furthermore, Clint’s avoidance of eggs shows how the low-fat craze permeated through several parts of American life.

Clint was also well known within the bodybuilding world having trained with several high profile names including Vince Gironda and Arnold Schwarzenegger. In fact the above photo was taken in Vince’s studio during the 1970s. 

Here’s the article in full.

Casey Viator’s Workout Routine -Chris Lund (1981)

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During the very early part of 1970, a muscle-building time bomb exploded in the form of “Nautilus” and its inventor, Arthur Jones.

The writings and advertisements for Jones and his mysterious machines emerged via the pages of top bodybuilding magazine “Iron Man.”

The articles, and even the ads, became so popular that countless readers wrote to Editor Peary Rader, claiming that they much preferred to digest the “Nautilus Ads”, before they read anything else!