Category: Training

Bob Hoffman (1943) – How to Build Super Strength, Health and Development with the York Leg Developing Course

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Never afraid to promote his own products in line with good workout advice, Bob Hoffman and York Barbell were once the go to suppliers of knowledge within the Iron Game. A position Hoffman often used to great financial and sporting advantage.

Nevertheless Bob and his team did produce some good pamphlets on training as evidenced by the following course. Aimed primarily at the beginner and intermediate, the programme stressed good form, heavy weight and progressive training as the trifecta needed to build a solid and muscular base. So without further adieu, here is Hoffman’s Leg Developing Course in an abbreviated form.

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Build Your Chest From All Angles with Alq Gurley – Greg Zulak 1993 Article

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It’s always interesting to me to ask the various champions I interview how they prefer to train their chest muscles because chest has always been a difficult muscle group for me to develop. I always want to know what the other guys are doing. You never know when you might pick up something new that will help.

Some guys are power freaks, and will mostly handle monstrous poundages for low reps. Bertil Fox comes to mind as one pro who trains his chest this way. Then there are those who prefer light weight, high reps and lots and lots of sets. Serge Nubret is probably the best example of this mode of training. Without a doubt, though the preferred method of training chest is to use a variety of movements to hit the chest from various angles and to vary the reps from low to high. This approach seems to ensure that you hit all parts of the chest and the various muscle fiber types.

For Alq Gurley, Mr. Universe and recent third-place finisher at the Pro Ironman Invitational in February (which qualified him for the Mr. Olympia contest this fall), chest work is a combinations of the last two types of training. Like Serge Nubret he does plenty of sets — about 25 sets per chest workout — but he generally keeps his reps in the 10 to 12 range. He doesn’t pyramid down to heavy sets of five or six reps, as he worries about possible career-threatening injuries. And he doesn’t go up to 15 and 20 reps a set like Nubret, because he feels 10-12 reps are best for mass.

Alan Stephen – Bulking is Easy (1950 article)

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Published by the mid-century Bodybuilder Alan Stephens, the following article from Your Physique magazine details some time honoured means of bulking up in the easiest and most efficient way possible. Though much of Stephens’ advice will seem like old hat to those a few years in the Iron Game, his writings were geared toward the beginner and those seeking to change things up.

What’s more. It was never overly complicated. Indeed according to the man himself

All you need to do is follow the right exercises, eat plenty of nourishing food and get as much rest and relaxation on your non training days as you possibly can.

With that in mind though, we’ll dig a little deeper.

The History of the Bulgarian Split Squat

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An exercise designed to enact as much pain as possible.

That at least is the thought that almost inevitably runs through my mind during a set of Bulgarian split squats. Heavy squatting? Fine by me. Heck throw in breathing squats for fun. I can grind through that. But high volume split squats? That’s an altogether different story.

By the tenth rep, I’m a sweaty mess. My quads are burning, hip flexors being stretched beyond belief and I’m making internal deals with myself about the next rep. Only three more reps then we rest…promise!

What keeps me coming back to the exercise again and again? Its sheer effectiveness.

Here is an exercise that overloads the quads, improves flexibility and prevents to a large part, any degree of cheating. Try leaning forward too much on the Split Squat and you’ll end up on the floor toot sweet. An experience many of us have encountered at one point or another.

Who then is responsible for this oh so necessary evil? When was the exercise created, who popularised it and what is the correct way of doing things? Stick around, and you might just learn a few things.

Frank Zane’s Ab routine

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Few bodybuilders are remembered solely for their individual body parts. The collective entity? Certainly. But the individual sections of the body? This is a far rarer phenomenon. While Dorian Yates may be remembered for his towering Lat spread and Tom Platz for his Quad sweep, Frank Zane holds the distinction of being remembered for his incredibly refined mid-section. Indeed, photographs of Zane hitting the stomach vacuum, shown below, have taken on something of a mythical status.

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At a time when bodybuilders had not yet fallen victim to the desperately low body fats of modern times, Zane was known, envied and remarked upon for his vascularity and chiselled abdominals. How then, did the former Mr. Olympia train his abdominals and keep himself in such incredible shape? What tips has he given for us mere mortals?

Reg Park – How I Trained for the 1958 Mr. Universe

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An ideal for Arnie and countless others, Reg Park was one of the biggest bodybuilding names of the mid-century. Known for his powerful physique and raw strength, it’s no surprise that even though the great man has passed away, many still follow his old workout routines to a tee.

Today’s post was generously given by a reader of the blog who stumbled across an article written by Park following the 1958 Mr. Universe. It details his training, supplementation and general state of mind leading up to the competition. I’m sure you’ll find it as interesting and informative as I did.

Now in the interests of accuracy, and my own laziness, the article will appear below just as it did in 1958…Enjoy!

Guest Post: 5 Things to Consider Before Joining the Gym

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Joining the gym is probably one of the best decisions you can make for your health. The workouts don’t have to be intense and the goals you set don’t have to be too ambitious, but any sort of physical activity will drastically improve your physical and mental health. This doesn’t mean that it’s something that should be decided on hastily and without proper planning. The facilities and equipment you choose should be well suited to your goals and the pace at which you are willing to work.