Leroy Colbert Workout c. 1978

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Previously on this website, we’ve discussed Leroy Colbert’s tragically short bodybuilding career and his successful foray into health store management. Today’s post focuses more on the nuts and bolts of Colbert’s bodybuilding routines from the 1970s. First published in Three More Reps, written by George Synder and Rick Wayne, Colbert’s split body workout was simple in its execution.

Aside from the obvious need to commit oneself to a prolonged course of training, Colbert’s own training philosophy demanded quite a bit of intensity during workouts. Training four days a week, Colbert would each of the main muscle groups twice a week as well as training his waist each workout.

Looking at his workout in 2019, it is interesting that much of the advice concerning volume and exercise selection was arguably already being done by Colbert. I’ll leave that you to you to decide. So, without further adieu, I present Colbert’s workouts from the 1970s!

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Eugen Sandow and Thomas Edison

Oddly given the site’s extensive interest, we have yet to detail Eugen Sandow’s most exciting remnant, a short film clip taken in 1894.

Taken during Sandow’s extensive promotion tour of the United States, which began in 1893 and included everything from posing sessions to fights with lions, Sandow’s film is one of the earliest movies we have of a bodybuilder on film. Long before Steve Reeves, Reg Park, or later Arnold Schwarzenegger were wowing audiences, Sandow appeared before the camera.

Vicki Goldberg, ‘Is It An Art, A Sport or Sheer Exhibitionism?’, The New York Times, 30 November (1975)

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The front wall of Gold’s Gym in Venice, Calif., used to have big glass windows, but owners of the gym had to cover them over—so many passers-by stopped to gape that the men inside couldn’t concentrate. The interior of the gym is Rube Goldberg paradise inhabited by grotesques, men so colossally muscled they look like inverted pyramids.

Gold’s is crammed with wacky machines, welter of steel poles, shiny weights and pulleys, and more than two tons of iron barbells wedged into racks against the walls. The newest Nautilus exercise machines, complex steel and chrome booths that might be misguided models for electric chairs, stand guard by the door. Benches tend to slant up at cuckoo angles instead of lying flat. man teeters on one at a diagonal, with his knees bent, then straightens his legs to push the weights at his feet.

 

The History of the Face Pull

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I grew up in the age of rotator cuff injuries. Whether or not the danger was as real as people believed, it didn’t matter. I, like many others, spent the first five years of training involved a series of mind numbingly boring shoulder exercises as part of our warm up. Taking light dumbbells, we would wave at one another in a variety of stilted poses and directions. Slowly but surely our coach’s obsession with shoulder injuries lessened but I still remain convinced that a shoulder injury was just one sloppy set away. Some time ago, I was told that the face pull was the answer to my fears.

The face pull has existed in a variety of forms over the past century but in my developmental stage of training, the exercise gained a remarkably important stature. We were told that, done correctly, this exercise would add mass to our backs, ensure we remained injury free and keep us standing upright, which admittedly is a tall task of any teenager.

In homage to an exercise which has taken up hours of my time, today’s post looks at the face pull. We’re going to examine its origins and, perhaps more importantly, how it came to be popularised among the lifting populace. Aside from the prowler, it is probably fair to argue that the face pull was one of the first real exercises to benefit from a mass internet exposure.

Guest Post: The First Sport Injuries in the History of Medicine

Sport injuries are a frequent problem both professional and amateur athletes are faced with. With the development of medicine, people have always tried to deal with these injuries in the most effective way, so that they leave no permanent consequences on the athlete’s health and that the athlete can return to their regular exercise routine as soon as possible. But what were some of the first sport injuries? In order to learn about the first registered sport injuries in the history of medical science, one should look to historical writings dating back to ancient Greece. Here are some interesting historical facts regarding this topic.

Ron Kosloff, Discipline: The Elusive Quality (2010)

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It’s the endeavor that separates winners from losers, champions from non champions, successful people from non-successful people, and most assuredly, it’s a quality that’s quickly disappearing in America. Why, because mass marketing is controlling our lives, telling us that we should all be the same, to dress the same, drink the same and eat the same fast food, etc., etc! Everything is the same and it’s all done to make money of course. Mass marketing of products is what helped the economy and the wages of the average American and of course no one ever thought that it would come home to roost in our brains. Mass marketing brains, mass marketing idiots, mass marketing people, who can’t think for themselves, who need the television to tell them what to do, like Homer Simpson. The result is that they are doing our thinking for us, making everything easier, or so it seems.

Don’t make anything difficult. We had a generation that fought the Second World War and they were called the greatest generation, well, I have one disagreement with the greatest generation. The biggest mistake they made is to say that their children weren’t going to have it as tough as they did. Well, tough is subjective, what is tough? During the boom and the glory years and the monetary years resulted in us turning our children into spoiled rotten brats. The great Ernie Harwell once said, “We’ve ruined our children giving them everything we never had.” These children want everything the easy way. Consequently, when you are taught about receiving something the easy way you are then not taught to strive, work or apply yourself, so now, the easy way is not the best way. Everything you learn in life builds character. Everything that you are challenged with and have to struggle through builds self-esteem and gives you a sense of gratitude and appreciation. Discipline is something the average American doesn’t possess anymore. The end result is it ends up being in the hands of the 10-15%. Vince Gironda was the greatest bodybuilding and trainer that ever lived. He created a physique through hard work and mental discipline of bodybuilding principles and nutrition. Have you ever envisioned or realized how difficult that was with no steroids! Vince would say, “I get in shape by deciding to do so.” But deciding to do so involves deciding to get up off the couch and go to the gym and work out.

Forgotten Exercises: Reverse Grip Dips

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Reverse grip dips are not an exercise you’ll see regularly practised on the gym floor. They can be awkward to set up, hurt the joints and elicit confused stares from others. Problem is, they’re quite an effective way to hit the chest and triceps. The creation of Vince Gironda, reverse grip dips were supposedly a favourite of both the Iron Guru and his most famous protege Larry Scott. So in today’s short post I thought we’d examine the lift itself, its history and how to implement it into your own training programme.

If nothing else the exercise highlights Gironda’s never-ending quest to find new and effective means of targeting the muscles. It was this curiosity which fuelled his genius.

Jeff Preston, ‘The 1991 Mr. Olympia: The End of an Era’, Iron Age (c.2003)

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I sat poised watching the clock with my finger in the ready position. I knew to get the desired seat I would have to have my ticket ordered the second that it went on sale. I called with speedy precision and connected with the agent who took all the needed

information and we both waited for the event to come up on the computer screen. “Joe Weider’s 1991 Mr. Olympia” appeared as “now on sale” and the VIP ticket was sold. First row, center section! It could not be any better.

Peary Rader, ‘The Clean and Jerk Program for Weight Gaining’, THE RADER MASTER BODYBUILDER AND WEIGHT GAINING SYSTEM (1946)

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This very popular lift is a good exercise for all round development and an excellent method of weight gaining if properly performed for this purpose. It is probably the most strenuous of all exercises and therein lies its value as a stimulator of metabolism and a weight gaining medium. Much the same principles of procedure are used as in the squat or deadlift. Because it is so strenuous you will find that, as a general rule, two workout periods per week will be sufficient. You may find yourself rather sore at first if you are not careful to progress slowly

Guest Post: A History of the Sports Massage

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Sports massage is one of the best healing practices for athletes, contributing to injury prevention as well as treating various types of sports injuries quickly and successfully. With the use of Swedish, deep tissue and stretching techniques, the massage improves athletic performance and recovery. It has been around for thousands of years, dating back from ancient Rome and even Greece, where sports massage was especially popular during the Olympics back in the day. If you’d like to know more about this old and very appreciated practice, we’ve got a bunch of interesting facts to introduce you to.