Saturday, November 6, 2010

Dynamic Muscle Building - Steve Reeves' Other Book on Classic Physique Building!

(Photo Above: The Cover of Steve Reeve's Other Book "Dynamic Muscle Building.")

Most people who are interested in classic physique building know Steve Reeves and might know about his book "Building the Classic Physique: The Natural Way." But perhaps fewer people know that Steve authored another book called "Dynamic Muscle Building."

This is a really good book that collects together many of the articles that Steve wrote in the Golden Age for some of Joe Weider's magazines. The first few chapters start off by providing routines for beginners, intermediates, and advanced trainers. These chapters are followed by chapters on specialized training (for different parts of the body). The remaining chapters reprint articles and interviews that Steve did. One of these articles is "How I Gained 19 Pounds in Two Weeks" - which is a true story that illustrates the power of muscle memory when it comes to regaining lost muscle.

The book is available through the Steve Reeves International Society (see our links) and probably through the regular channels (Amazon.com, etc). The book was actually published after Steve passed away and so John Little and George Helmer are listed as co-authors. So there may be some slight additions here and there that come from John or George and not from Steve. But when I compare the book to the original writings that Steve did in the Golden Age (from which this book is assembled), I can say that any such additions are very minor.

So, if you have the change, pick up the book! It is a must for any CPB'er!

- CPB

P.S. If you would like a free, 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder zine (CPBzine) - a pdf "zine (do-it-yourself magazine) that is patterned after the mags of the Golden Age of Bodybuilding (the 1940s and 50s) - just email your name, the name of your city, state, and country (not your actual street address) to cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. You won't get on any lists or receive any spam (even from us)!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Classic Physique of Steve Reeves: Healthy, Real, Balanced, and Inspirational!

(Photo above: Steve Reeves - Mr. Pacific Coast, Mr. America 1947, Mr. World 1948, Mr. Universe 1950)

The mainstream world of roid-based bodybuilding continues to disappoint and there are no signs that anything is changing soon!

It is sad that today when a person becomes interested in weight training and goes to the magazine rack to look at the modern muscle mags, all they see are unreal, unhealthy, unbalanced, and uninspirational physiques that don't even look naturally human! If you were simply to go to these modern muscle mags to learn about building your body, you wouldn't even know what a naturally, well-built, muscular body should look like!

Well, take a look at the picture of Steve Reeves above - there is your answer! He built his body with weights, good food, and rest (with no modern supplements). His physique is classic, healthy, real, balanced, and inspirational!

Yes...all it takes is appropriate weight training (Steve followed the best of the pre-roid, Golden Age methods), good wholesome & nutritious food (you can see what his diet was in our previous posts), and proper rest (he worked out with full body routines 3 times per week in order to give his body 4 days of complete rest for muscle growth).

- He didn't need to be in gym everyday with split routines.
- He didn't need roids or modern supplements.
- He didn't value the unhealthy, "shredded/ripped," cadaver-like look.
- He didn't need to sacrifice his health for the sake of a physique.
- He didn't have to look terrible in regular clothes.

Yet, he could just walk down the street and inspire admiring crowds to follow him!

Just look at him - healthy, happy, balanced, real, strong, and inspirational! Isn't this why most of us get into weight training? Wouldn't you want to have a physique that looks like that and radiates with health? Steve wanted to be the "healthiest man alive" - yes, he actually said that that was his goal! This is what it is all about!

So, stay true to the course and take your inspiration from the pre-roid Golden Age champs like Steve!

[Note: the next issue of CPBzine is in the works - thanks for being patient].

- CPB

P.S. For a free, 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder Zine (CPBzine) - a pdf "zine" (do it yourself magazine) patterned after the muscle mags of the pre-roid Golden Age of Bodybuilding (the 1940s and 50s) - just email your name, the name of your city (not your actual address), state/province, and country to cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We don't share info with anyone, so you won't get on any lists or receive any automated spam (even from us)!




Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bob Gallucci: A Witness of the End of the Golden Age of Classic Physique Building!

(Photo Above: Bob Gallucci, Mr. New England 1969, Teen Mr. America 1969, Mr. Eastern USA 1970, Collegiate Mr. America 1974, Natural Mr. America 1981 - on the Cover of Muscular Development, Nov 1974 issue)

In previous posts and articles, we defined the Golden Age of Classic Physique Building as that time period of the 1940s and 50s before steroids entered the picture. We also said that beginning in 1960, the Golden Age entered into its "twilight" in that the light of natural training and classic physiques was beginning to die out as the darkness of steroids descended. This "twilight" period lasted through the 1960s as the Golden Age died and finally the Dark Ages began in the 1970s - meaning that the world of bodybuilding was now overtaken completely by steroid use.

Now, you can hear for yourself, an Interview with Bob Gallucci - one of the few natural trainers and competitors during the 1960s and 70s - who was there when the darkness descended. He was one of the few who followed the tradition of the CPB champs as the light of the Golden Age died around him.

In December, 2008, John Hansen (Mr. Natural Olympia, 1998) interviewed Bob about his experiences training and competing in the late 1960s and 70s. The interview is quite lengthy, but it is historically important if you wish to know how and when the Golden Age died.

The interview appears on John Hansen's naturalbodybuildingradio.com site and you can listen to a podcast of it at this link: http://naturalbodybuildingradio.com/spotlight-on-champions/champion-of-the-golden-era-bob-galucci.

Although this is a sad topic, it is important to understand how thoroughly steroids have overtaken the world of bodybuilding and that it still persists in those "Dark Ages" that began in the 1970s.

But, fortunately, we are in the Information Age and through our own personal and social media, we have the opportunity to reclaim history, network with those of like mind, and create our own "alternate reality." While mainstream bodybuilding remains in the Dark Ages, we don't have to! So there is much hope. We can rebuild a new Golden Age, but we have to do it ourselves. We can't wait for the big publishers or supplement companies to do it for us. Natural bodybuilding was a step in the right direction, but true Classic Physique Building will bring it home!

So, stay motivated and help build a new Golden Age by building your own classic physique! There is nothing like a classic physique to promote classic physique building!

- CPB

P.S. For a free, 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder Zine (CPBzine) - a pdf "zine" (do-it-yourself magazine) patterned after the mags of the Golden Age of Bodybuilding (the 1940s and 50s) - just email your name, the name of your city (not your actual address), state/province, and country to cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We don't share info/data with anyone. So you will not get on any unwanted lists or receive any automated spam (even from us)!


Monday, June 28, 2010

Golden Age HIT Training for a Classic Physique!

(Photo Above: CPB Champ George Eiferman, Mr. America 1948)

Here is some more food for thought! You might be familiar with H.I.T. - High Intensity Training. This is the all-out, one set training approach that was popularized in the 1970's by Arthur Jones - the inventor of the Nautilus machines. Although most people think that Jones invented HIT style workouts, that is really not the case. Actually, one-set per exercise training was the standard before and during the early years of the pre-roid, Golden Age of the 1940s and 50s!

In the early Golden Age (early 1940s), set series training (doing multiple sets per exercise) was even considered a specialized form of training for advanced trainers! But by the mid-1940s, set training became more standard and set series training was introduced for intermediate trainers.

However, all throughout the Golden Age, it was the rule that ALL beginners would train for up to 6 months on one set per exercise (using full body workouts, 3 times per week)! Nearly all the CPB Champs of that era had a strong foundation in HIT training as beginners! This really helped them get started on the right foot in terms of building a classic physique quickly and is very different from today, where beginners start with set training and split routines right off the bat, never do one-set, full body training, and quickly start over-working causing all gains to cease after some initial beginner's results.

You can see for yourself the one-set training in the York muscle building courses, Weider's Muscle Building Courses of the Champions, and even in Steve Reeves' training when he first began! Again, this type of training was pretty universal for beginners in the Golden Age.

What were the benefits of such training? A lot! It produced very good gains for beginners, prevented overworking, taught them how to use the principle of progressive resistance properly, allowed them to use heavier weights which promoted better growth, didn't overtax the nervous system, and ramped up the body's muscle recovery abilities.

Because of this type of training, the Golden Agers, as intermediate and advanced trainers, were able to get much more out of fewer sets than most people do today. Steve Reeves once said that if you can't completely stimulate a muscle in 3 sets per exercise, then you are doing something wrong! And, in his own muscle building course system (see his book Dynamic Muscle Building), Steve had beginners train on one set per exercise for 6 months (the Golden Age standard)!

Now, Joe Weider, in his 1954 and later versions of his "Muscle Building Courses of the Champions" updated his beginners course and introduced set series training earlier. But he still had beginners train for 3 months on 1 set per exercise. But prior to that (prior to 1954), he had beginners train for 6 months on 1 set per exercise (Golden Age HIT training).

It was in the later half of the 1950s, that Weider introduced high volume training - but this was for advanced trainers - not for beginners. And by that time, all the great physiques had already been produced (like those of Grimek, Ross, Stephan, Reeves, Eiferman, Delinger, etc), so it is not clear that high volume training really added anything at all to the building of classic physiques. Now Joe was always looking for a marketing angle in order to be "new and different" from his competition. So he may have promoted high volume training as a marketing ploy (to be "different" and appear "cutting edge") - not because it really provided anything of real value.

Now, you might ask "This is fine, but I've been training for a while. I'm not a beginner and I've never done one-set training. Is it too late for me to benefit from this kind of training?" I would say "no!" You can still benefit!

Most people you see in the gym today are overtraining their muscles and getting nowhere fast! How many times have you seen some guy in the gym, week and week, pounding out set after set, using the same weights, and still looking the same? No real gains to speak of. You see this quite often.

If this describes your training, then try this. Take a one to two week layoff. Then come back, select 6-8 compound exercises covering the major muscle groups of the entire body (e.g., bench press, bent over rows, military press, barbell curls, squats, calf raises). Do one set per exercise. Go all out and use all the weight you can handle for 6-8 reps! When you can do 8 complete reps (and fail on the 9th rep), then increase your weight at the next workout and work up to 8 reps again. Keep pushing the weights up in this manner. Do this workout 3 times a week for 6 weeks. Eat and rest properly and see what happens! Chances are good, you will surprise yourself and see some unexpected results and improved muscle recovery ability!

After 6 weeks, take a one week layoff and then resume the same program! Keep this pattern until you see no more results. Then take a week layoff and after do the same routine using 2 sets for each exercise instead of 1 for another 6 weeks. Doing this will definitely teach you how to get the most out of each set. Then, one day, as an advanced trainer, like Steve Reeves, you will know how to stimulate a muscle using 3 sets per exercise (with no more than 3 exercises per body part). But don't jump to advanced training routines before you are ready - if you do, they won't work for you. Lay a good, solid foundation of Golden Age HIT training and then proceed from there!

- CPB

P.S. For a free, 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder Zine (CPBzine) - a pdf "zine" (do-it-yourself magazine) patterned after the muscle mags of the pre-roid Golden Age of Bodybuilding (of the 1940s and 50s) - just email your name, the name of your city (not your actual address), state/province, and country to cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is confidential. We don't share info with anyone. So you won't get on any lists or receive unwanted spam (even from us)!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Workout Frequency for Building a Classic Physique: Challenging Conventional Wisdom!

(Photo Above: CPB Champ Armand Tanny, Mr. Pro America 1949, Mr. USA 1950)

With all of the misinformation in the modern, roid-based, muscle mags of today, we have quite a challenge in sorting through all the "conventional wisdom" that just doesn't work for us non-roid users - who just want to build a great looking, classic physique! In our last post, we touched on the subject of all the modern hype regarding supplements. In this post, let's touch on the subject of workout frequency.

Remember, with all the modern "advice" - much of which is hype - you must always ask yourself "Who is this advice really good for - me or the supplement companies or fitness centers?" If you ask this question frequently, you might begin to see through all the hype.

With that said, it is pretty much the "conventional wisdom" these days that beginners should be put on a 4-5 day (even 6 day) splits - exercising each part of the body one day a week. You see this advice in the modern, roid-based muscle mags. You hear it from the "personal/certified trainers" at the modern gyms/fitness centers. In fact, if you are a classic physique builder and tell the personal trainers at the fitness center that you are doing 3 full body workouts each week, they would probably think you are crazy! If you get this reaction from them, then this is a sure sign that they don't know anything about the pre-roid Golden Age! They probably have no idea who Steve Reeves is or any of the other CPB Champs!

Well...here is the truth about workout frequency in the pre-roid Golden Age: the standard that all beginners and almost everyone else followed was to do 3 full body workouts per week! Yes...that is right! Each muscle was being exercised 3 times per week - not just once! And people were in the gym 3 days a week, not 4-6 days. If you don't believe this, then just look at practically any issue of the muscle mags of the pre-roid Golden Age (the 1940s and 50s) like Your Physique, Muscle Power, Muscle Builder, Iron Man, Strenth & Health, etc.

Let's put it this way....the practice of doing 4-6 day splits, working each muscle once a week, was largely UNKOWN during the pre-roid Golden Age - certainly for beginners! None of the classic physiques of the CPB Champs were produced by following this kind of advice. Yes...there was some (repeat "some") split training done for very specialized reasons by advanced trainers (e.g., a couple of weeks right before a contest). But split training was not the norm. Yet, clearly, with their 3 full body workouts per week approach, those of the Golden Age were able to produce classic physiques just fine! So don't let anyone tell you that your muscles can only take being stimulated once a week! And don't let anyone tell you that you need to be in the gym 4-6 days a week either!

In fact, it was pretty standard in the Golden Age that a person could build a classic physique, usually, within two years. So Golden Age methods work and they work really well! How many classic physiques have been built today on the modern advice of doing 4-6 day splits and working each muscle once a week?!

Now, there is a lot to say on this subject, but let's come back to our earlier questions. Who benefits the most from the prevailing "conventional wisdom" - you or the supplement companies & gyms?

Let's take the gyms first. It is no suprise that their "trainers" will tell you that you should be in the gym 4-6 days a week. Why? Because if you are in the gym that often, then you will be far less likely to drop your gym membership. Also, a lot of the gyms sell other products that you are more likely to buy if you are there - such as supplements, workout clothes & accessories, workout drinks, etc. The gyms/fitness centers have a monetary "bottom line." They are a business. They must maintain a certain number of paying memberships to cover all their "overhead" (expenses) and make a profit. Nothing wrong with that - except when they start tailoring their workout advice for their benefit and not yours!!! So who is really benefitting from a 4-6 day split - the beginner or the gym/fitness center?

What about the supplement companies? They also love the 4-6 day split training each muscle only once a week approach! Why? Because if you are working out practically every day, you are more likely to think you need more supplements! Take a look at all those pre- and post workout drinks that they push. If you work out only 3 times a week (or even twice) then you are talking about 4 - 6 drinks. If you are working out 4-6 times per week (and buying pre- and post workout drinks) then we are talking about 8-12 drinks! They can sell you twice as many drinks and double their profit! That's not to mention all the other supplements you will be tempted to buy since you are working out so much! AND since working each muscle once a week will lead to slow progress, you will be all the more tempted to buy supplements to "speed up your results!"

So the "conventional wisdom" of 4-6 day splits and working muscles once a week is great for the gyms/fitness centers and the supplement companies! But what about you?

Don't you think it is funny that men were able to build classic physiques in the 1940s and 50s on 3 (or even 2) full body workouts per week with no problem (and no supplements) and yet now the modern muscle mags seem to have forgotten this? In fact, they seem to have "conveniently" forgotten all about the pre-roid Golden Age haven't they? Doesn't it seem as though their sense of history begins with Arnold (and other 1st generation roid users)??? Well...I guess the truth of history would hurt their "bottom line," wouldn't it?

- CPB

P.S. If you would like a free 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder Zine (CPBzine) - a pdf "zine" (do-it-yourself magazine) that is patterned after the muscle mags of the pre-roid Golden Age of Bodybuilding (the 1940s and 50s) - just email your name, the name of your city (not your actual address), state/province, and country to cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We don't share info with anyone. So you won't get on any unwanted lists or receive any unwanted automated spam (even from us)!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Nutritional Supplements for Classic Physique Building: The Truth!


(Photo Above: Pre-Roid Golden Age Magazines - Strength & Health August 1950 (top), Your Physique April 1950 (bottom))

In the modern, roid-based bodybuilding world of today, we are surrounded and bombarded with HYPE! If you pick up any modern muscle or fitness mag, almost 1/3 to 1/2 of the pages will be devoted to supplement ads! From the sheer quantity of all those ads (not to mention their sales pitches), one would think that the major activity of anyone interested in building muscle is learning about, buying, and taking the right supplements! In fact, one is bombarded so much by so many ads that psychologically one might begin to think that making any kind of significant gains is impossible without all those high-tech, cutting edge supplements!

Well...we've said it before and we will say it again - that is pure HYPE!

The history of the pre-roid Golden Age of Classic Physique Building (the 1940s and 50s) tells us the plain, simple truth - and here it is for all to see for yourselves! Take a look at the photos above. The top photo is the cover of Bob Hoffman's Strength & Health magazine August, 1950 issue. The bottom photo is the cover of Joe Weider's Your Physique magazine April 1950 issue. Just look at those physiques on the covers! Did they have cutting edge NO boosters? Did they have high-tech, thermogenic fat-burners? Did they have the latest "legal steroid" supplements that are so widely advertised in today's muscle mags? Did they even have decent protein powders? The plain and simple truth is NO!!!!!

That's right! In those two issues, which were typical for 1950 (right in the middle of the pre-roid Golden Age), there wasn't a single ad for anything that would pass for a modern, nutritional supplement!!! In the Strength & Health issue, there was ZERO nutritional supplement ads! In the Your Physique issue, there was one quaint ad for "Doc Tilney's VI-BE-ON" which was a B vitamin supplement "for the whole family" and an ad for "Doc Tilney's Peppermint Tea." That's it!

With this information, now the truth should become obvious to you. All those classic physiques on the covers of those two mags - those of Clancy Ross (Mr. America 1945), Alan Stephan (Mr. America 1946), Steve Reeves (Mr. America 1947), and George Eiferman (Mr. America 1948) - were ALL BUILT WITHOUT A SINGLE MODERN NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENT!

And they weren't the only ones who built classic physiques in the pre-roid Golden Age without supplements! Just pick up any muscle mag from 1940-1950 and you will see plenty more who built fantastic physiques as well!

So, they weren't spending serious money on supplements were they? Well then, what were they doing? They were eating a high protein diet of real food with meats, dairy, eggs, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains on 3 meals a day in most cases (and perhaps a snack)!

Just remember that next time you are at the magazine counter and are flipping through the latest issues of MuscleMag, Flex, MD, Reps, IronMan, Planet Muscle, Muscle & Fitness, or any of the other junk that passes for "muscle mags" these days! These mags are loaded with HYPE (not to mention that most of the nutritional supplement ads actually feature steroid users) and you are paying for it and supporting it with your hard earned cash if you buy them!

The truth hits these modern, roid-based mags right in the pocket book (i.e., threatens their income from supplement company advertisements - which is how they make most of their money). This is why ALL of those mags stay as far away from the pre-roid Golden Age as possible and effectively pretend that none of this history exists!

- CPB

P.S. For a free, 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder Zine (CPBzine) - a pdf "zine" (do-it-yourself magazine) patterned after the muscle mags of the pre-roid, Golden Age of Bodybuilding (the 1940s and 50s) - just email your name, the name of your city, state/province, and country to us at cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is confidential. We don't share info with anyone. So you won't get on any unwanted lists or receive any spam (not even from us)!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Classic Physique Building: Symmetry Over Size!

(Photo Above: Bruce Lee from the Film "Way [or Return] of the Dragon")

OK...We all know that Bruce Lee wasn't a Classic Physique Building Champ from the pre-roid Golden Age of Bodybuilding (the 1940s and 50s). So why did I post his picture above? To illustrate a point - especially to young, aspiring classic physique builders of today. This point is that SIZE ISN"T EVERYTHING - THINK SYMMETRY!

Now, of course, as modern CPBers, most of us favor the Steve Reeves look in both symmetry and size! And those CPB champs like Monty Wolford (with 16" neck, arms, and calves at a height of 5'8") have the Reeves look of symmetry and classic size. But, Bruce Lee's physique shows us that symmetry is even more important than size!

Bruce was certainly quite a bit smaller than CPB standards and the CPB champs. Here are his best measurements (based on 1965 measurements at a bodyweight of 140lbs, height 5'7"):

Neck: 15.25"
Arms: 14"
Calves: 12.75?
Chest: 43"
Waist: 28"
Forearm: 12"
Thigh: 22"
Wrist: 6.5"

His neck, arm, and calf measurements don't quite reach the CPB ideal of being exactly the same, but they aren't that bad - the neck and calves are within about one inch of the arm measurement. And look at those lats! How's that for a classic V-taper? Quite impressive!

What these measurements demonstrate, that we can learn from, is that you don't have to have great size to have an impressive physique! That should be great news for those of us who are smaller in height and have a lighter bone structure. It is not even necessary (although it is our ideal) to aspire to the same level of mass that the CPB champs had! So instead of just thinking and being overly concerned with size, THINK SYMMETRY! Which of us would not be proud to have a physique like Bruce's in the above photo?

Now, I know that there have been allegations by some that Bruce used steroids. There seems to be evidence that he did use steroids which were prescribed for a back injury that he had. But, if he did use steroids after that (as some say), it certainly was not for the purpose of gaining extreme muscle mass! In fact, as a martial artist, he did not want large mass. Anyone can get his size without steroids! Steroid use might have contributed to his "shredded look" in his last film "Enter the Dragon." But, as CPBer's, we are not interested in the "shredded look" in any case. Our point here is simply that if you focus on symmetry, you can have a nice physique - even at a smaller size than CPB standards!

So, even though most of us might aspire to the classic Steve Reeves standard, there is nothing wrong with going smaller! And there's certainly no need to follow in the footsteps of the mass monsters of today's roid-based bodybuilding world!

- CPB

P.S. For a free, 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder Zine (CPBzine) - a pdf "zine" (do-it-yourself magazine) patterned after the muscle mags of the pre-roid Golden Age of Bodybuilding (the 1940s and 50s) - just email us your name (first and last), the name of your city (not your actual address), state/province, and country to cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We don't share info or data with anyone. So you won't get on any unwanted list or receive any automated email/spam (even from us)!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Modern Bodybuilding, Natural Bodybuilding, or Classic Physique Building: Which Would You Choose?



(Top Photo: Natural Bodybuilder Dave Goodin; Middle Photo: Roid-based Bodybuilder Kai Greene; Bottom Photo: CPB Champ Steve Reeves)

Here is a letter from a CPB Subscriber who describes a recent conversation he had with his friends. How many of you have had similar encounters and experiences? If so, let us know!

"Hello...I had a conversation with a couple of friends that I felt you may find interesting.

A bodybuilding buddy of mine brought over a bunch of photos from the Arnold Classic to my house yesterday. He loves modern day bodybuilding and loves to defend it whenever I bring up issues like gh gut, no proportions, etc... Anyways, my girlfriend had some friends over so I showed them pictures of Kai Greene, a random natural BB'er, and Steve Reeves. I asked them which physique they found the most attractive (not necessarily from a sexual perspective!). They all went with Reeves. They all agreed that Kai looked absolutely disgusting (and for gags, I played his posing routine. We had a great laugh!). They also said that the natural guy looked way too shredded - "it looks awkward." They kinda melted at the Reeves photo saying that he had the perfect combination of mass and definition. This started a bit of a debate between my friend and I.

My friend refuses to believe that the classic physique will ever make its way back to mainstream bodybuilding. The idea does not seem far fetched at all to me. In fact, I think the more "freak show" modern bodybuilding becomes, the more essential a return to proportions and aesthetics will become. It's like how female bodybuilding got so out of hand that they developed the figure division to bring back proportions and an overall feminine physique. I think the same will happen in men's bb'ing. They will have to develop a "fitness" division to try and attract new followers. I can only hope that they use the Classic Ideals as their judging criteria!

Just a thought I would share." - Mark, from Canada

Well.....What do you think? Have you had encounters/conversations like this with your friends? If so, then share your experience with us! I somehow think that this kind of reaction (to modern bodybuilding and even natural bodybuilding) is not uncommon and when faced with the clear choice of Reeves versus a roid-based modern bodybuilder, regular people will choose a classic physique like Reeves every time! And if this is the case, then who really reflects the MAINSTREAM OF THE PUBLIC, a Reeves or a Green, Cutler, or Coleman? Perhaps we (CPB'ers) should not concede the term "mainstream bodybuilding" to the roid-users!

- CPB

P.S. For a free 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder Zine (CPBzine) - a pdf "zine" (do-it-yourself magazine) patterned after the muscle mags of the pre-roid Golden Age of Bodybuilding (the 1940s and 50s) - just email your name, the name of your city (not your actual address), state/province, and country to cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We don't share info/data with anyone. So you won't get on any unwanted lists or receive any unwanted, automated email or spam (even from us!).




Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Classic Physique Building: Finding that "Sweet Spot" of Muscular Growth!


(Photo Above: Classic Physique Building Champ - Steve Reeves in France, 1948)

We've all heard about and recognize the importance of the mind-body connection in building muscular mass, but learning how to utilize it and trigger it for muscular growth is perhaps not so easy! Nor is it easy to talk about or describe - but here we go!

You can do everything seemingly right - get the right amount of rest, eat properly, and have a good routine with the right amount of exercises, sets, reps, and poundages. So, on the surface, it looks like you are doing everything right, but you still don't seem to grow! So what's wrong? It could well be your "mind-body connection." In other words, your body is going through the correct motions - but because the mind is not engaged, your muscles still aren't getting the right amount of stimulation to trigger muscular growth!

The key here is to find that "sweet spot" of mind-body connection where your mind is focused on the muscles being exercised, you are putting in the correct amount of intensity, and your mind and body are "sensing" and "remembering" this level of intensity as you are going through your reps. This "sensing" and "remembering" is critical - because without this, you cannot adjust your intensity level up or down to find that "sweet spot" where the muscles are being stimulated "just right" for muscular growth.

Developing this "sense" and "memory" requires conscious practice, some "trial and error," and tape measuring yourself before each workout so you can check the muscular growth you are getting or not getting against your "sense and memory" of your intensity during your reps of your last workout. Getting this right means having your mind centered and focused on your body and, in particular, on the muscles you are working - "your mind needs to be in your muscles."

Steve Reeves talked about this mind-body connection in his book "Building the Classic Physique - The Natural Way." This connection was so important to him that he wouldn't speak to anyone during a workout! He was a nice guy, by all accounts, but simply told anyone who tried to interrupt him to please speak to him after his workout. He would not let his mind-body connection be broken! Other Golden Agers practiced and talked about it. And this is why Vince Gironda was so dead set against playing music in his gym! He thought that there was no way a person would be able to get this "connection" if their mind was focused on music instead of their muscles!

So think about this and how you approach your workouts. Do you allow yourself to get distracted? Is your mind really "in your muscles"? Do you have a "sense and memory" of your intensity and what level triggers muscle growth for you?

Again, this is a tough subject to talk about, but it's very important and so was worth a try. Hopefully, you now have some insight (or perhaps a reminder) about this. Given that everything else is in place, the mind-body connection is really the "trigger" of muscular growth. So get to work finding that "sweet spot!"

- CPB

P.S. For a free 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder Zine (CPBzine) - a pdf "zine" (do-it-yourself magazine) patterned after the muscle mags of the pre-roid, Golden Age of Bodybuilding (the 1940s and 50s), just email your name, the name of your city (not your actual address), state/province, and country to cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We don't share info with anyone. So you won't get on any unwanted lists or receive annoying automated email (even from us)!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Rule #1 of Classic Physique Building: Don't Ruin a Perfectly Good Physique!


(Photo Above: Classic Physique Building Champ - Reg Park)

The key to building a classic physique is that you must know what a classic physique is in the first place! How many people train with weights and yet could not describe the characteristics of a classic physique? Such knowledge was fairly common in the pre-roid, Golden Age (the 1940s and 50s), but gradually was forgotten as bodybuilding entered into its dark ages (from the 1960s until today).

Without knowledge of what a classic physique is, a weight trainer goes to the gym, does some exercises, builds some muscle, and perhaps ruins what could have been a perfectly fine physique! Just yesterday at the gym, there was one fellow with nicely developed delts and arms. But his shoulder width was naturally narrow. So what was he doing? - Sets of shoulder shrugs with heavy weights on a Smith machine! He apparently didn't realize that if he developed the mass of his traps, his already narrow shoulders would look even more narrow! Clearly, he did not have a clue as to what to do and what not to do to build a classic physique.

Then there is the guy with the very well developed upper body, that I see from time to time, who walks around the gym proudly doing set after set of arm exercises. His arms must be 17-18 inches! But his thighs are thin and calves couldn't be more than 13 inches! He is walking around on "toothpick" legs! I never see him working his thighs or calves. His body is way out of proportion. yet he doesn't seem to have any sense that his physique is flawed! How many of you have seen similar things in your gym? (And I don't mean to fault these people. Where are they supposed to go to get info about classic physique building? They certainly can't get it from the modern, roid-based muscle mags!)

So, the take-home lesson is this: Don't go to the gym and do exercises without a clear idea of what kind of physique you want to develop and how to get it. Learn what a classic physique is (reading Classic Physique Builder Zine and CPB Blog will help). Have a clear understanding of what classic proportion/symmetry is! Could you quickly summarize the characteristics of a classic physique if someone asked you at the gym?

- CPB

P.S. For a free 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder Zine (CPBzine) - a pdf "zine" (do-it-yourself magazine) that is patterned after the muscle mags of the pre-roid Golden Age of Bodybuilding (the 1940s and 50s) - just email your name (first and last), the name of your city (not your actual address), state/province, and country to cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We don't share info with anyone. So you won't get on any lists or receive any unwanted, automated email (even from us)!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Classic Physique Building Tip for Avoiding Sticking Points: Train 21 Days, Rest Seven!

(Photo Above: Classic Physique Builder Vince Gironda - Owner of Vince's Gym)

Every trainer, sooner or later, will run into a sticking point - a point where both muscle and strength gains seem to slow down and stop altogether! We call this a "sticking point" or a "rut" or "going stale," etc. So what do you do when you hit a sticking point?

Well, there are many things you could do when you hit such a point, but the first thing you can do is to try to AVOID (at least as much as possible) sticking points altogether! Now, how can you do that?

Vince Gironda, before he started selling his training booklets in the 60's and before he became known as the "Iron Guru," was a physique contest competitor and owner of his own gym (Vince's Gym) in the pre-roid Golden Age. He developed quite a knowledge of natural training by experimenting on himself and never advocated anything that he did not try out on himself first! He said 'train for 21 days (3 weeks) and rest for seven (1 week).' Here is a helpful quote from his booklet called "Vince's Corner":

"I have found three weeks of concentrated training to be about enough, and the point at which most body builders become bored and stale. And at this point, after three weeks of hard training, I find that one week of rest to be much better than would a change of program, because the softening up of muscle tissue allows for renewed energy by the storing up of vitality and re-stimulation to muscles for the resumption of training."

Vince goes on to explain that the one week rest was more for the nerves than for the muscles:

"Rest is nature's method of restoring the nerves and whole body. Surely this is logical. If anyone robs himself of needed rest and allows his enthusiasm to govern him, he then continues on nerve force which will soon prove detrimental for muscle-growth. And if one cares to go into precise physiological technicalities he will readily find that the nerves need rest more than do the muscles. Muscles over bad nerves soon become weaker under the power of mis-directed nerve force."

So there you have it! A method of AVOIDING (as much as possible) sticking points in your training - train for 21 days, then rest for 7. Pretty simple. Give it a try and see if it works for you!

- CPB

P.S. If you would like a free 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder Zine (CPBzine) - a pdf "zine" (do-it-yourself magazine) that is patterned after the muscle mags of the pre-roid Golden Age of Bodybuilding (the 1940s and 50s) - just email your name, the name of your city (not your actual address), state/province, and country to cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We don't share info with anyone. So you won't get on any unwanted lists or receive any automated email/spam (even from us)!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Classic Physique Builder Zine: New CPB Readers' Page!


(Above: "Before" and After Photos of Steve Reeves, Mr America 1947, Mr World 1948, Mr Universe 1950)

We hope everyone has been enjoying the Winter 2010 issue of Classic Physique Builder Zine (CPBzine)! For our next issue, we thought of adding something new: a CPB Readers' Page!

This page will consist of photos of our CPB Readers across the world! So if you have photos of yourself that you would like to appear in CPBzine, then just send them to us along with some information we can use.

In general, we will need your name (the name you would like to use), your country, and any other information you would like to share (e.g., what Golden Age methods you are using, what gains you've recently made, etc). You can send "before" and "after" photos if you like, or just one photo. They don't have to be physique posing shots either. Perhaps you have an "action" shot of yourself doing a curl or some other exercise.

We will put together a photo or two and some kind of caption from whatever you send us. Most likely we won't be able to use all the info you send us, but it will be helpful in editing a good caption for your photo(s). Also, if your picture doesn't make the next issue, we will save it for a future issue.

So if you want to appear in CPBzine, just send us your photos and info to cpbzine@gmail.com.

By the way, this idea came from CPB Reader - Johnny G! Thanks Johnny!
- CPB (Anthony)

P.S. If you would like a free 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder Zine (CPBzine) - a pdf "zine" (do-it-yourself magazine) that is patterned after the muscle mags of the pre-roid Golden Age of Bodybuilding (the 1940s and 50s) - just email your name, the name of your country (not your actual street address), state/province, and country to cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We don't share info with anyone. So you won't get on any unwanted lists or received any unwanted, automated spam (even from us!).

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Classic Physique Builder Zine (CPBzine) Distribution Update - Winter 2010 Issue!

(Photo Above: CPB Champ Alan Paivio, Mr. Canada 1948)

Hi Everyone,

We have now completed our distribution of the latest issue (Winter 2010) of Classic Physique Builder Zine (CPBzine)! So all our subscribers should have received it as a pdf attachment to our distribution email.

We did, however, have some error messages come back from the following subscriber numbers: CPB58, CPB84, CPB85, CPB95, and CPB278. So if one of these subscriber numbers is yours and you didn't receive the Winter 2010 issue of CPBzine, then it could be that you need to send us a new email address or that you had a spam filter on, etc.

It is also possible that some subscribers might not have received their issue even though no error message was sent back to us. So, if you are a subscriber and didn't get the latest issue, just send us an email and we will resend it to you.

Thanks again to all the CPBzine subscribers around the world! We hope you like the latest issue. Your enthusiasm, feedback, and donations keep us motivated to press on with our mission! If you like what we are doing, don't hesitate to spread the word!

All the best,

CPB (Anthony)

P.S. If you would like a free 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder Zine (CPBzine) - a pdf "zine" (do-it-yourself magazine) that is patterned after the muscle mags of the pre-roid, Golden Age of Bodybuilding (the 1940s and 50s) - just send your name, the name of your city (not your actual address), state/province, and country to cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We don't share info with anyone, so you won't get on any unwanted lists or receive unwanted, automated email (even from us)!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Publication Alert! Classic Physique Builder Zine (CPBzine) Winter 2010 Issue!

(Photo Above: Classic Physique Builder Zine - CPBzine - Winter 2010 Issue, Mr America 1945 Clancy Ross on Cover!)

Hi Everyone,

The new Winter 2010 issue of Classic Physique Builder Zine (CPBzine) is now available! Distribution will begin today (Friday), within the next 24 hours, and may take a few days to complete.

Make sure that you turn off your spam filters - otherwise your system may prevent you from receiving our pdf file. Also, make sure you have at least 10MB of space available in your mailbox - because our pdf files is about that large.

If you have changed email addresses, please let us know so we can update our files and distribution list. It seems that gmail, hotmail, yahoo, comcast, verizon, aol, and a few other email systems work best for receiving our pdf files.

Here is the Table of Contents for the Winter 2010 issue:

Editorial
Advice for Beginners from the Pre-Roid, Golden Age!
CPB Champions (Armand Tanny and Vince Gironda)
The Roots of Classic Physique Building: Maxick!
The Four Mr. Americas in Clothes!
Cheating Exercises for Bulk and Power! (for CPB Intermediates)
The History of Steroids
Questions and Answers
Nutrition Corner: Summer Reducing Diet
The Classic Physique vs. the Hulk-Like Physique: Back Size & Shape
Book Review: Bodybuilding Anatomy
CPB Champions Hall of Fame: Reg Park
Classic Female Physiques (and How to Build One)
Science & the Golden Age: Be Careful of Research Reports
What the Golden Age Champs Measured: Bert Elliot
George Eiferman's Advanced Routine (for CPB Advanced Trainers)
Pictorial: George Eiferman
Net Roundup: News from Here, There, and Everywhere
Golden Age Magazine Gallery: Muscle Power magazine

Well, we hope you like this issue! Feel free to comment and post your reactions here on CPB Blog! We would love the feedback!

Thanks to Dr. Casey Butt, Ibrahim Ozcam, and Steven Banks for their contributions to this issue!

- CPB (Anthony)

P.S. For a free 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder Zine (CPBzine) - a pdf zine (i.e., "do-it-yourself" magazine) patterned after the muscle mags of the pre-roid Golden Age of Bodybuilding (of the 1940s and 50s), just email your name, the name of your city (not your actual address), state/province, and country to us at cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We don't share info with anyone. So you won't get on any unwanted lists or received any unwanted, automated email (even from us)!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Classic Physique Builder Zine Update: Winter 2010 Issue - Almost Ready for Distribution!

(Photo Above: Winter 2010 Issue of Classic Physique Builder Zine - CPBzine vol 2 no 1)

Hi Everyone!

Sorry for the sparsity of posts, but we've been putting the finishing touches on the latest issue (Winter 2010) of Classic Physique Builder Zine (CPBzine)! You can see the cover in the photo above.

The issue is complete and almost ready for distribution! We just sent pre-publication copies to the contributors and we will take the next two days to finish proof-reading. If all goes well, we should be ready to distribute by this Friday! So hang in there!

On Friday, when we start distributing the new issue, we will post a "Publication Alert" on CPB Blog, along with the table of contents for the new issue.

- CPB (Anthony)






Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Holiday Season to all Classic Physique Builders!


(Photo Above: Steve Reeves at 17 years of age - after about 1-2 years of training - a great inspiration to us all!)

Hi Everyone! Happy Holiday Season!

Just a short holiday message on Christmas Day 2009 - thanks to everyone who subscribed to CPBzine in 2009, participated in CPB Blog, CPBzine contributers, and to all CPB Blog Readers everywhere! Our numbers are growing and hopefully our message of natural, classic physique building will continue to reach a wider audience around the world!

Our next issue of Classic Physique Builder Zine (CPBzine) is scheduled to be released around Jan 15 2010 - so it will be the Winter 2010 issue (Vol 2, no 1). Everyone who subscribed to CPBzine in 2009 got all the 2009 issues. Although we said it was a 1 year, free subscription, we are extending it into 2010 (so there is no need for 2009 subscribers to renew your subscription). Those new subscribers who subscribe in 2010 will also get a free, 1 year subscription, but their subscription will begin with the Winter 2010 issue. We will make back issues available - but we will post an update about that when we get that worked out.

I will be taking a week break, beginning today and extending until Jan 2nd. I will be away from my computer, so feel free to continue to comment on any post, but the comments will probably not appear until Jan 2nd - when I return.

If you wish to subscribe to CPBzine before the New Year, please do so. If you subscribe in 2009, you will receive all the 2009 issues as well as the 2010 issues. I will process the subscriptions when I return on Jan 2, but your subscription will be entered based on the date of your email.

Again, thanks to everyone! It has been and continues to be a real pleasure to share a common interest in classic physique building with you all. It is my hope that more and more people turn away from roid-based bodybuilding and find natural, classic physique building as a healthy lifestyle. I think we've got a shot of making that come true - with your help!

All the best,

- CPB (Anthony)

P.S. If you would like a free, 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder Zine (CPBzine) - a pdf "zine" (do-it-yourself magazine) that is patterned after the muscle mags of the pre-roid Golden Age of Bodybuilding (the 1940s and 50s), just email your name, the name of your city (not your actual address), state/province, and country to cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We do not share info with anyone. So you will not get on any unwanted lists or receive any automated emails (even from us)!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Classic Physique Building: Rethinking Size!


(Photo Above: Monty Wolford - Mr. Southwest 1949, Mr. Los Angeles 1951, Mr. Venice Beach 1951)

Perhaps the most destructive aspect of roid-based, mainstream bodybuilding today is its glorification of extreme, unnatural size! When some unfortunate person begins to accept the propaganda of the mainstream, roid-based magazines that Hulk-like physiques are something to admire and attain, then sooner or later this necessitates an acceptance of the associated, unhealthy, "drug/pharmaceutical culture" that makes such extremism possible.

Fortunately, in pre-roid Golden Age Classic Physique Building (of the 1940s and 50s), there was no glorification of extreme size! Instead, the goal was to attain an aesthetically-pleasing size and symmetry that was reminiscent of the beauty of the statues of the Ancient Greek and Roman gods! This necessitated an acceptance of a "culture of health and vitality" - which is why Reeves and the other champs of the pre-roid Golden Age (of the 1940s and 50s) were proud of their health and strength as well as their physiques! (Reeves would often say that his goal was to be the healthiest person alive!) What a difference in goals and cultures!

For classic physique builders of the Golden Age and today, this freedom from being obsessed with extreme size is liberating! Why? Because our size goals are realistic and attainable while pursuing health and vitality at the same time! Take a look at the photo above of the great Monty Wolford. This photo appeared in Fall 2009 issue of Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine). Who would not want a physique like his? It is healthy, full of vitality, with classic muscular size and symmetry! Is this kind of physique attainable and realistic? Let's look at his measurements:

Height: 5'8"
Weight: 168 lbs
Neck: 16"
Arms: 16"
Calves: 16"
Chest: 44"
Forearm: 12.5"
Waist: 28.5"
Thigh: 23.5"
Wrist: 6.6"

Monty did not need 18 inch arms like Reeves to look great. Why? Reeves was 6'1", Monty was 5 inches shorter. So to achieve a classic physique like Reeves, Monty's measurements needed to be smaller to match his height (and bone structure).

Neither Reeves or Wolford obssessed about extreme size. What for anyway? Do you want to look like a cartoon (i.e., "The Hulk") or would you rather look like a Greek god?! For modern classic physique builders (CPB'ers), the choice is not a hard one. Reeves and Wolford pursued classic size & symmetry, health and vitality! So do we!

So to achieve your classic physique, you need to follow a "culture of health and vitality" along with following pre-roid Golden Age methods of proper training, proper nutrition, proper rest, and persistence. Such a "culture of health and vitality" is not only good for the body, but it is good for your spirit and character and will set you apart and enable you to be a good example for others. In this way, classic physique building not only benefits you, but also will have a positive effect on those around you. What more could you ask for?

- CPB

P.S. For a free, 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder zine (CPBzine) - a pdf zine (do-it-yourself magazine) patterned after the muscle mags of the pre-roid Golden Age of Bodybuilding (of the 1940s and 50s), just email your name, the name of your city (not your actual address), state/province, and country to cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We don't share info with anyone. So you won't get on any unwanted lists or receive unwanted, unsolicited, automated email - even from us!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Pre-Roid Golden Age Split Routine for Classic Physique Building!

(Photo Above: Joe Weider with CPB Champs Armand Tanny, Alan Stephan, Clancy Ross, and Floyd Page at the 1949 Mr. North America Contest)

In our last post, we discussed the introduction of split routines in the latter half (the 1950s) of the pre-roid Golden Age of Classic Physique Building (the 1940s and 50s). In his 1954 muscle building course (The Muscle Building Courses of the Champions), Joe Weider advocated a split routine for intermediate trainers - after they had completed a minimum of 3 months training with his full body 3 day/week routine. This is a classic upper body/lower body split that works each region twice a week for a total of 4 workouts per week.

The routine is presented here for historical purposes (so no exercise descriptions will be given). You will also note that this routine uses supersets, cheating, and peak contraction methods!

Monday - Upper Body

1. Wrestler's Bridge - 2 sets/10 reps
2. The Cheat Curl - superset with following for 2 supersets/9 reps
3. Lying Triceps Curl
4. Peak Contraction Knee Dumbbell Curl - superset with following for 2 sets/9 reps
5. Seated Dumbbell Triceps Curl
6. Wide Grip Bench Press - superset with following for 2 sets/9 reps
7. Dumbbell Side and Forward Lateral Raise, Combination
8. Bent Arm Laterals - superset with following for 2 sets/9 reps
9. Upright Rowing
10. Bent Over Rowing - 2 sets/9 reps
11. Deadlift - 2 sets/9 reps

Tuesday - Lower Body

1. Side Bend - superset with following for 2 sets/10 reps
2. Sit Up
3. Side Bend - superset with following for 2 sets/10 reps
4. Leg Raise
5. Bent Legged Sit Up - 2 sets/10 reps
6. Flat Footed Squat - superset with following for 2 sets/10 reps
7. Toe Raise
8. Iron Boot Thigh Extension - superset with following for 2 sets/10 reps
9. Thigh Curl
10. Straddle Exercise - 2 sets/10 reps
11. Goose Step - 2 sets until tired

Wednesday - Rest

Thursday - Upper Body

1. Headstrap Exercises
2. Seated Dumbbell Curl, Allternate Style - superset with following for 2 sets/9 reps
3. Triceps Rear Raise with Dumbbell
4. Zottman Curl - superset with following for 2 sets/9 reps
5. Standing Triceps Curl
6. Bench Press with a Wide Grip - superset with following for 2 sets/9 reps
7. Back and Foward Barbell Press (use 10 reps instead of 9)
8. Bent Arm Pullover - superset with following for 2 sets/9 reps
9. Shrug
10. Rowing Motion to the Waist - 2 sets/9 reps
11. Good Morning Exercise - 2 sets/9 reps

Friday - Lower Body

1. Side Bend - superset with following for 2 sets/9 reps
2. Twist Sit Up - (use 7 reps to each side instead of 9)
3. Bench Side Raise - superset with following for 2 sets/9 reps
4. Leg Raise
5. Half Sit Up, Body Twist - 2 sets/7 reps to each side
6. Parallel Squat - 2 sets/9 reps
7. Legs Split Toe Raise - 2 sets/15 reps
8. Shoulder Squat - 2 sets/9 reps
9. Combination Toe Raise - 1 set (toes straight), 1 set (toes out), 1 set (toes in)
10. Iron Boot Side Thigh Raise - 2 sets/15 reps
11. Palms Up Forearm Curl - 2 sets/15 reps
12. Palms Down Forearm Curl - 2 sets/15 reps

Saturday & Sunday - Rest

Well....that's it! Again, Joe Weider advocated this kind of routine in the early 1950s for intermediate trainers. But not everyone was on board for split training. There were still plenty of people who followed the full body 2 or 3 day a week training routines. In any case, split routines like this should be included in your "toolbox" and may be useful from time to time.

There is a lot to discuss and learn from Joe's routine here - so feel free to comment!

- CPB

P.S. For a free, 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine) - a pdf "zine" (do-it-yourself magazine) that is patterned after the muscle mags of the pre-roid Golden Age of Bodybuilding (of the 1940s and 50s), just email your name, the name of your city (not your actual address), state/province, and country to cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We don't share info with anyone. So you won't get on any unwanted lists or receive any unwanted, automated email - even from us!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Golden Age Split Routines for a Classic Physique!


(Photo above: Joe Weider, publisher of pre-roid Golden Age mags Your Physique, Muscle Power, Muscle Builder, and Mr. America)

Up until now, on CPB Blog, we have focused on covering the standard 3-day per week, full body workout schedule. This was certainly the mainstay for most, if not all, of the champs of the pre-roid, Golden Age (of the 1940s and 50s). In other words, this kind of training was how most of the CPB champs built the bulk of their classic physiques.

That being said, split training was also known and used. But, at first (through the 1940s and early 1950s), split training was used only by the champs (who had already built their physiques) a couple of weeks before a contest in order to put the finishing touches on their muscularity. They thought that this could be accomplished by slightly "overtraining" - which is what they thought split training would lead to. After the contest, they would then return to their 3-day per week, full body training. This practice was a general pattern. Some, like Reeves, stuck to their 3-day per week training right up to the contest and after! Some, like Leo Robert, liked to train 6 days a week most of the time. The bottom line is that split training was considered an advanced trainer's technique - it was not for beginners or intermediates.

In 1954 (at least as far as my research has uncovered so far), Joe Weider had a revised version of his course called "Muscle Building Courses of the Champions" that advocated a split routine for intermediate trainers. Beginners were given a 3-day per week, full body workout course that was to be followed for 3 months. After that, Joe put them on a 4 day split routine that trained the upper body twice a week (e.g., on Mon and Thu) and lower body twice a week (e.g., on Tue and Fri) - resting on Wed, Sat, and Sun. This split routine was to be followed for another 2 to 3 months (or until the gains stopped). After this, they were put on a Power & Bulk Course.

In terms of Golden Age training, Joe's advocacy might be the earliest attempt to introduce split training to intermediate trainers (rather than reserving it for advanced trainers). So, split training for intermediates is a pre-roid Golden Age training tool. Other authorities at the time did not agree with Joe's approach and stuck to the classic 3-day per week, full body schedule.

It should be noted that, in Joe's approach, split training was appropriate for intermediates, but not for beginners. This is still quite different from today where a beginner will be given a split routine right off the bat. We should also note that most of the Golden Age Champs (if not all of them - like Grimek, Reeves, Eiferman, Stephan, Ross, etc) - built their physiques with the classic 3-day per week, full body schedule. It is also clear that even after Weider advocated this type of split training for intermediates, many still followed the classic schedule. What is not clear is how many (if any) Golden Age champs built their classic physiques, as intermediates, with a split routine.

We know now, as did many in the pre-roid Golden Age, of the anabolic advantage of full body training (as opposed to split training). Still...split training is a Golden Age training technique that we should be familiar with and should include in our "tool box." Despite having less of an anabolic advantage, it does have other benefits (perhaps a good topic for discussion!).

We will explore further details of Golden Age split training in future posts!

- CPB

P.S. For a free, 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine) - a pdf "zine" (a do-it-yourself magazine) that is patterned after the muscle mags of the pre-roid Golden Age of Bodybuilding (of the 1940s and 50s) - just email us your name, the name of your city (not your actual address), state/province, and country to cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We don't share our info with anyone. So you won't get on any unwanted lists or receive any unwanted, automated email - even from us!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Publication Alert: Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine) Fall 2009 Issue Ready!

(Photo above: Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine), Fall 2009 Issue, Vol 1. No. 3)

Hi Everyone! The Fall 2009 issue of CPBzine is ready for distribution! The pdf file size is almost 10MB, so make sure you have enough room in your inbox! I will start emailing the issue out tomorrow and it may go out to everyone over a couple of days - so just sit tight!

Here is the Table of Contents:

Editorial: Help Build a Renaissance of Classic Physique Building!
Training Advice for Beginners from Floyd Page, Pro Mr. America 1948
CPB Champions (featuring Marvin Eder and Juan Ferraro)
How I Met Steve Reeves
Peary Rader's Abbreviated Program (for CPB Beginners and Intermediates)
The Sissy Squat for Classic Thighs!
Questions and Answers
Nutrition Corner: The Steve Reeves Meal Plan
The Classic Physique vs. the Hulk-Like Physique: Neck Size & Shape
Vince Gironda's Myth Versus Fact about Abdominals
CPB Champions Hall of Fame: Steve Reeves
Classic Female Physiques (and How to Build One)
Science & the Golden Age: Full Body Workouts
What the Golden Age Champs Measured: Monty Wolford
Steve Reeves' Advanced Routine (for CPB Advanced Trainers)
Pictorial: Reg Park
Net Roundup: News from Here, There, and Everywhere
Golden Age Magazine Gallery: Strength and Health magazine

Well...that's it for the Fall 2009 issue! I hope everyone likes it. Distribution should begin within 24 hours.

All the best,

- CPB (Anthony)

P.S. For a free, 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine) - a pdf zine (do-it-yourself magazine) patterned after the muscle mags of the pre-roid Golden Age of Bodybuilding - just email your name, the name of your city (not your actual address), state/province, and country to us at cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We don't share info with anyone. So you won't get on any unwanted lists or receive any automated email (even from us!).

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ab Training for a Classic Physique: Pre-Roid, Golden Age Approaches!


(Photo Above: Steve Reeves - Mr. Pacific Coast 1946, Mr. Western America 1947, Mr. America 1947, Mr. World 1948, Mr. Universe 1950)

In previous posts, we mentioned that Steve Reeves didn't directly train his abs most of the time. This is certainly true. The beginning, intermediate, and advanced routines that he followed didn't contain any direct ab exercises (see his book, Building the Classic Physique - The Natural Way available at http://www.stevereeves.com/). However, the specific routine that he used to prepare for the Mr. America and (at least one of) the Mr. Universe contests that he competed in, did contain 2 sets of knee raises on a vertical bench (with some light ankle weights). That's it!

However, it would be wrong to conclude from this that Steve did not really train his abs. On the contrary, he felt that his abs got plenty of training from all the other exercises in his routines. He noticed, for example, that when he did tricep pushdowns, he would strongly contract his abs. This was true for his other exercises as well. When you consider the amount of concentration and all-out-effort he put into every set of his exercises, then it is quite believable that his abs got plenty of training. So much so, that he didn't feel the need to train them directly. I'm sure if he had felt that his abs needed more training, he would have done more.

That being said, as we look over the pre-roid Golden Age of the 1940s and 50s, we can identify 3 basic approaches that the champs seemed to follow:

(1) The Indirect Approach - followed by Steve Reeves as described above,

(2) The "Normal" Approach - followed by those who felt the abs were just like any other muscle and needed to be exercised in the same way (this is the approach taken in the Weider 1950 Muscle Building Course),

(3) The "High Rep" Approach - followed by those who felt that the abs were a "high rep muscle" requiring training with very high reps - and even daily training (this was the approach used by Zabo).

There are pre-roid Golden Age champs who followed each approach and they all have great abs. So what can we learn from this? That all 3 approaches work!

But each approach may not work for everyone. Many people trying to gain mass find that they cannot do so when they include direct ab work in their routines (this phenomenon was noticed by Vince Gironda). Others do fine when training the abs normally. Still others can take the high rep approach. The bottom line is that you have to see what works for you.

But remember, proper exercise can only tone (tighten up) a muscle, or increase its size. There is no such thing as "spot reducing." No amount of exercise is going to define your abs (despite all the TV commercials for various ab exercisers that imply that it can). It doesn't matter what approach above you take, your "six pack" will not show if there is a layer of fat over it and ab training will not reduce that fat (even cardio is not the best way to burn up calories). So your number one "tool" for ab training is YOUR DIET!

Vince Gironda once said not to even bother training your abs until you can see them! In other words, he is making the point to GET YOUR DIET ON TRACK - lose the spare tire first! Then when you can see your abs, you can start training them and actually see the effect your exercise is having on them. Vince had other reasons for avoiding ab training during mass building, but we will save that for another time.

Just remember, if you want great abs, get your diet right first - then pick one of the three approaches above and see what works best for you.

- CPB

P.S. If you would like a free, 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine) - a pdf "zine" (do-it-yourself magazine) that is patterned after the muscle mags of the Golden Age of Bodybuilding (the 1940s and 50s) - just email your name, the name of your city (not your actual address), state/province, and country to cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We don't share our info with anyone, so you won't get on any unwanted lists or receive unwanted, automated email (spam) - even from us!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Classic Physique Definition: Principles and Practices!

(Photo Above: CPB Champ Leo Robert - Mr. Canada 1951, Mr. Universe - Pro 1955)

One of our CPB Readers asked how the pre-roid Golden Age champs achieved their definition without doing all the cardio that is popular today. This is an important question because the time will come, in building a classic physique, when you will want to improve your definition. So it is important to understand the principles and practices that they used.

First, we should re-emphasize that classic physique definition of the pre-roid Golden Age was different than the "ripped, shredded, cadaver-like" look of today. The ideal of that age (the 1940s and 50s) was to have a classic physique that "radiated with vitality and the glow of health." For this look, the muscles had to be defined, yet there had to be a higher level of bodyfat (compared to modern bodybuilders) in order to provide the skin with that radiant look of vitality and health. So they (classic physique builders and judges) were not impressed by straited gluts and seeing every subcutaneous vein. The definition they admired still recalled the muscularity seen in the ancient classical Greek sculptures of the gods and heroes.

The following list is an incomplete list of principles and practices that the pre-roid Golden Age champs used in order to achieve their classic definition. These principles and practices would have been used differently by each individual depending on their circumstances (e.g., whether they "bulked" up and needed to "trim down" or whether they stayed in shape and simply wanted to improve their muscularity a bit). So please don't think that they necessarily used all these principles at the same time. Feel free to discuss these principles and practices in our comments section. It is the comments of the CPB Readers that really enrich CPB Blog!

Here is the partial list:

1. Cut calories and lower carbs (especially starchy foods and any foods considered fattening)
2. Use a very low carb diet (Vince Gironda's approach)
3. Use a higher rep range on exercises (e.g., 12-15 reps per set)
4. Cut down the rest time between sets and exercises
5. Increase the number of exercises and sets per body part
6. Some champs did add running to their exercise regimen (this was not a universal practice)
7. Switch from a 3 day per week full body schedule to a 4, 5, or 6 day split a few weeks before a contest
8. Train with chest expanders (steel cable exercisers)
9. Take a vitamin-mineral supplement
10. Reduce salt intake
11. Don't eat between meals
12. Avoid excessive rest and do not take naps
13. Be more active in general

Again, this is a partial list (gathered from the muscle mags and courses of the pre-roid Golden Age). But it gives you a good idea. They didn't need high tech "fat burning/thermogenic" supplements or intense, daily "cardio" sessions, roids, or even extreme diets (except in the case of Vince and his very low carb approach). You will notice that their principles and practices also didn't cost a lot of money! Theirs was a simple and effective approach and left them with physiques that looked great and healthy! What more could any classic physique builder want!

- CPB

P.S. For a free 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine) - a pdf "zine" (do-it-yourself magazine) patterned after the muscles mags of the pre-roid Golden Age of Bodybuilding (the 1940s and 50s) - just email your name, the name of your city (not your actual address), state/province, and country to cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We don't share info with anyone, so you won't get on any unwanted lists or receive any unwanted, automated email (even from us!).

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Steve Reeves and Reg Park: Waist Comparisons and Individual Variation!




(Photos Above: CPB Champ Reg Park above and middle, CPB Champ Steve Reeves below)

OK...since the last post generated a bit of discussion regarding Steve Reeves waist measurement, I thought these photos above would help inform the discussion further.

I hope no one minds the "art photos" of Reg and Steve (but such photos were common in the more classical-oriented, pre-roid Golden Age of the 1940s and 50s). But these photos are similarly posed and allow us to examine Reeves' and Park's waist depth from the side.

In the photo above, Park is doing a "stomach vacuum" - trying to hold his stomach in. This is similar to what Steve is doing in the bottom photo. In the middle photo, Reg is tensing his abdominals. In both photos of Reg, his waist (to my view) seems deeper and thicker than Steve's. Nothing wrong with that! Both CPB Champs are in good form. The difference in waist thickness is probably simply a structural and genetic one.

This is very instructive in understanding the phenomenon of individual (genetic) variation. We are all different in the combination of our height, bone structure, muscle attachments, tendon lengths, etc. So when we strive to build a classic physique naturally, we will build a classic version of ourselves. Although we may greatly admire Reeves or Park or others, our classic physiques will look different from theirs just as theirs look different from each other. This is simply due to natural, individual variation. The great thing is that a classic physique will look great no matter what!

When we train naturally, these normal individual variations are developed and can be easily seen by the eye. Training under steroids exaggerates natural anatomy and thus has a tendency to "cover up" natural individual variation. That is why roid-users all look the same! The more exaggeration of anatomy there is (due to greater roid use), the more normal anatomy is "covered up" and more similar they all look!

Going back to natural training and classic physique building - if you want to build a classic V-taper, then you must approach your training in a way that will minimize your waist measurement and maximize your shoulder, chest, and lat width. If you like the thicker-waist, Greek classic ideal look, then your waist training will be different (and you can incorporate training with heavier weights along with the progressive resistance principle). Both looks (the classic Reeves physique and the classic Greek ideal) are fine and it is a matter of personal choice.

So just remember, we are inspired by photos of our favorite CPB Champs, but because of individual genetic variation, you will build a classic version of you - and that will be great!

- CPB

P.S. For a free 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine) - a pdf "zine (do-it-yourself magazine) patterned after the muscle mags of the pre-roid, Golden Age of Bodybuilding - just email your name, the name of your city (not your actual address), state/province, and country to cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We don't share our info with anyone. You won't get on any unwanted lists or receive any unwanted email (even from us)!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Classic Physique Builders!


(Above Photo: Steve Reeves pose highlighting his 29 inch waist and V-taper)

The intent of this post is to make clear to CPB Readers how we use the terms: beginner, intermediate, and avanced trainer. In planning/selecting a course of training for yourself, it is very important to understand your status or level and to follow an appropriate routine for that status or level.

Perhaps one of the most common mistakes that weight trainers make is to follow routines that are not appropriate for their level. How often have you been in the gym and seen someone who is clearly a beginner or intermediate trainer try and follow an advanced routine? In Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine), we indicate for each routine, whether it is for beginners, intermediates, or advanced trainers. So it is important to understand these terms as we use them.

Beginner CPB Trainer - is someone who: (1) has never trained with weights before, or (2) has never followed a systematic course of training - like a Golden Age muscle building course or routine.

Intermediate CPB Trainer - is someone who has followed a systematic course of training for a minimum of 3 months and who is not yet close to attaining his ideal classic physique measurements. Many trainers may spend most of their time as "intermediate trainers."

Advanced CPB Trainer - is someone who: (1) has attained their ideal classic physique measurements, or (2) is very close to attaining their ideal classic physique measurements - and thus need to specialize on one or two body parts.

So if, by these definitions, you are a Beginner CPB Trainer, then you should follow a proper beginner's routine or course. If you are an Intermediate CPB Trainer, then you should follow a routine or course for intermediates. If you are an Advanced CPB Trainer, then you can follow the advanced/specialization routines.

This simple advice, if followed, can help you avoid months and even years of frustration, and can help keep you focused on a proper course of training!

- CPB

P.S. For a free, 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine) - a pdf "zine" (do-it-yourself magazine) patterned after the muscle mags of the pre-roid, Golden Age of Bodybuilding - just email your name, the name of your city (not your address), state/province, and country to cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We don't share info with anyone. So you won't get on any unwanted lists or receive any unwanted automated email (even from us)!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Rader Abbreviated Routines for Building a Classic Physique!


(Photo Above: Classic Physique Builder John Grimek on the Cover of Peary Rader's Iron Man Magazine - Feb 53 issue)

In the pre-roid, Golden Age of Classic Physique Building (the 1940s and 50s), Peary Rader promoted a number of abbreviated routines. An abbreviated routine is a workout schedule consisting of just a few compound exercises that work the major muscle masses of the body.

Rader said that these routines were for people in the following situations:

(1) for those who have only a little time to devote to working out
(2) for those who, by their nature, seem to have low energy
(3) for those who cannot gain on heavier programs
(4) for those who want to gain weight (build mass)

We can add that abbreviated programs are also great for:

(5) breaking through a rut
(6) older trainers (who may also have lower energy and less time)
(7) true beginners (as an intro to weight training).
(8) providing a foundation of core exercises to build upon to create a larger, more varied program.

So you can see there are a lot of upsides for abbreviated programs. The downside is that they do not usually hit all parts of the body (just the major muscle masses) and so your weak areas (e.g., calves) might not get enough work. If you do not address this, you can end up with an out-of-balance physique. So they are a tool to be used properly in the appropriate circumstances.

Here is the abbreviated routine that Peary introduced in the "Rader Master Bodybuilding and Weight Gaining System" in the pre-roid, Golden Age. The core of the program is 3 exercises (plus pullovers):

1. breathing bench press 12 reps
2. breathing barbell rows 12 reps
3. breathing squats 20 reps (1st set only, other sets 10 reps),
superset with
4. breathing pullovers 20 reps (using no more than a 20 lb barbell)

The breathing bench press and rows follow the same principle as the breathing squats. You take 2 deep breaths before pushing the weight out (bench press) or pulling the weight up (rows). This really revs up the metabolism!

Although Peary put the reps at 12 for benches and rows, it would be best to use a rep range of 8-12. Use all the weight you can to barely complete 8 reps. Then work up to 12 reps (do not try to increase your reps on all exercises during the same session - focus on 1 or 2 exercises each session).

The number of sets depends on your status. If you are a true beginner, then do only 1 set per exercise for the first month. Take a week layoff every 4 weeks. Continue with 1 set until the gains slow down. Then after a week layoff, go to 2 sets. Repeat this process and work up to 3 sets.

If you are an intermediate trainer, then start with 2 sets (if you are just transitioning from being a beginner) and follow a similar process as above and work up to 4 sets. If you have been an intermediate for a while and want to use this program for mass building, then start with 4 sets and work up to 6 sets.

If you are an advanced trainer, then you know what to do! :)

Rest between sets: try 2 - 3 minutes (since you will strive to use heavy weights).

Workout Frequency: It depends on you. Do this routine no more than 3 times a week. But most will gain fine on just 2 days a week.

Remember to rest properly, eat properly (include whole eggs in your diet if you can), and be persistent! Don't do any cardio or follow any other sports activity while on this program. Get extra sleep!

In our next issue (Fall 2009) of Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine), we will go into Rader's Abbreviated Routines in more detail and show how these kind of routines can be used as a basis for creating a more varied program. So stay tuned!

- CPB

P.S. For a free, 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine) - a pdf zine patterned after the muscle mags of the pre-roid, Golden Age of Bodybuilding (of the 1940s and 50s) - just send your name, the name of your city (not your address), state/province, and country to cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is completely confidential. We don't share our info with anyone. You won't get on any unwanted lists or receive any unwanted, automated email (even from us)!