Tag: Old School

The (Somewhat Complete) History of the Deadlift!

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Having previously looked at the history of the squat, bench press and even the smith machine, it seemed about time that we did a history of the deadlift. We’ve been putting this one off for quite a while, even looking at the Romanian Deadlift en lieu of the actual thing.

The stumbling block in approaching the history of the deadlift is the amount of smoke and mirrors surrounding one of the most popular exercises in the Iron Game. Someone writes something in a training book or blog and suddenly it becomes part of the popular lore. Actual research is a lot harder to come by. Nevertheless, it’s clear that deadlifts and variations on the deadlift have been around since time began. Man and woman kind has seemingly always displayed an insatiable desire to pick heavy things up from the ground.

For the sake of my sanity and timekeeping however, we’ll begin in with the eighteenth-century when a variation of the deadlift, of heavy lifting, briefly took England by storm.

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The Mr. USA Story Or How Steve Michalik Trained – 1972

 

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A bodybuilder known for the intensity of his workouts and dietary protocols, the late Steve Michalik was one of a kind. Capable of overcoming career ending injuries, training with a zen-like focus and pushing the boundaries of what bodybuilders ate, Michalik left no stone unturned in the pursuit muscle. 

Highlighting this is today’s post. An 1972 article published shortly after Steve’s victory in the 1972 Mr. America. Both a biography and training diary, the article is one part motivational story and one part training aid.

Enjoy!

Gaining Muscle and Losing Fat: The ABCDE Diet Experiment

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Gaining muscle and losing fat at the same time is often held up as the Holy Grail of body recomposition. A desirable goal, that advanced or even intermediate trainees are now told is only possible for beginners or those using chemical means.

Today’s post examines the rather lengthy sounding Anabolic Burst Cycle of Diet and Exercise or ABCDE, an eating program devised in the late 1990s by scientist/bodybuilder Torbjorn Akerfeldt, the ABCDE promised to promote both muscle growth and fat loss amongst drug-free trainees. Publicised in detail by Muscle Magazine in 2000, the diet quickly became the de rigour form of eating for gym goers across the world…at least initially.

Though simple in design, as we shall see, the ABCDE proved to be hugely ineffective for some as reports of excessive fat gain were numerous. Nevertheless, some have achieved good recompositions using the approach, making it worthy of our attention.

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.

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!

The History of Before/After Shots

 

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Today’s fitness market is heavily saturated with amazing before and after photos taken to promote the latest diet, exercise system or piece of equipment. This style of marketing has become so synonymous with the fitness industry that it is difficult to imagine a time when fitness instructors relied solely on their word to promote their wares.

In today’s post we’ll briefly examine two of the earliest before/after photos from the fitness industry. The first, published in the 1860s by a British army instructor was widely circulated in the United Kingdom and Europe while the second, published in the 1880s by an American physical culturist, arguably kickstarted the United State’s obsession with transformation photographs.

Lies, Snake Oils and Downright Deception: Selling and the Fitness Industry

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The fitness industry, was and is, a notoriously dubious business place. For every honest athlete seeking to help his fellow trainer, there are dozens of genetically blessed individuals who seek to make a living with half-truths.

This chicanery, is however, a time honoured tradition as evidenced by today’s article. Surveying the great names of the physical culture game, today’s post looks at the forerunners to the current market industry and demonstrates how many sought to promote their products over the truth. Unsurprisingly names like Sandow, Sick and Inch all feature.

So if you thought that deceit was a new phenomena in bodybuilding, you are sorely mistaken!

Hoffman’s Ultimate Muscle Building Exercise

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If you could only perform one exercise for the rest of your training career, what would it be? Such a question plagues the online forums as an inciter for heated debates about why the deadlift or squat reigns supreme.

This question is as old as time itself, as many famous physical culturists gave their opinion on the matter quite regularly. Today we look at Bob Hoffman’s favourite muscle building exercise, the two-hand snatch.