(Above: Steve Reeves doing incline presses)
In a previous post, we discussed Steve Reeves' beginning workout routine (click on the sidebar label "beginning workout routine"). It was a routine that he put together, at the age of 16 (in 1942), after doing a lot of reading in magazines such as Bob Hoffman's Strength and Health. Steve said that it was a good routine and that he gained about 8 pounds on it in about 4 months.
After that, Steve started to train in Ed Yarick's Gym in Oakland, CA. This was one of the premier gyms on the West Coast in the early 1940s. Ed put Steve on an intermediate workout routine that Steve called his "Second Workout Schedule." In just four months on this routine under Ed's supervision, Steve gained 30 pounds!
Now, we must remember that Steve was 16 and so he had a lot of natural, high levels of testosterone circulating in his system. Under Ed's supervision, he was also resting and eating properly. But, that being said, this is a great, full body routine of 14 exercises that can produce results in a short period of time for the intermediate classic physique builder!
Here is the routine (amwp = as much weight as possible):
Warm-Up: Dumbbell Swings Exercises
1. Upright Rowing - 3 sets, 15-20 reps (use moderate weight)
2. Bench Press - 3 sets, 8-12 reps (amwp)
3. 1 Arm Dumbbell Rows - 3 sets, 8-12 reps (amwp)
4. Dumbbell Flyes - 3 sets, 8-12 reps (amwp)
5. Incline Press - 3 sets, 8-12 reps (decreasing weight each set)
6. Triceps Pushdowns - 3 sets, 8-12 reps (amwp)
7. Barbell Curls - 3 sets, 8-12 reps (amwp)
8. Seated Dumbbell Curls - 3 sets, 8-12 reps (amwp)
9. Full Squats - 3 sets, 8-12 reps (amwp)
10. Pullovers - 3 sets, 8-12 reps (amwp)
11. Breathing Squats - 1 set, 20 reps (amwp)
12. Breathing Pullovers - 1 set 20 reps (amwp)
13. Deadlifts, 2 sets, 8-12 reps (amwp)
14. Good Mornings - 2 sets, 8-12 reps (amwp)
So there you have it! This is a full body routine that Steve followed 3 days a week (e.g., M, W, and F). Today, there is scientific research that shows that exercises such as squats release a substantial amount of testosterone. So doing a full body routine with squats can result in an extra boost of growth for the entire body. In the Golden Age of Classic Physique Building (the 1940s and 50s), they didn't have this research, but they knew this from their own training experience. Certainly, Steve made great gains on this routine in 4 months!
For complete exercise descriptions and other insights into his training, see Steve's book Building the Classic Physique the Natural Way which is available through the Steve Reeves International Society at http://www.stevereeves.com/. It is a great book that we highly recommend.
We report Steve's intermediate routine - without any changes - for historical purposes. This is indeed the routine that he actually followed. However, CPB does not recommend doing the "Good Morning" exercise because we feel it is too easy to get injured. We believe Steve's routine would be just fine if this one exercise were dropped.
This isn't the only type of intermediate training schedule that we find in the Golden Age. There are many other routines. However, this one certainly worked for Steve. So if you are an intermediate classic physique builder, perhaps it can work for you as well! - CPB