Category: Biographies

Steve Reeves’ Competition Diet

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For many Steve Reeves was the epitome of bodybuilding. Alongside John Grimek, he helped to define a mid-century Iron Game obsessed with beauty, strength and uncompromising health. Though undoubtedly blessed with fantastic genetics, Reeves was known for his work ethic and attention to detail when it came to his diet. Coming from the Steve Reeves Cookbook, a book that’s currently distracting me from my own PhD work, today’s post looks at Reeves’ Competition diet which saw him through the Mr. World, Mr. Universe and Mr. America.

Safe to say then we may learn a thing or two from it!

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Sig Klein’s Beginner Workout

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Earlier this year I had the great fortune to visit the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports in Texas. Founded by Jan and Terry Todd, the Stark Center is a playground for anoraks like me. Containing the collections of Bernarr MacFadden, Professor Atilla, Bob Hoffman and several other Iron Game legends, Stark holds the history of the Iron Game.

So gushing praise aside, part of time there included a search through Sig Klein’s own personal papers. For those unaware, Klein ran one of the most popular and revered gymnasiums in New York from the 1930s to roughly the 1970s. Famed for his strength and amazing physique, Klein’s best known motto was to train for shape and the strength will come.

Though an advanced lifter in his own right, Klein was always keen to encourage the beginner. With this in mind today’s post details Klein’s beginner workout given to those new to his gymnasium. No tricks, no gimmicks, just simple hard work and consistency were Klein’s twin pillars for success.

Charles Gaines, ‘Cutting Some Fancy Figures, Sports Illustrated, 10 July (1972).

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Outside the auditorium, or Pavilion, as it’s called, it is a gorgeous Sunday afternoon at the Mountain Park amusement center in Holyoke, Mass. A roller coaster clatters up and down a wooden trestle. Children fly around in little whirly things that look like boats with wings. There are clam bars, pizza stands, dart throws, cotton-candy booths, a commando machine-gun stall. The sky is raucous blue, the sun is hot and a lot of people are laughing. Outside Mountain Park, on all sides, stretches Holyoke suburbia, big homes and fine lawns that make the place feel mischievous and isolated, an island of gaudery in the midst of all that yawning green. Especially today. Today in the Pavilion a body contest is going on, a “Festival of Flesh”—maybe the gaudiest of all sporting events and strange as a llama race to the average suburban fan. Leon Brown, who works in a laundry in New York, is in there posing for the 1972 Mr. East Coast title.

Bodybuilders Who Passed Away Too Young

It’s deniable that using powerful drugs on a regular basis appear to be needed to be a world-class bodybuilder. While steroids are very common and open to debate to be harmful for body, some other drugs like insulin, HGH and Diuretics cause more serious issues likemuscular corpse, organ failure, Cardiovascular disease and even death for bodybuilders.

Using anabolic steroids got more common in the early 60’s when bodybuilders found out this can take their muscles some steps higher. But even about steroid, the majority of studies link long-term consumption of steroid with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and irregular heart function. Here is one out of hundreds of studies on effects of steroid abuse.

Maybe it’s not fair to not mention that some professional bodybuilders have died of natural causes before hitting 35 years old. But even the ones who have survived and are in their 50s or so, are not without major health problems.

Below, named some very unfortunate deaths of well-known body builders who passed away too young.

Eat like a Saxon!

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Those acquainted with the history of Physical Culture will no doubt recall the Saxon brothers, a travelling troupe of German strongmen who performed at the turn of the twentieth century. Blessed with remarkable physiques, the trio’s mighty strength was undoubtedly aided by their healthy appetite for food and drink. In fact, as today’s brief post shows, the trio consumed a gargantuan amount of food even by today’s standards.

According to Kurt Saxon, who acted as the trio’s chef on the road, a normal day’s consumption for each individual man was as follows:

Joe Weider, ‘How it All Began’, Joe Weider Bodybuilding System (Weider Health & Fitness, 1988), 5-7.

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As a Weider student you should be interested to know that the Weider System is the most popular and successful bodybuilding course in the world. Because of my 50 years of involvement in the sport, the Weider System is the basis of all modern bodybuilding and weight-training techniques. Literally everything in bodybuilding has sprung from the Weider System. My system has stood the test of time! The results speak for themselves.

It is not by accident that the Weider System enjoys such popularity. Champions I have helped train hold every important bodybuilding title. Among my famous stars are Arnold Schwarzenegger (seven times Mr. Olympia), Frank Zane (three times Mr. Olympia), Sergio Oliva (three times Mr. Olympia), Larry Scott (twice Mr. Olympia), Franco Columbu (twice Mr Olympia), Chris Dickerson (Mr Olympia), Rachel McLish (Ms. Olympia), Lou Ferrigno (Mr America, Mr. International and twice Mr. Universe), Corinna Everson (American Women’s Bodybuilding Champion and threetime Ms. Olympia) and Lee Haney (American Men’s Bodybuilding Champion, World Bodybuilding Champion and three-time Mr Olympia).

Forgotten Exercises: The LaLanne push up

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This website’s love for Jack LaLanne is perhaps firmly established through our previous posts. Well with that in mind, today’s post discusses the LaLanne push up, a fingertip push up now synonymous with one of twentieth-century’s most vibrant fitness personalities. So in today’s short post we’re going to examine the exercise, its history, and most importantly, its application.

The Confusing History of Strength Co-Efficients

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Undoubtedly we’ve all been faced with the question, who is stronger? As a teenager it emerged when those weighing 150 lbs. or less sought to square up to their heavier brethren. Was it more impressive bench pressing 200 lbs. at 150 or 280 lbs. at 200 lbs. bodyweight? While our adolescent selves often solved this problem by calling the other side fat or skinny, we were nevertheless ignorant of this perennial problem. Can strength across bodyweights be compared? For powerlifters or weightlifters currently reading this post, the words Wilks or Sinclair has undoubtedly passed through your lips. For the unaware, the answer is yes, albeit with some reservations.

Since the 1930s a series of formulas have been used to with the express intention of discovering who is the strongest lifter across all weight classes. Varying in their level of nuance, the strength coefficients, as they’re termed, have given a scientific air to locker room debates about the strongest lifter. Perhaps more significantly, they’re also used in competition to determine the overall winner. With that in mind today’s post seeks to examine the history of strength coefficients, beginning in the 1930s and continuing to the present day. As will become clear, the evolution of the strength coefficients used largely echoes the growing professionalism of weightlifting and powerlifting more generally.

Thomas Goldwasser, ‘Pumping Iron, Not Concrete’, The New York Times (1986)

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LONG before Arnold Schwarzenegger became a movie star and pumping iron a glamour business, weight lifting built the York Barbell Company into a strapping success. York Barbell, founded 54 years ago, put York on the map as Muscletown U.S.A., and still brings Olympic weight lifters here to train. The company still dominates the barbell business, with a 70 percent share of the market for cast-iron weights made in the United States.