Frank Zane’s Ab routine

frank-zane-young

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.

Frank-Zane-5_380.jpg

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?

Advertisements

P.G. Wodehouse – The Physical Culture Peril And How the Nation May Easily be Saved From It

cn2u7876_l

Easily one of the wittiest English writers of the early twentieth-century, P.G. Wodehouse was famous (or infamous) for his biting satire. Writing for Vanity Fair in May 1914, Wodehouse turned his sights on physical culture, a topic he was already well acquainted with. Perhaps you may recognise your own health behaviour in the article? Sadly I certainly can… The article goes well with our previous posting on ‘the Food Fadist‘.

Physical culture is in the air just now. Where, a few years ago, the average man sprang from bed to bath and from bath to breakfast-table, he now postpones his onslaught on the boiled egg for a matter of fifteen minutes. These fifteen minutes he devotes to a series of bendings and stretchings which in the course of time are guaranteed to turn him into a demi-god. The advertisement pages of the magazines are congested with portraits of stern-looking, semi-nude individuals with bulging muscles and fifty-inch chests, who urge the reader to write to them for illustrated booklet. Weedy persons, hitherto in the Chippendale class, are developing all sort of unsuspected thews, and the moderately muscular citizen (provided he has written for and obtained the small illustrated booklet) begins to have grave doubts as to whether he will be able, if he goes on at this rate, to get the sleeves of his overcoat over his biceps.

Mark Berry’s Simple But Effective Workout Course (1930s)

Berry-Course-1-1-2.jpg

A phenomenon unknown to the modern lifter is the importance of workout posters within the gymnasium. Scattered across the gym walls, workout courses from Joe Weider, Mark Berry and a host of other weight lifting aficionados would highlight simple and effective workouts for both the beginner and advanced trainee.

Such courses would usually come in a series of stages. Stage one would be aimed primarily at the beginner or novice lifter. Including all the basic compound exercises, this phase of gym going life would continue for several weeks or months before the trainee was encouraged to move on. After that, stage two would commence. Exercises remained similar but the instructions and ordering changed.

This cycle would continue ad nauseum until the lifter either began designing their own routines or switched to another mentor’s course. It was a time honoured way of earning one’s gym stripes. And indeed should you still train in an old-school gym, such courses will undoubtedly line the walls.

With that in mind, today’s post examines Mark Berry’s three simple but effective weightlifting routines as taken from his 1930s mail order workout course. Featuring a young John Grimek, the course was targeted at lifters across the life cycle. For those in search of a good full body workout routine, look no farther.

Guest Post: No Meat Athlete: Is It Possible to Achieve High Performance as a Vegan?

1-1.jpg

Vegan nutrition is often perceived as healthier than standard, meat-based ones and it’s completely understandable – there’s nothing wrong about basing your diet on vegetables, fruits, and seeds, and trying to keep it as natural as possible. Add a humane note to the whole story and you’ll see why many high-level athletes decide to give it a shot and go animal products-free. However, there are several problems vegan athletes face sooner or later, so the question is – is it possible to achieve high performance as a vegan?

Pushed For Time? Make Exercise Suit Your Schedule

One of the common complaints amongst those who don’t exercise is that they don’t have enough time. Whilst others would argue that it’s not difficult to carve 30 minutes out of your day for the gym, it is tough to fit everything in. Early starts, late finished, not to mention family and social commitments, you start to realize how tough it is for some of us to find time to exercise. And when we do eventually have an hour free? Chances are you won’t want to put on your workout gear and head to the gym. So what are the alternatives…

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

Reg_Park_photo131

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

man-461195_960_720.jpg

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.

Guest Post: How to Prepare Before Going to the Gym

pexels-photo-260447

When you start exercising, you’ll realize that the more you do it – the better you get at it. You will be able to exercise longer as you become more flexible, stronger, and faster. However, as reaching any other goal in life, good preparation is required.

If you’ve never gone to the gym before, there are certain steps you should take to be ready for your first workout.

Forgotten Bodybuilding Exercises: The Gironda Motorcycle Row

vince1-2.jpg

How do I train my back? A common concern for weightlifters, bodybuilders and the average Joe or Jane seeking to get the most from their training.

We all know the basics: chin ups, rowing movements, pulldowns and of course the deadlift. But what else can be done to throw some variation into our training systems. Well, as we so often do on this website, we decided to return to Vince Gironda’s bag of tricks for inspiration.

Aside from pulldown movements utilising a range of hand positions and his own unique style of chins ups, Gironda was greatly fond of the 45 degree row or the motorcycle row as it has been termed in later years. Seen by the Iron Man as one of the quintessential back builders, the Motorcycle row is undoubtedly a neat addition to your regular workout.

How to Row Gironda Style

Pumping Iron II and the Birth of Female Bodybuilding

large_5gx1Q82guaUIEkhxjWimucDLHgW.jpg

Who can forget Pumping Iron? The iconic bodybuilding movie which pitted an enviably charismatic Arnold Schwarzenegger against Lou Ferrigno, the man who later became the Incredible Hulk.

A tragic epic of Homeric proportions, the initial Pumping Iron has been credited with helping bodybuilding become a more mainstream sport or at least pursuit, in the eyes of many. Furthermore it became a source of inspiration for hundreds of thousands of gym goers seeking to replicate the muscularity, determination and definition of the men on screen. In short, Pumping Iron helped normalise and accelerate male bodybuilding’s popularity.

But what then of Pumping Iron’s sequel Pumping Iron II, which focused exclusively on female bodybuilding? Why was it made? What impact did it have? And just where can one watch the original?