Negative Ions – James Wright (1991)

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The following article comes from Muscle and Fitness editor James E. Wright on the dangers on negative ions for bodybuilders, which can be lumped in with the dangers of pollution in a sense. While you’re unlikely to see such an article nowadays in the muscle magazines, Wright’s writing demonstrated the fact that many bodybuilders were concerned not just with lifting weights, but also the environment in which they existed.

“Three more reps!” screamed my training partner.  I was determined and thinking positive. But after eight sets my quads are about to combust spontaneously! Quivering uncontrollably!  Despite my attitude I wasn’t sure I could get those last squats without big-time help form my partner.  To put it mildly, I was sucking wind.  I didn’t need motivation; I didn’t need concentration.  What I needed was faster recuperation.

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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.

Joe Weider’s Power Bracelet

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Joe Weider is undoubtedly a divisive figure in the history of bodybuilding. Influential to the nth degree regarding the modern climate of the sport, Weider has been continually criticised for selling snake oil supplements to a naive public.

Today’s post briefly examines Joe’s ‘Hell-Bent for Leather N’Lead’ product, a set of bracelets brought out by the Canadian entrepreneur in the early 1970s. Utilising the bodies of then Mr. Olympia Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mr. America Roger Callard, Weider promised incredible muscle gain and strength through the sheer act of wearing one of his patented bracelets.

Mike Mentzer, Nutritional Illusion, Delusion and Confusion (1993)

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The following excerpt comes from Mike Mentzer’s 1993 nutritional work, Heavy Duty Nutrition. A keen follower of Arthur Jones’s Heavy Duty training system, Mike was the poster child of an alternative and oftentimes radical form of bodybuilding. It should come as no surprise then that his nutritional advice also tended against the norm. 

In the following weeks, more chapters from Mike’s book will be shared on bulking, cutting and general good health. Enjoy!

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!

Thomas Inch’s Diet

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One of the strongest men of the early twentieth-century, Thomas Inch was known in both Great Britain and the United States for his feats of strength. Unlike others however, Inch was hardly strict with his diet. In fact Inch was recorded as saying

There is nothing so wearisome as having to be extremely particular about what one eats or drinks. I can never believe that the food faddist is happy, that it can be nice to go through life feeling that it is extremely difficult to get the peculiar meals which have been adopted on some nature-cure plan, that everything has to be exact in quantity with nuts and fruit predominating.

Arthur Jones, Dick Butkus and the Long Con

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Controversial to the nth degree, Arthur Jones was a man known for his pull no punches approach. Wonderfully innovative, the founder of the Nautilus exercise phenomena had a strict sense of right and wrong when dealing with his small circle of clients.

This was demonstrated, most spectacularly, when Jones was approached by Dick Butkus, then linebacker for the Chicago Bears, in 1973. One of the most feared players in the NFL, Butkus had by then built a legacy based on ferocious tackling and a dogged determination to make quarterback’s lives a living hell.

On the first meeting of the two men however, Butkus was something of a sorry sight. Despite a physically imposing frame (Butkus stood at 6ft 3 and weighed over 240 lbs.), the Bear’s legend was almost crippled with the knee problems that would soon force him to leave the NFL. Compounding matters was the fact that Butkus was now out of contract with the Bears, meaning that any idea of a last payout was becoming slimmer by the day.

Arnold Schwarzenegger on the Squat (1976)

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When I was first learning how to train, I used to do full squats. I did them exclusively for the thighs. I labored under the belief that if I did my full squats faithfully on a firm reps and sets basis, I would get everything I needed in the way of thighs. Over the years my thinking has changed considerably.

Everybody does squats: weightlifters, bodybuilders, football players, track athletes and even ballet dancers. The squat increases the power, speed and spring of the legs. When practiced with heavy breathing, it permanently expands the rib cage. It can help you gain weight. It can help you lose weight. with these multiple benefits, the squat goes on record and the best all-around exercise.

Everything you Needed to Know About Supplements

Workout supplements can be a minefield to understand. With so many horror stories out there, a lot of us steer clear of supplements altogether. It might be worth reconsidering your aversion, though. When done right, supplements can be a fantastic addition to your exercise routine. Not only that, but they can also help you receive all the nutrients you need. If your knowledge of supplements ends at vitamins, then you’ve come to the right place. The key to getting supplements right is research. Shopping around will make it clear which websites are most reliable and which retailers can be trusted. Make sure you know what you’re putting into your body. Here are a few different options you might want to consider.