Tag: Old School Bodybuilding

Forgotten Exercises: Gironda Hack Squats

For many lifters, myself included, the quads can be a notoriously difficult muscle to shape. It’s easy to add bulk and size, countless numbers of squats will suffice but where does the lifter turn when it comes time to refine, to sculpt and to define the thigh muscles?

Now past readers will no doubt be aware of my fondness for Vince Gironda, the influential bodybuilding coach of the mind century. Known as the ‘Iron Guru’ for good reason, Gironda was a maverick in terms of devising specialised exercises. His variations on dips, chin ups and bicep curls helped countless champions gain that competitive edge. Needless to say, I’m a fan boy.

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Mike Mentzer – Nutritional Reality (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!

Eat like a Saxon!

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Those acquainted with the history of Physical Culture will no doubt recall the Saxon brothers, a travelling troupe of German strongmen who performed at the turn of the twentieth century. Blessed with remarkable physiques, the trio’s mighty strength was undoubtedly aided by their healthy appetite for food and drink. In fact, as today’s brief post shows, the trio consumed a gargantuan amount of food even by today’s standards.

According to Kurt Saxon, who acted as the trio’s chef on the road, a normal day’s consumption for each individual man was as follows:

Steve Michalik’s Training Diary from 1968

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How bodybuilding champions train is an area of intense interest for muscle fanatics the world over. How many sets, how many reps and how intensely? What makes them great?

Seeking to satisfy demands, muscle magazines often publish polished workout routines written by the Champions. Yet nothing compares to the first article, making today’s post on Steve Michalik’s 1968 training diary just so fascinating. In it we see Steve’s hopes for the future regarding the stage and also his thoughts on training poundages an intensity. A gem of a find that I stumbled across on Dave Draper’s excellent bodybuilding website and forum.

You can check out the training diary below.

Ivan Dunbar, How Many Reps Makes the Champion? (1964 Health & Strength Article)

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One of bodybuilding’s most perplexing problems is deciding on how many repetitions. In recent years there has been a tendency to standardise the number to around ten, as this is felt to provide the best combination for muscular bulk, strength and stamina.

Not too many years ago the guiding rule was low reps for bulk, high reps for definition. But is this true? Well I remember, some years ago, embarking on a “bulk course” (the most misused phrase in bodybuilding) consisting of five exercises designed to gain at least a stone of muscular bulk and bring me at long last from the ranks of obscurity to bodybuilding stardom. Unfortunately, though there was a considerable increase in strength, the massive gains in bulk did not materialise.

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!

Irvin Johnson’s Scientific Body Building and Nutrition Course (1951)

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Better known as Rheo H. Blair, Irvin Johnson was one of the foremost bodybuilding nutritionists of the 1950s and 60s. Producing one of the most sought after protein powders in the Iron Game, Blair was lauded for his nutritional knowhow and ability to achieve seemingly unbelievable weight gain amongst his clients.

Bearing that in mind, today’s short post details a sample eating plan from Johnson’s ‘Scientific Bodybuilding and Nutrition Course’, a mail order course produced in 1951 which promised to increase reader’s weight and muscle mass if followed correctly.

Similar to the ‘Get Big Drink‘ previously covered, the diet acts as a timely reminder that calories are needed for muscle gain. And that a systemised eating plan is often the easiest method of going about this. Enjoy!

Forgotten Bodybuilding Supplements: Desiccated Liver

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At a time when anabolic steroids were in their infancy, bodybuilders were turning to an altogether different sort of wonder substance. Said to increase one’s energy, muscle mass and overall wellbeing, this product was cheap, easy to take and used by some of the top bodybuilders of the time.

I am of course referring to Desiccated Liver, a supplement form of liver, popularised from the 1950s onwards by a series of bodybuilding gurus. In today’s post we’re going to examine what exactly Desiccated Liver was, who used it and finally what benefits they believed it provided. We’ll then finish up with a brief discussion about whether or not it should form part of your own supplement stack.

The History of the Preacher Curl

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A piece of equipment ubiquitous across the gym floor, the Preacher Curl is a go to exercise for gym bros and dedicated trainees alike seeking to build their biceps. Combined with the EZ Bar, whose history is covered here, the Preacher Curl is likely an exercise we’ve all turned to in need of arm development.

When did this piece of equipment enter the gym zeitgeist, what was its original purpose and how did it become so popular? Furthermore, how does one perform the exercise correctly? Well strap in folks as we take another trip down memory lane…