Category: Training

Forgotten Exercises: The Roman Column

While many exercises, such as the squat, appear to be timeless in the lore of exercise history, there are many movements and machines that fall away with the sands of time.

Today’s post looks at the Roman Column, an inverted strongman exercise created in the mid-eighteenth century and used by famous performers such as Eugen Sandow and his mentor, Professor Atilla.

What is the Roman Column?

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Louis Abele Training Programme

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Although unknown to the modern olympic lifter, Abele was one of America’s finest lifters during the 1940s and 1950s. Unfortunately he was overshadowed by fellow US lifters John Grimek, Steve Stanko, and John Davis during the course of his career. Similarly the outbreak of the Second World War denied Abele the chance to lift at the 1940 Olympic Games, a time when he would have been in his prime.

Nevertheless, Abele’s lifting career saw him put up some rather impressive poundages as you’ll read about.

With regards to training philosophy, Abele was a strong advocate of specialisation and high intensity training. Illustrating this, Abele tells the reader that he once exercised so hard that his teeth hurt from breathing! A level of intensity unrivalled by many today.

The text itself comes from a series of letters written by Abele to Chester O. Teegarden which were published by Iron Man Industries of Alliance, Nebraska in 1948.

The Training Programmes of Louis Abele

Evandra Camara 1982 Article – Weight Training and Body Structure

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The effects of weight training on body structure has been a subject much bandied about in bodybuilding circles for the past three decades. These effects are the direct concern of this article, not the physiology of exercise, per se, or health related aspects. Modern physical culture has, from its earliest phases (starting roughly in the late 1940’s with the appearance of Steve Reeves) determined that the ideal male physique should sport wide shoulders, latissimus dorsi sweeping all the way down to a small and muscular waist and narrow hips, full thigh muscles, and large, diamond-shaped calves. Accordingly, bodybuilders have been urged all along to train in such a fashion as to mold their physiques along these lines.

The direction of training instruction found in the the muscle magazines and books has been changing in a continuum, from only tangential references to natural potential, to an increased awareness of this factor in connection with muscular development, to today’s strong emphasis on natural ability as a frame of reference by which the trainee must guide his bodybuilding efforts. The bodybuilding magazines of the 1950’s, particularly the more commercially-biased ones, pretty much pushed the hereditary factor aside, while emphasising the technique of specialization as a way of overcoming structural deficiencies.

Vince Gironda’s Beginner Bodybuilding Course

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Well known as one of the greatest trainers of his age, Vince Gironda’s name has become synomous with bodybuilding champions from Larry Scott to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Though Gironda made his name producing some of the greatest bodybuilding champions the sport has ever seen, he sent countless hours with beginners and intermediates seeking to sculpt their bodies or build muscle.

Today’s post discusses Vince’s general bodybuilding approach for beginners with the caveat being that Vince was known for changing exercises based on each trainer’s physique. Nevertheless, there is much to learn from his more generic approaches.

Who is the Best Bodybuilder Ever? An In-Depth Analysis

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The following post comes from the immensely talented Erny Peibst of jackednatural.com. If you’re looking for advice on the best natural supplements to take or simply a review of the latest training trends, I highly recommend it. 

Guys who’ve just hopped on the bodybuilding bandwagon might have heard of legendary names such as Ronnie Colemanand Dorian Yates whispered from the shadows in their local gyms…

But how good really were these guys?

And more importantly…who was the best bodybuilder ever?

If you’ve decided to become a bodybuilder, you owe it to yourself to know who the king of this sport was.

But the answer to this question all depends on how you define the ‘best bodybuilder ever’.

Here’s a few ways to judge who the best bodybuilder of all time is:

  • Who won the most Mr Olympia titles
  • Who’s made the most impact on the sport
  • The most aesthetic guy
  • The biggest and most shredded guy of all

The most Mr Olympia titles – Lee Haney and Ronnie Coleman (8x)

Who had the biggest impact on bodybuilding – Arnold Schwarzenegger. He was the star in Pumping Iron. If you haven’t already seen it, order it off amazon…like straight after you finish reading this article, it’s amazing.

The most aesthetic Mr Olympia – Arnold, Franco Columbo, Frank Zane or Lee Haney.

The biggest & most shredded: Ronnie Coleman or Phil Heath.

So it depends how you interpret the question ‘who is the best bodybuilder ever’.

However, Arnold Schwarzenegger is regarded by many as the greatest ever.

Why?

  • He won 7 Sandow trophies
  • He changed the world’s opinion on bodybuilding; from being disgusted to intrigued.
  • He built one of the greatest physiques of all time. Huge mass with a tiny waist – a look that’s still highly coveted by gym rats to this day (50 years later).

Arnie sounds like a worthy choice to me.

However, for entertainment purposes I’m going to select the top 5 bodybuilders of all time, and put them on stage against each other.

…So you can decide for yourself!

Lies, Snake Oils and Downright Deception: Selling and the Fitness Industry

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The fitness industry, was and is, a notoriously dubious business place. For every honest athlete seeking to help his fellow trainer, there are dozens of genetically blessed individuals who seek to make a living with half-truths.

This chicanery, is however, a time honoured tradition as evidenced by today’s article. Surveying the great names of the physical culture game, today’s post looks at the forerunners to the current market industry and demonstrates how many sought to promote their products over the truth. Unsurprisingly names like Sandow, Sick and Inch all feature.

So if you thought that deceit was a new phenomena in bodybuilding, you are sorely mistaken!