Tag: Oldschool Bodybuilding

Bob Gajda’s Peripheral Heart Action (PHA) Training

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One point that always fascinates me about training is the sheer diversity one finds when it comes to training systems, exercises and training philosophies. What works for one trainee can prove pointless to another. No matter how good the programme, it often has to be tailored towards the individual, and indeed, we often find that the most successful trainees when it comes to bodybuilding have devised or used workouts advantageous to themselves.

Today’s post is a case in point. Titled ‘Peripheral Heart Action’ or PHA training, this form of exercise has come to be associated with Bob Gajda, the 1966 Mr. America Winner. Counting a host of proponents, including Charles Poliquin, PHA training is a rather interesting combination of circuit, strength and hypertrophy designed with bodybuilding in mind. That being the case, today’s post seeks to answer three simple questions. What is PHA Training and who invented it? Why did it come to be associated with Gajda and finally how can it be used for the modern trainee?

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Guest Post: Jack LaLanne’s “My Daily Dozen” (1962, 1968)

Fitness guru Jack Lalanne’s “My Daily Dozen” pamphlet offers a short glimpse into the broad appeal of LaLanne’s early productions. 

LaLanne’s popular television show is often thought of as being aimed at mid-twentieth century American suburban housewives who wanted to lose weight.  But the charismatic LaLanne had a way of reaching out to a broad audience, including children. Published first in 1962 and revised in 1968, “My Daily Dozen” was an attempt to interest kids in exercise and healthy living. The simple booklet contains cartoon images and rhymes meant to make fitness fun and to encourage youth to move, eat well, and get rest.  The back of “My Daily Dozen” contained a chart that allowed users to mark their fitness and hygienic activities on a daily basis.

Paul Thomas, Big Biceps Bounce Recipe (1960s)

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Big Biceps Bounce is a new desert sensation for the protein-conscious bodybuilder with a “sweet tooth.” One serving of this luscious custard all not only highlight the finest meal, but will also provide you with 6 grams of protein – for only 14¢! Milkly rich and low in calories, you’ll want two or three helpings of this muscle-building custard that tastes better than the best ice cream!

Vince Gironda on the Nautilus Machines (Muscle and Fitness, 1974)

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Published by Joe Weider in 1974, the following interview with Iron Guru, Vince Gironda, details the influential trainer’s thoughts on the then growing popularity of Nautilus Machines. Unsurprisingly given that Weider was in direct competition with the Nautilus machine’s founder, Arthur Jones, the interview proved to be negative at best.

In any case, it highlights Gironda’s own training strategies and serves as a timely reminder that muscle magazines rarely publish without an agenda.

Enjoy!

The Gironda Neck Press

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Popularised by the ‘Iron Guru’, Vince Gironda, the Gironda Neck Press (or ‘Guillotine Press’) is unlikely to be an exercise you see every day on the gym floor.

Dangerous if executed improperly, the neck press has sadly evaded most gym goers of the 21st century owing to the repetition of bland training programmes and the dogmatic belief that the bench press is the be all and end all of chest development.

Nevertheless for those strange few, the neck press is one of the most effective means of building the chest muscles in an effective and somewhat tortuous manner!

So what is the ‘Neck Press’ and why should you care?

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.

Forgotten Training Protocols: 4 x 10 Clusters

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For whatever reason some training systems remain in the public psyche while others fall to the wayside, continued only by a few dedicated and often fixated trainers. Thus while nearly every intermediate and certainly every advanced trainee is familiar with manipulating rep ranges, few seem to stray outside the comfort zone of 5 x 5, 8 x 3 and whatever other bland rep schemes we chose. What about 7 x 4 for a change?

Musing aside, today’s short post details 4 x 10 clusters, a method of volume training first introduced to me several years ago by an older trainee and a fallback I use whenever my training gets a little stale.

Reg Park – Basic Principles for Gaining Definition (1951 Article)

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Whenever I hear some bodybuilders use the term “definition” I always feel like asking them just what they think it means. It is a loosely used word, with certain authorities in particular throwing it about without any deep thought of what the development of muscular definement entails, or if certain types of lifters actually CAN acquire it. In fact, it is common to hear many novices talk of definition development before they have even built the foundations of a good physique.

Reg Park – Basic Principles for Gaining Definition (1951 Article)

reg-park
Whenever I hear some bodybuilders use the term “definition” I always feel like asking them just what they think it means. It is a loosely used word, with certain authorities in particular throwing it about without any deep thought of what the development of muscular definement entails, or if certain types of lifters actually CAN acquire it. In fact, it is common to hear many novices talk of definition development before they have even built the foundations of a good physique.

Peary Rader’s Magic Circle

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Loved and despised in equal measure, the squat has long been the iron game’s go to exercise for maximum leg development. A cornerstone of most trainee’s leg routines, there is certainly no doubting the exercise’s popularity.

Yet despite the fact that the back squat in particular has enjoyed a decades long dominance amongst gym rats, this does not mean that it’s position has not been challenged. Indeed for every man and woman who swear by the traditional squat, chances are you’ll find many more who curse it.

Owing to individual body mechanics, many individuals have found it difficult to perform the back squat with the form necessary to produce maximum development. This is not a new problem either as today’s post attests.