Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Joe Weider - Father of Classic Physique Building?

We have mixed feelings about Joe. On the one hand, he was certainly in the position, along with his brother Ben, to stop the take-over of classic physique building by steroid-users in the 1960s. He was in control of his magazines and he and his brother Ben were certainly at the reigns of the IFBB (International Federation of Bodybuilders). However, it may well have been that no one could have stopped it - this is what Joe says in his book Brothers of Iron. He might be right, but perhaps he could have done a lot more to prevent the decline of the Golden Age of Classic Physique Building.

That being said, no one can deny that there probably would have been no Golden Age of Classic Physique Building (from 1940 - 1959) without Joe's magazines (Your Physique, Muscle Power, Muscle Builder), training equipment, muscle-building courses, supplements, contests, and tireless and relentless promotion of bodybuilding! So what can we say? How can we not like Joe! He is rightfully recognized as the "Father of Classic Physique Building."

Joe certainly practiced what he preached. Though he never won a major title (although he did place 5th in the tall class of the 1951 Mr. Universe contest after being "forced" to enter the contest by his friend Reg Park), he certainly did build an impressive physique! He appeared several times on the cover of his first magazine - Your Physique. The above photo on the left shows Joe on the cover of The October 1944 issue. It looks like he was about 170 lbs at that time. He was certainly no Steve Reeves, but you see a developing classic physique!. The above photo on the right shows Joe sometime between 1947 - 1952. He oftern used this photo in his byline for his magazine articles. It looks like he packed on more muscle mass and his body weight is up around 200 lbs. His measurements, as reported by Sig Klein in Muscle Builder magazine in 1955 were: chest - 51 in., neck - 17.5, waist - 34.5, upper arm - 17.3, thigh - 25.2, calf - 16.8, height 5'11". These are definitely classic proportions! Not bad for a magazine publisher!


Johnny G said...

51 inch chest - almost a 19 inch arm - sweeping waist line all on a body void of drugs - all I can say is BULL - Arnold Schwarzegger when measured by inventor and founder of Nautilus Arthur Jones had a 19.5 inch biceps and a 52 inch chest - the only arm Jones ever measured over 20 inchs was Sergio Oliva at 20.5 inches - If these guys from this Golden Era want us to believe that they are being honest with their measurements then all I can say is that they are full of it - If Joe and the boys back when steroids were not around say and believe in these measurements all I can say to you and your readers is this - GET A TAPE MEASURE OUT AND MEASURE OUT 18.5 inches and measure out 51 inches and see if they beleive in these measurements - I have been around professional athletes, been around national bodybuilders and all men over state sizes and accomplishments, NOW that is NATURAL in its self - I hope that your readers will use the mirror instead of the tape measure - and again if you think I'm full of it then get a tape measure out and see what a 52 inch chest, a 18.5 inch arm, neck, and calves and a 29inch waist is on 6'1" 215lbs man is then you'll have a Steve Reeves body - Steve and the boys looked great in there time but boys will be boys and they'll pass the bull with the best as usual regardless of the times.

- CPB - said...

Hi Johnny,

I'm glad you are enjoying CPB Blog! Your comments are great!

I just want to touch on a good point that you made. It is true that in the pre-roid, Golden Age, there was some exaggeration of measurements (particularly in the last half of the Golden Age - the 1950's; there was less exaggeration in the 1940s in my view).

But as you point out, we should not get hung up on measurements. It doesn't matter whether an arm measures 17.3 or 19 inches - what matters is one's overall look - is it classic, muscular, and symmetrical? As you say, "look in the mirror"! This is what many of the Golden Age courses advised as well.

When building a classic physique, the tape measure is useful in giving some initial targets and guidelines. But the "mirror" is critical.

In CPBzine, we try to print measurement of the pre-roid, Golden Age champs that were published at the time and that seem fairly realistic to us. There may be a bit of exaggeration here and there, but even so, our point is that these classic physiques look great and preferrable to the monster, roid-drenched physiques of today.

With regard to Joe and despite some exaggeration in measurements perhaps - Joe's point was that he "practiced what he preached". He did build a respectable physique - enough to enter the 1951 Mr. Universe contest. He was no Steve Reeves, but he had a decent, classic physique during the pre-roid, Golden Age.

All the best (and thanks for the comments)!

CPB (Anthony)