Tag: Old School Bodybuilding

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…

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John McCallum ‘Get Big Drink’

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The quest for greater size has long plagued both the ‘hard gainer’ and the muscle bound hunk. At times it can seem that the need to ingest greater calories is almost as taxing as our workouts. A predicament that John McCallum, the focus of today’s article, was keen to address. As you’ll read below, McCallum devised a simple but highly effective weight gain drink for those seeking to put on weight in the shortest possible amount of time.

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1903 and the birth of American Bodybuilding

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After three years of pumping up, slimming down and posing, Britain, and the world was treated to the first ever bodybuilding competition in 1901. Hosted by the legendary Eugen Sandow, the ‘Great Competition’ as it was known claimed to have found the most perfect specimens alive. Unsurprisingly it wasn’t long before other nations, notably America, began to hold their own bodybuilding shows.

Within two years of Sandow’s ‘Great Competition’, the US was hosting its own bodybuilding show. Today we tell their story.

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!

Andreas Munzer – The Ideal Way to Massive Legs (1995)

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Forced Rep, Negatives, Free Weights & Machines – People have called me mad. They say no sane man would inflict my degree of discipline on himself. Perhaps they’re right, but I feel that extremism in the quest of your best is no vice.

If I seem to be in be in the iron grip of Spartan self-denial, it’s only because I’m convinced that’s what it takes for me to compete with the greatest bodybuilders i the world. The monsters out there today strain the very definitions as to what constitutes a human being, so I simply have to lift myself that much further beyond mortal effort just to stay with them, not only in training but in diet and lifestyle. If I can discipline myself more than the next guy, I will someday beat him.

1966 MR. OLYMPIA REPORT (December 1966 – Muscle Builder)

Having previously discussed the first ever Mr. Olympia contest held in 1965, it was a great and welcomed surprised to stumble across this report on the ’66 Olympia. Featuring a host of names from the golden age of bodybuilding, there’s something almost quaint about the sportsmanship and seeming politeness of this particular show. Especially when compared with the strictly professionalised competitions held nowadays.

The big question in 1966 was of course whether Larry Scott, the champion from the previous year, would retain his coveted title. At the risk of spoiling anything, I’ll just say read on!

21s in Bodybuilding Lore

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What teen or young lifter hasn’t been seduced by the idea of bigger biceps? Indeed in the bodybuilding universe of both males and females, no pose is more iconic that the front or back double bicep pose.

A difficult set of muscles to grow, except of course for the genetically gifted, the biceps have been subjected to a variety of tortuous and bizarre experiments aimed at growth. The subject of today’s short post, being one such example.

As a quick recap, ’21s’ is the name generally given to a set of bicep curls wherein seven partial reps are performed at the bottom of the movement, seven more at the top of the movement before finally, seven full reps are performed as one continuous set.

Long associated with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s repertoire of bodybuilding tricks, the purpose of today’s post is to highlight a potentially different story. A story that, in an odd occurrence, includes Arnold as a side character, away from the main spotlight.

Mike Mentzer (1995) – Mr. Universe Mike Mentzer’s Training Invention

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In the decades before bodybuilding became fashionable, when young men wanted to workout, they would say, “Hey, lets’ go to the YMCA and lift weights” In fact, during the early part of this century, weightlifting was much more popular than bodybuilding, in part because bodybuilding was regarded as too narcissistic.

Inveterate observers of weight-training history will recall how prevalent “odd lift” contests were back around the time of World War I. Competitions were held and records established for such odd lifts as the “two hands anyhow.” the “bent press” and the “one-hand deadlift.” For various reasons, these eventually fell from grace and were replaced by the three Olympic lifts: the press, snatch, and clean and jerk. These new movements required considerable athletic ability and, thus, were viewed as more respectable by the international sport community. They even were accepted as official events in the Olympics and are still quite popular today.

Eventually, some of the esteem reserved for Olympic lifting was wrested away by powerlifting, which has long had a strong following and gained even more recognition and acceptance after it became an official sport in the 1960s.

Finally, due primarily to the efforts of Joe Weider, bodybuilding assumed its rightful place in the sun in the ’60s and has progressed to its current predominance. It has thoroughly supplanted Olympic lifting and powerlifting in public appeal.

Bob Hoffman (1943) – How to Build Super Strength, Health and Development with the York Leg Developing Course

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Never afraid to promote his own products in line with good workout advice, Bob Hoffman and York Barbell were once the go to suppliers of knowledge within the Iron Game. A position Hoffman often used to great financial and sporting advantage.

Nevertheless Bob and his team did produce some good pamphlets on training as evidenced by the following course. Aimed primarily at the beginner and intermediate, the programme stressed good form, heavy weight and progressive training as the trifecta needed to build a solid and muscular base. So without further adieu, here is Hoffman’s Leg Developing Course in an abbreviated form.

Build Your Chest From All Angles with Alq Gurley – Greg Zulak 1993 Article

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It’s always interesting to me to ask the various champions I interview how they prefer to train their chest muscles because chest has always been a difficult muscle group for me to develop. I always want to know what the other guys are doing. You never know when you might pick up something new that will help.

Some guys are power freaks, and will mostly handle monstrous poundages for low reps. Bertil Fox comes to mind as one pro who trains his chest this way. Then there are those who prefer light weight, high reps and lots and lots of sets. Serge Nubret is probably the best example of this mode of training. Without a doubt, though the preferred method of training chest is to use a variety of movements to hit the chest from various angles and to vary the reps from low to high. This approach seems to ensure that you hit all parts of the chest and the various muscle fiber types.

For Alq Gurley, Mr. Universe and recent third-place finisher at the Pro Ironman Invitational in February (which qualified him for the Mr. Olympia contest this fall), chest work is a combinations of the last two types of training. Like Serge Nubret he does plenty of sets — about 25 sets per chest workout — but he generally keeps his reps in the 10 to 12 range. He doesn’t pyramid down to heavy sets of five or six reps, as he worries about possible career-threatening injuries. And he doesn’t go up to 15 and 20 reps a set like Nubret, because he feels 10-12 reps are best for mass.