Friday, August 31, 2007

Steve Reeve's Beginning Workout Routine for Building A Classic Physique

When Steve Reeves started weight training, he was 16 years old and weighed 156 lbs. Here is his beginning workout schedule that he followed for his first 4 months of training. For the first the first 3 months, he did one set of each exercise (with as much weight as he could handle). For his 4th month, he did two sets of each exercise. He trained 3 days a week. When he could get up to 12 reps, he would increase the weight.

Warm up: Dumbbell Swings (20 reps)
Cleans (10 reps)
Military Press (10 reps)
Bench (Supine) Press (10 reps)
Rowing (10 reps)
Reverse Barbell Curl (10 reps)
Regular Barbell Curl (10 reps)
Squats (10 reps)
Breathing Dumbbell Pullover (10 reps)
Good mornings (10 reps)
Breathing Lateral Raise (10 reps)

After 4 months training in his garage, he moved to Ed Yarick's Gym. Ed (a well-known bodybuilding coach in the 1940s) put him on an intermediate schedule. But in his beginning and intermediate workout schedules, Steve did not train his calves. Why? Because when he began weight training, his arms were only 13 1/2" and his calves were aleady 16". So with the intention of balancing his physique, he did not train his calves until his arms were 16". Then he built up his arms, neck, and calves up together. So Steve recognized the importance of having a balanced, symmetrical physique from the beginning!


Anonymous said...

How come he didn't have any exercise for his triceps but barbell curls for his biceps?

- CPB - said...

Hi Anonymous,

Good question! In his beginning routine, Steve did not have any "isolation" exercises for triceps. Instead, he had 3 compound exercises that worked the triceps as well as other muscles: the military press, bench press, and dumbbell pullovers.

With the exception of the dumbbell pullovers, the compound exercises allow more weight to be used and so his triceps got plenty of work!

The use of compound exercises (versus isolation exercises) was a common feature of beginner routines in the Golden Age!

All the best,