Thursday, September 25, 2008

Classic Physique Building Inspiration: The Films of Reg Park!

(Photo above: Reg Park; Mr. Britain 1949; Mr. Europe 1950; Mr. Universe 1951; Mr. Universe - Pro 1958, 1965)

Need some more classic physique building inspiration? Check out the films of classic physique building champion Reg Park! After Steve Reeves opened the way with his "Hercules" and "Hercules Unchained" films in the late 1950s, others took over the role of Hercules in a variety of classic muscle movies in the early 1960s. Reg starred in 5 films:

1) Hercules and the Captive Women (1961)
2) Hercules in the Haunted World (1961)
3) Hercules, the Prisoner of Evil (1964)
4) Maciste in King Solomon's Mines (1964)
5) Hercules the Avenger (1965)

The films are all available today in DVD format and there are many places, such as, where you can purchase them.

Reg had a more "rugged look" than Steve Reeves, but like Steve, he was "all natural." Check out our new clips from his film "Hercules in the Haunted World" (on the sidebar). He was and still is a great inspiration to any aspiring classic physique builder! - CPB

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Classic Physique Builder Zine? Please Take Our New Poll.

(Photo above left: modern muscle mag Muscular Development, above right: Golden-Age mag Your Physique)

Are you frustrated with the modern, mainstream bodybuilding mags? We are. Just to find the table of contents, you often have to wade through 20+ pages of supplement ads! Then, of course, there is page after page of images of steroid-enhanced bodybuilders - despite the fact that most weight trainers have no desire to emulate that kind of physique.

In some mags, there is the open promotion of steroid use - to the point where they even devote a section of their table of contents to "Drugs." This preoccupation with steroids is reflected in ads for supplements that have steroid sounding names or are touted as "legal steroids."

Try reading any article on nutrition and what do you find? Half the time, the "article" that poses as a "research report" is really an ad for some supplement. And whether it is really an ad or a legitimate article, it seems that you need a degree in biochemistry to understand it! A lot of scientific studies may be cited to impress, but these articles often leave you wondering what their "findings" actually mean in terms of any real effect in making gains.

Now, when you get to an actual training article, the steroid-enhanced bodybuilders depicted are often posed with "grimacing," "growling," or "scowling" expressions, perhaps to emphasize the "monstrous" or "freaky" nature of their physiques. The photos are rarely attractive, inspiring, or uplifting. If you read the article and training advice that they give, you are left to wonder whether this advice, which works for steroid-users, will actually work for those who aren't on the "juice!"

Then, there is the shear volume of the ads! We have regularly counted the pages of the ads - which often add up to be more than half the total pages of the modern muscle mags! It is tough to locate the articles among all the ads!

This is not what the mags of the Golden Age (1940s and 50s) were like! Back then, the table of contents was typically on the 3rd page (just after the cover). The photos were of inspiring, classic physiques that were attractive and attainable. The articles were up front and center... easy to locate and read. The training advice was simple and straightforward and was based on what really worked in the gym. You could actually apply the advice and see the results for yourself - and you didn't need a degree in biochem or exercise physiology in order to understand it! There were no steroids back then, so you never had to wonder if the advice would work for a non-steroid user. The ads were far fewer and were mostly for barbells & dumbbells and training courses (ever see a weight training course advertised in a modern muscle mag?). It was impossible to confuse an "ad" for an "article." The goal promoted and valued was to attain a classic physique - one that was healthy and full of vitality.

Our frustration with the modern muscle mags has led us to the idea of putting our own muscle mag together - Classic Physique Builder Zine. A zine (rather than a magazine) is a grass roots magazine that anyone can put together. We would base Classic Physique Builder Zine after the mags of the Golden Age (like Your Physique and Muscle Power) and fill it with more in-depth articles on the methods of the Golden Age and inspiring photos of the Golden Age champs. We would put it into .pdf format and email for free to anyone who is interested. You could then print it out, put 3 staples in it, and have your own copy of a modern, Golden-Age type muscle mag! We are thinking of perhaps starting with bi-monthly issues (one issue every 2 months).

We think Classic Physique Builder Zine would fill a void for those of us that are put off by the modern bodybuilding or fitness mags and who just want to focus on getting simple and straight information about how to build a classic physique. We have an incredible archive of material from the Golden Age of Classic Physique Building that we would like to share with like-minded individuals. This zine (which would complement our CPB Blog) just might be the way to do it!

What do you think? Let us know! So far, in our first poll, there seems to be great interest in CPB classic physique training courses (based on info from the Golden Age) - so we will do our best to offer these in the near future. But, please take our new poll (that you will find on the sidebar) and let us know if a modern, Golden Age-type muscle zine (Classic Physique Builder Zine) would be something that you would be interested in. By the way, we have not tried to publicize our CPB Blog. We are hoping that "word of mouth" recommendations will grow our ranks and attract more readers. So if you like our CPB Blog, then spread the word! Eventually, together we can create a Renaissance of Classic Physique Building! And you can play an important part of that movement! - CPB

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Classic Physique Champion - Clancy Ross!

Meet Classic Physique Champion Clancy Ross (photo above) - Mr. America 1945, Mr. Pro America 1946, Mr. USA 1948. Clancy was known as "King of the Bodybuilders" back in the Golden Age (the 1940s and 50s). He was born in 1923 and passed away this year at the age of 85.

There are many good things we could say about Clancy. In addition to being a champion, he owned his own gym and wrote articles for Joe Weider's Your Physique, Muscle Power, and Muscle Builder mags. He competed against the likes of Alan Stephan, George Eiferman, and Steve Reeves and was one of the few to beat Steve Reeves in a contest.

Just look at his classic physique! It is powerful, muscular, symmetrical, and yet attractive. There is no hint of over-development or extreme definition. He is in no way fat. He has muscular definition, yet he doesn't look like an "airbrush-tanned, dissecting-room cadaver". Instead, his skin and entire physique has a healthy glow! His physique is reminescent of a classical Greek god! It is in no way "cartoonish." He is a great role model for aspiring, classic physique builders of today!

Now take a second look at his incredible physique and realize that at the time of this photo, modern nutritional supplements (like creatine, NO and testosterone boosters, pump enhancers, anabolic agents, fat burners, etc) did not exist! Even protein powders did not exist at that time. The first protein powders for bodybuilders didn't appear until 1950-51! All they had, up until that time, was proper training, proper nutrition, and proper rest. How's that for an "eye-opener?"

There is something else you can see in the photo. He is pictured holding a classical Greek column. This shows you that the classical ideal was clearly valued in the Golden Age. It was a healthy ideal which inspired the Golden Age and one which can still inspire us today! - CPB

Monday, September 8, 2008

Alan Stephan's Abbreviated Beginners Prep Routine for a Classic Physique!

(photo above - Alan Stephan, Mr. America 1946)

Are you an absolute beginner? Would you like to build a classic physique? Are you confused by all the mainstream muscle mags as to what kind of routine you should follow? Don't worry! We have a nice, absolute beginner's routine from the Golden Age of Classic Physique Building (the 1940s and 50s) that can help get you started! It was offered by Alan Stephan, Mr America 1946 in Joe Weider's Your Physique Magazine (Feb, 52 issue).

This routine is, what we would call today, an "abbreviated" routine - a very short workout of only 4 exercises - that is designed to get the absolute beginner started out in the right direction. The 4 exercises are compound (or basic) exercises which work multiple groups of muscles at the same time. This program was meant to be followed for 2 to 3 months prior to beginning a more comprehensive bodybuilding course.

If you have never lifted a weight before and have lived a sedentary life, then Alan recommended 3-4 weeks of conditioning doing walking, running, push ups, and deep knee bends before starting this program.

For this program, he recommended getting plenty of rest (9 hrs of sleep each night) and relaxation and a high protein diet consisting of meats, milk, and plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Alan said that you can see great improvements in a few weeks, in following such a program, but don't let anyone tell you that you will get a "Mr. America Physique" in a few months. It will take persistence, hard work, and following a good, comprehensive course of training.

But great things begin with the first few steps! So here is the program:

1. Bench Press, 8-12 reps, 1 set
2. Breathing Squats, 8-12 reps, 1 set
3. Bent Over Rows, 8-12 reps, 1 set
4. Press Behind Neck, 8-12 reps, 1et

Each exercise is to be done for 1 set. Pick a weight that allows you to complete only 8 reps. Then, each workout, try to increase your reps until you reach 12. When you can complete 12, then increase the weight at your next workout. Continue in this way for the course of the program. Do this program 3 days a week (e.g., M, W, F or T, Th, Sa),

For the bench press, make sure you have friends to act as "spotters". Or, these days, you can do bench presses on a Smith Machine where you can set the locks so that the bar will stop before hitting your chest.

For the breathing squats, between each squat, take 3 deep breaths. Breathing squats really kick up the metabolism and natural growth mechanisms!

For the bent over rows, keep the knees slightly bent and grasp the bar with a wide grip. Use a strict form.

For the press behind neck, perform it in a seated position. Warm-up your shoulders before hand and be careful not to use too much weight in the beginning until you know how much you can really handle.

Don't worry about doing multiple sets! By fighting to increase your reps and weights at each workout, you will be getting stronger and getting bigger. After 2 or 3 months, when you notice the gains (in strength and/or size) coming to a halt, then it will be time to switch to another beginner's program. There are many good beginner's programs to follow up Alan's Prep Routine (e.g., see Steve Reeve's beginning program by clicking on our "beginning workout routine" label on the sidebar) that will introduce you to the "set system" soon enough!

Also, don't worry that you are not doing direct exercises for each body part. The bench presses work your chest, shoulders, triceps, and even forearms. The breathing squats work your lower body. The bent over rows work your back and biceps. The press behind neck works your shoulders, triceps, and trapezius. So most of your body - and all the large muscle groups - are getting worked in this program!

CPB recommends starting a training log to keep track of your reps and poundages for each exercise. Don't rely on just your memory. It is critical, for making gains, to increase your reps and weights each workout if you can. So you really need to know what you did at your last workout. You need to be very systematic in your training. You don't want to be one of those who wonders around the gym, doing endless numbers of sets and reps, and getting nowhere. We are sure you want to use "Golden Age Methods to attain a Golden Age Physique!" - CPB

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Classic Physique Goal Setting - Train for Proportion & Symmetry, Not Just Size!

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

Once you've decided to embark on your destination of building a classic physique, the next step is to have a good "road map." It is critical, at the outset, that (1) you have a clear understanding of what a classic physique is, and (2) clear goals in terms of size and symmetry.

In previous posts (click on the Classic Physique Ideal and Classic Physique vs Hulk-like Physique labels on the side bar), we have reviewed the characteristics of a classic physique. The basic symmetry and proportion goals for a classic physique are:

1) neck, arms, and calves measure the same (or very close)
2) broad shoulders (without overdeveloped traps),
3) narrow waist and hips (with broad shoulders to create that "V-taper")
4) straight legs (without overdeveloped adductors)

In terms of size goals, a good place to start is by becoming familiar with the measurements of the Mr. America champions of the pre-steroid, Golden Age of Classic Physique Building (1940-1959/60). You can find an article at the musclememory website that lists their measurements by clicking here: Look at their height and compare it to your own. Look at the size of their neck or arm. That will give you a good idea of what you can shoot for in terms of size. Now, perhaps you might have larger bone structure and can be a bit bigger, or perhaps you have smaller bone structure and will be a bit smaller. But it gives you a good, ball-park starting size goal. Once you see their arm or neck measurement (for your height), then you have a general size goal.

How can you apply these symmetry and size goals? Let's give an example. First, measure your neck, arm, and calves. Which of these three is the largest? Let's suppose that your neck is the largest measurement. Perhaps arms are next, with calves being the smallest. In that case, the first step would be to bring your arms and calves up to your neck measurement. Because your arms are larger than your calves, they will probably reach the goal first. After that, then you would focus more on your calves (backing off a bit on arms) - until all 3 (neck, arms, and calves) finally have the same measurement. Then, with your body in symmetry, you would adjust your training to bring up the mass for all three until your reached your overall size goal. The point is that your goal, at the outset, should be proportion & symmetry, not just size.

When Steve Reeves began building his classic physique as a beginner, his calves were already 16 inches, while his arms were only 13 inches. So he didn't even train his calves at all until his arms and neck matched his calves. Then, when they all measured 16 inches, he then brought up their mass together until they all measured 18 1/4 inches. So, as a beginner, his goal was proportion and symmetry, not just size.

By the way, Steve did not directly train his abs! Why? He didn't want to make his waist larger - which would reduce his shoulder-waist "V-taper". We all have "six-packs" already (that is the way the rectus abdominis is naturally constructed) and it is a proper definition diet that will bring them out. Exercising the abs and obliques will only make the waist larger - which is not desirable for a classic physique. So think twice before you do all those side bends! If your waist is not naturally narrow, it is even more important not to increase the size of the muscles of the waist! Ab training is really "in" these days, but just be careful. Keep a close eye on your waist measurement, and if ab training is making your waist larger, then you will probably want to "back off" if you want to build a classic physique.

So keep your symmetry and size goals clearly in mind at the outset. Adjust your training to achieve those goals. With a clear "road map" of these goals, you will reach your destination more easily and won't fall into the trap of just building the "T-shirt" muscles (biceps and chest) while walking around on "tooth-pick" legs - a common site in today's gym's and fitness centers!

There is much more that we could say here, but this is perhaps enough to get you going in the right direction! - CPB