Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Classic Physique Definition

Above left photo: Rich Gaspari - mainstream bodybuilder. Above right: Steve Reeves - classic physique builder

There is a real difference between in definition between the classic physique builder and a mainstream, chemically-enhanced, bodybuilder.

In the Golden Age, muscular definition was valued, but it was also expected that the skin should have a healthy glow and look about it. As Vince Gironda once found out in a competition he lost, the judges were not impressed with an "overly-defined" physique. According to their standards, it was in-fact possible to have "too much definition." Here is what Joe Weider said in an article on "Bulk and Cuts for the Legs" regarding definition in 1961 "The 'cuts' must be carved where they will enhance the esthetic appearance of the leg without making the bodybuilder look like a skinless cadaver used for anatomical instruction in a Medical College."

With the advent of steroids and other pharmaceuticals (e.g., diuretics), it was possible to achieve paper-thin skin with a very low percentage of body fat. This led to the "shredded" or "ripped" look where every muscle striation and every cutaneous vein could be seen. So what happenned? Mainstream, drug-enhanced, bodybuilders began to go to the extreme in definition (as they did with size) so that the "healthy glow of the skin" (which is due to a healthy degree of body fat) was lost and "the more ripped they were the better." So they all began to look like dissecting room cadavers. (See above left photo of Rich Gaspari - mainstream bodybuilder).

For classic physique builders, muscular definition is valued, but not the overly "ripped" or "shredded" look. Muscles should be well-defined, with muscle separation, and some natural vascularity. But the skin should have a healthy glow - which cannot be achieved with excessively low levels of body fat. The classic physique ideal embodies the look of "radiating health and vitality." This is not the dead look of a dissecting room cadaver. (See above right photo of Steve Reeves - classic physique builder).

Classic physique builders are not impressed with seeing striations in someone's gluts. They are not impressed with seeing every cutaneous vein popping out. They have no need of NO boosters to increase vascular size to the extreme. The classic physique builder look is a natural, vital, muscular, powerful, symmetrical, and atractive one. They may carry a higher degree of body fat (than modern mainstream, chemically-dependent, bodybuilders) - but that is what is necessary and desirable to truly have a classic physique that radiates with "health and vitality!"

Muscular definition - yes! Overly "ripped" and "shredded" - no need! - CPB

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Mainstream Bodybuilding Ideal - Cartoons!

Above: Ronnie Coleman - Mr Olympia (Left), He-Man Cartoon Character (Right)

Check out our new video on mainstream bodybuilding's ideal (see the video side bar)! We weren't kidding in our last post when we said that the goals and ideals of classic physique building are totally different from that of mainstream, drug-enhanced, bodybuilding. Hear for yourself that the drug-users' idols are cartoon characters like "He-man," the "X-men," and "The Thing" (from the Fantastic Four).

No wonder their physiques look "cartoonish" (see photos above)! And to think that the only way they can achieve this worthy (?) goal is by pumping their bodies full of steroids, HGH, insulin and other health-destroying drugs! What are they thinking?

At the beginning of the clip, you can see the large "roid guts" of the top contendors. At the end of the clip, you get a few seconds of the tradegy of women's mainstream bodybuilding and fitness competition.

To our point - classic physique building and modern, mainstream bodybuilding are very different in their ideals and goals! It is said that Steve Reeves not only aspired to attain a classic physique, but he also wanted to be the healthiest man alive! By the way, his idol was John Grimek - another classic physique champion. What a difference indeed! - CPB

Monday, August 18, 2008

Classic Physique Building vs Bodybuilding

Photos above: Flex (mainstream bodybuilding mag) and Muscle Power (classic physique building mag from the Golden Age)

If you visit the mainstream bodybuilding sites, blogs, and forums, you certainly find many people who value the classic physique ideal and long to see a return to it in the world of mainstream bodybuilding. However, sad to say, that will most probably never happen!

Since the advent of steroids, mainstream bodybuilding has evolved into what is now an EXTREME SPORT. It has succumbed completely to the spectre of GIGANTISM that was warned against by the magazine writers of the Golden Age. The main value of modern bodybuilding has become "SIZE AT ALL COSTS." Thus, mainstream bodybuilding can no longer be considered a healthy activity. How can it be healthy to carry so much body mass and to ingest/inject steroids, HGH, insulin, etc, in order to do it? Yet all of the mainstream bodybuilding mags hold up and promote this value! Apparently the SHOCK and ENTERTAINMENT value of GIGANTISM over-rides all other considerations.

Certainly, the mainstream bodybuilding mags may occasionally give lip service to the classic physique ideal. But even those who try to engage in "natural bodybuilding" are marginalized. The "juicing affecionados" in the mainstream forums will easily tell anyone "this is not the 1940s or 50s anymore" - as if the mainstream, drug-ridden world of bodybuilding is so much of an improvement! Perhaps in their eyes, it is. each his own. If this is what the mainstream bodybuilding world has become and will continue to be, then so be it. We do not have to follow. We should perhaps grant them the term "bodybuilding" because this term has now become so closely associated with "steroids and drugs" - so much so that "bodybuilding" is now perceived by the public as an unhealthy activity.

Instead, we will use the term CLASSIC PHYSIQUE BUILDING to describe our activity. For us, it is still effectively the 1940s and 50s (the Golden Age) - because we today (as in those times) endeavor to build our bodies naturally to achieve a healthy, aesthetically-pleasing, classic physique. The human body has not changed since the Golden Age, so the methods they perfected then to build classic physiques can be used just as well today!

Some of the tools (e.g. "weights") and principles (e.g., progressive resistance/overload) of "classic physique builders" may be similar to those of the mainstream "bodybuilders," but our training and ultimate goals are very, very different. We have our own classic physique goals, role models, training methods and tools. They have theirs. We lay claim to the Golden Age when bodybuilding was truly "classic physique building." They have all but forgotten their own history and see little value in it.

So let there be no confusion. We are interested in CLASSIC PHYSIQUE BUILDING not mainstream bodybuilding! The mainstream bodybuilding world has little to offer us. Let them go their own way! Together, we followers of the classic ideal must create our own sane and healthy world. We offer Classic Physique Builder as a first step toward this goal! - CPB

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Joe Weider - Some Regrets?

Photo Above: Joe Weider on the cover of Your Physique Magazine (Nov 1947)

Recently, Joe gave a revealing interview which leads us to believe that indeed he does have some regrets about the direction that modern mainstream bodybuilding has taken. You can find the entire article here: . But here are some selected quotes:

Interviewer: You mentioned on several occasions that while you are happy to see how bodybuilding has progressed over the years, you feel that your original message never reached the public in its entirety.

Joe: ...From the very start, I wanted bodybuilding to be seen not just as a way to build massive muscles, but also as a way to get healthy. I'm afraid that message got lost, and I still want to get it out there.

Interviewer: Do you feel that people's perception of bodybuilders must be changed for them to accept that message?

Joe: Sure. Who wants to look at a guy who is lumbering and doesn't look healthy? They want to see guys and girls who are beautiful to look at. People should look at a bodybuilder and say, "Hey! There is someone I'd like to look like." You know, bodybuilders are heroes to a lot of people, and they should look like heroes...

CPB's Take on Joe's Comments: Well...we might be misunderstanding Joe here, but if you look at all the back issues of Joe's magazines (Your Physique, Muscle Power, Muscle Builder) in the Goden Age (1940s and 50s) before steroids appeared, the bodybuilders indeed had classic physiques and looked like heroes! They often posed like the classical statues of ancient Greek hereos and gods. They received the admiration of women and guys wanted to be like them!

There is no better proof of this than Steve Reeves. Most guys would be more than happy to look like him. Most women would find his physique attractive. Now compare that with today's mainstream top bodybuilders. How many guys would honestly want to look like a Jay Cutler or Marcus Ruhl - whether on or off-season? How many women are really attracted to "Hulk-like" physiques?

Modern bodybuilding has truly lost the classic, heroic ideal and now has become an EXTREME SPORT - designed to shock and entertain perhaps - but mainstream top bodybuilders are certainly not "beautiful to look at." Yes...Joe's original vision and message has indeed been lost in mainstream bodybuilding. But, here at Classic Physique Builder, we hope to keep that original vision and message alive!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Classic Physique Mass Building Principles

Take a look at Jack Delinger (Mr Western America 1948, Mr America 1949, Mr Universe 1956) above. He was a champion of the pre-steroid Golden Age of Classic Physique Building. He (and the other champions you see here at CPB) is a shining example that it is possible to build classic mass without resorting to health-destroying drugs. In fact, during the height of the Golden Age (between 1950-59), the principles of building mass naturally were defined. These principles worked then and still work now! We will discuss them in this and other upcoming posts.

To understand some of these principles, let's take a look at Joe Weider's classic "Power and Bulk Routine" from 1954. Here are the exercises:

1. Shoulder Bridge (it was like a decline bench press)
2. Cheating Barbell Curl
3. Deadlift Off Boxes
4. Cheating Standing Lateral Raise
5. Bench Squat
6. Cheating Standing Triceps Barbell Curl
7. Cheating Bent Over Rows
8. Power Prone Press (this is basically a bench press lock-out)

Each exercise was to be performed for 2 sets of 6 reps only. The emphasis was on using heavy weights such that you could barely complete the 6th rep of the 1st set. Then after resting for 2 minutes, you might be able to complete 4-5 reps on the second set (going to failure). After a workout or two, once you could complete the 6th rep of the 2nd set, then you would increase the weight at the next workout. This process would continue as you strive to keep pushing up the weight used as you get stronger. This workout was to be done 3 days a week (e.g., M, W, and F) and all other sports activity was to be avoided. Also, getting more rest, more sleep, and eating a high protein diet was recommended. This program was to be followed for 3 months.

So what are the principles we see in this program? We can't discuss them all in this post, but here is a partial list:

1) full body workout - doing a full body workout, which includes testosterone-releasing exercises like squats and deadlifts, has a global anabolic
2) low volume, high intensity - using only a few sets (low volume), yet training to failure (high intensity) allows maximum muscle stimulation without overtraining
3) training heavy - training for power/strength stimulates a greater number of muscle fibers which results in greater muscle growth
4) cheating exercises - using a cheating style allows heavier poundages for greater muscle stimulation
5) lock-out exercises - doing a "lock-up" (just doing the last few inches of an exercise) allow much heavier poundages to be used which results in greater muscle stimulation
6) no cardio - avoids unnecessary drain on body's recuperative powers, thus more resources are channeled into muscle growth
7) compound exercises - stimulate more muscles than isolation exercises and allow for heavier poundages to be used
8) no abdominal work - diet is the key to great abdominals, not exercise
9) longer rest between sets - allows more muscle recovery which allows heavier weights to be used
10) progressive resistance (overload) - increasing the weights as muscles get stronger is key in stimulating continued muscle growth.

Compare this program to the one you are using! Are you performing a lot of reps with lighter weights? Are you following a split program and are in the gym everyday? Do you do a lot of isolation exercises and tend to use the same poundages each workout? Do you simply stop at a set number of repetitions or do you train to failure (or almost failure)? Does your exercise program consist of more than 8 exercises? Have you been doing more and more sets, but not gaining any mass? If so, then study the principles above and apply them to your routine if you want to gain mass.

In the Golden Age of Classic Physique Building, they really knew, from their own experience, what was needed to build mass! And they could do it without drugs and even without all the high-tech nutritional supplements we have today. What supplements did they have? Try this: protein powder and multivitamins! That was about it! Yet, they perfected the art of building powerful, heroic, classic physiques by discovering the principles that really work - naturally!

This should give us a lot of encouragement! You can build all the mass you need for a classic physique. The champions of the Golden Age have already laid out the path for us. All we have to do is re-discover that path and follow it! - CPB