Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Holiday Season to all Classic Physique Builders!


(Photo Above: Steve Reeves at 17 years of age - after about 1-2 years of training - a great inspiration to us all!)

Hi Everyone! Happy Holiday Season!

Just a short holiday message on Christmas Day 2009 - thanks to everyone who subscribed to CPBzine in 2009, participated in CPB Blog, CPBzine contributers, and to all CPB Blog Readers everywhere! Our numbers are growing and hopefully our message of natural, classic physique building will continue to reach a wider audience around the world!

Our next issue of Classic Physique Builder Zine (CPBzine) is scheduled to be released around Jan 15 2010 - so it will be the Winter 2010 issue (Vol 2, no 1). Everyone who subscribed to CPBzine in 2009 got all the 2009 issues. Although we said it was a 1 year, free subscription, we are extending it into 2010 (so there is no need for 2009 subscribers to renew your subscription). Those new subscribers who subscribe in 2010 will also get a free, 1 year subscription, but their subscription will begin with the Winter 2010 issue. We will make back issues available - but we will post an update about that when we get that worked out.

I will be taking a week break, beginning today and extending until Jan 2nd. I will be away from my computer, so feel free to continue to comment on any post, but the comments will probably not appear until Jan 2nd - when I return.

If you wish to subscribe to CPBzine before the New Year, please do so. If you subscribe in 2009, you will receive all the 2009 issues as well as the 2010 issues. I will process the subscriptions when I return on Jan 2, but your subscription will be entered based on the date of your email.

Again, thanks to everyone! It has been and continues to be a real pleasure to share a common interest in classic physique building with you all. It is my hope that more and more people turn away from roid-based bodybuilding and find natural, classic physique building as a healthy lifestyle. I think we've got a shot of making that come true - with your help!

All the best,

- CPB (Anthony)

P.S. If you would like a free, 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder Zine (CPBzine) - a pdf "zine" (do-it-yourself magazine) that is patterned after the muscle mags of the pre-roid Golden Age of Bodybuilding (the 1940s and 50s), just email your name, the name of your city (not your actual address), state/province, and country to cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We do not share info with anyone. So you will not get on any unwanted lists or receive any automated emails (even from us)!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Classic Physique Building: Rethinking Size!


(Photo Above: Monty Wolford - Mr. Southwest 1949, Mr. Los Angeles 1951, Mr. Venice Beach 1951)

Perhaps the most destructive aspect of roid-based, mainstream bodybuilding today is its glorification of extreme, unnatural size! When some unfortunate person begins to accept the propaganda of the mainstream, roid-based magazines that Hulk-like physiques are something to admire and attain, then sooner or later this necessitates an acceptance of the associated, unhealthy, "drug/pharmaceutical culture" that makes such extremism possible.

Fortunately, in pre-roid Golden Age Classic Physique Building (of the 1940s and 50s), there was no glorification of extreme size! Instead, the goal was to attain an aesthetically-pleasing size and symmetry that was reminiscent of the beauty of the statues of the Ancient Greek and Roman gods! This necessitated an acceptance of a "culture of health and vitality" - which is why Reeves and the other champs of the pre-roid Golden Age (of the 1940s and 50s) were proud of their health and strength as well as their physiques! (Reeves would often say that his goal was to be the healthiest person alive!) What a difference in goals and cultures!

For classic physique builders of the Golden Age and today, this freedom from being obsessed with extreme size is liberating! Why? Because our size goals are realistic and attainable while pursuing health and vitality at the same time! Take a look at the photo above of the great Monty Wolford. This photo appeared in Fall 2009 issue of Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine). Who would not want a physique like his? It is healthy, full of vitality, with classic muscular size and symmetry! Is this kind of physique attainable and realistic? Let's look at his measurements:

Height: 5'8"
Weight: 168 lbs
Neck: 16"
Arms: 16"
Calves: 16"
Chest: 44"
Forearm: 12.5"
Waist: 28.5"
Thigh: 23.5"
Wrist: 6.6"

Monty did not need 18 inch arms like Reeves to look great. Why? Reeves was 6'1", Monty was 5 inches shorter. So to achieve a classic physique like Reeves, Monty's measurements needed to be smaller to match his height (and bone structure).

Neither Reeves or Wolford obssessed about extreme size. What for anyway? Do you want to look like a cartoon (i.e., "The Hulk") or would you rather look like a Greek god?! For modern classic physique builders (CPB'ers), the choice is not a hard one. Reeves and Wolford pursued classic size & symmetry, health and vitality! So do we!

So to achieve your classic physique, you need to follow a "culture of health and vitality" along with following pre-roid Golden Age methods of proper training, proper nutrition, proper rest, and persistence. Such a "culture of health and vitality" is not only good for the body, but it is good for your spirit and character and will set you apart and enable you to be a good example for others. In this way, classic physique building not only benefits you, but also will have a positive effect on those around you. What more could you ask for?

- CPB

P.S. For a free, 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder zine (CPBzine) - a pdf zine (do-it-yourself magazine) patterned after the muscle mags of the pre-roid Golden Age of Bodybuilding (of the 1940s and 50s), just email your name, the name of your city (not your actual address), state/province, and country to cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We don't share info with anyone. So you won't get on any unwanted lists or receive unwanted, unsolicited, automated email - even from us!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Pre-Roid Golden Age Split Routine for Classic Physique Building!

(Photo Above: Joe Weider with CPB Champs Armand Tanny, Alan Stephan, Clancy Ross, and Floyd Page at the 1949 Mr. North America Contest)

In our last post, we discussed the introduction of split routines in the latter half (the 1950s) of the pre-roid Golden Age of Classic Physique Building (the 1940s and 50s). In his 1954 muscle building course (The Muscle Building Courses of the Champions), Joe Weider advocated a split routine for intermediate trainers - after they had completed a minimum of 3 months training with his full body 3 day/week routine. This is a classic upper body/lower body split that works each region twice a week for a total of 4 workouts per week.

The routine is presented here for historical purposes (so no exercise descriptions will be given). You will also note that this routine uses supersets, cheating, and peak contraction methods!

Monday - Upper Body

1. Wrestler's Bridge - 2 sets/10 reps
2. The Cheat Curl - superset with following for 2 supersets/9 reps
3. Lying Triceps Curl
4. Peak Contraction Knee Dumbbell Curl - superset with following for 2 sets/9 reps
5. Seated Dumbbell Triceps Curl
6. Wide Grip Bench Press - superset with following for 2 sets/9 reps
7. Dumbbell Side and Forward Lateral Raise, Combination
8. Bent Arm Laterals - superset with following for 2 sets/9 reps
9. Upright Rowing
10. Bent Over Rowing - 2 sets/9 reps
11. Deadlift - 2 sets/9 reps

Tuesday - Lower Body

1. Side Bend - superset with following for 2 sets/10 reps
2. Sit Up
3. Side Bend - superset with following for 2 sets/10 reps
4. Leg Raise
5. Bent Legged Sit Up - 2 sets/10 reps
6. Flat Footed Squat - superset with following for 2 sets/10 reps
7. Toe Raise
8. Iron Boot Thigh Extension - superset with following for 2 sets/10 reps
9. Thigh Curl
10. Straddle Exercise - 2 sets/10 reps
11. Goose Step - 2 sets until tired

Wednesday - Rest

Thursday - Upper Body

1. Headstrap Exercises
2. Seated Dumbbell Curl, Allternate Style - superset with following for 2 sets/9 reps
3. Triceps Rear Raise with Dumbbell
4. Zottman Curl - superset with following for 2 sets/9 reps
5. Standing Triceps Curl
6. Bench Press with a Wide Grip - superset with following for 2 sets/9 reps
7. Back and Foward Barbell Press (use 10 reps instead of 9)
8. Bent Arm Pullover - superset with following for 2 sets/9 reps
9. Shrug
10. Rowing Motion to the Waist - 2 sets/9 reps
11. Good Morning Exercise - 2 sets/9 reps

Friday - Lower Body

1. Side Bend - superset with following for 2 sets/9 reps
2. Twist Sit Up - (use 7 reps to each side instead of 9)
3. Bench Side Raise - superset with following for 2 sets/9 reps
4. Leg Raise
5. Half Sit Up, Body Twist - 2 sets/7 reps to each side
6. Parallel Squat - 2 sets/9 reps
7. Legs Split Toe Raise - 2 sets/15 reps
8. Shoulder Squat - 2 sets/9 reps
9. Combination Toe Raise - 1 set (toes straight), 1 set (toes out), 1 set (toes in)
10. Iron Boot Side Thigh Raise - 2 sets/15 reps
11. Palms Up Forearm Curl - 2 sets/15 reps
12. Palms Down Forearm Curl - 2 sets/15 reps

Saturday & Sunday - Rest

Well....that's it! Again, Joe Weider advocated this kind of routine in the early 1950s for intermediate trainers. But not everyone was on board for split training. There were still plenty of people who followed the full body 2 or 3 day a week training routines. In any case, split routines like this should be included in your "toolbox" and may be useful from time to time.

There is a lot to discuss and learn from Joe's routine here - so feel free to comment!

- CPB

P.S. For a free, 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine) - a pdf "zine" (do-it-yourself magazine) that is patterned after the muscle mags of the pre-roid Golden Age of Bodybuilding (of the 1940s and 50s), just email your name, the name of your city (not your actual address), state/province, and country to cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We don't share info with anyone. So you won't get on any unwanted lists or receive any unwanted, automated email - even from us!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Golden Age Split Routines for a Classic Physique!


(Photo above: Joe Weider, publisher of pre-roid Golden Age mags Your Physique, Muscle Power, Muscle Builder, and Mr. America)

Up until now, on CPB Blog, we have focused on covering the standard 3-day per week, full body workout schedule. This was certainly the mainstay for most, if not all, of the champs of the pre-roid, Golden Age (of the 1940s and 50s). In other words, this kind of training was how most of the CPB champs built the bulk of their classic physiques.

That being said, split training was also known and used. But, at first (through the 1940s and early 1950s), split training was used only by the champs (who had already built their physiques) a couple of weeks before a contest in order to put the finishing touches on their muscularity. They thought that this could be accomplished by slightly "overtraining" - which is what they thought split training would lead to. After the contest, they would then return to their 3-day per week, full body training. This practice was a general pattern. Some, like Reeves, stuck to their 3-day per week training right up to the contest and after! Some, like Leo Robert, liked to train 6 days a week most of the time. The bottom line is that split training was considered an advanced trainer's technique - it was not for beginners or intermediates.

In 1954 (at least as far as my research has uncovered so far), Joe Weider had a revised version of his course called "Muscle Building Courses of the Champions" that advocated a split routine for intermediate trainers. Beginners were given a 3-day per week, full body workout course that was to be followed for 3 months. After that, Joe put them on a 4 day split routine that trained the upper body twice a week (e.g., on Mon and Thu) and lower body twice a week (e.g., on Tue and Fri) - resting on Wed, Sat, and Sun. This split routine was to be followed for another 2 to 3 months (or until the gains stopped). After this, they were put on a Power & Bulk Course.

In terms of Golden Age training, Joe's advocacy might be the earliest attempt to introduce split training to intermediate trainers (rather than reserving it for advanced trainers). So, split training for intermediates is a pre-roid Golden Age training tool. Other authorities at the time did not agree with Joe's approach and stuck to the classic 3-day per week, full body schedule.

It should be noted that, in Joe's approach, split training was appropriate for intermediates, but not for beginners. This is still quite different from today where a beginner will be given a split routine right off the bat. We should also note that most of the Golden Age Champs (if not all of them - like Grimek, Reeves, Eiferman, Stephan, Ross, etc) - built their physiques with the classic 3-day per week, full body schedule. It is also clear that even after Weider advocated this type of split training for intermediates, many still followed the classic schedule. What is not clear is how many (if any) Golden Age champs built their classic physiques, as intermediates, with a split routine.

We know now, as did many in the pre-roid Golden Age, of the anabolic advantage of full body training (as opposed to split training). Still...split training is a Golden Age training technique that we should be familiar with and should include in our "tool box." Despite having less of an anabolic advantage, it does have other benefits (perhaps a good topic for discussion!).

We will explore further details of Golden Age split training in future posts!

- CPB

P.S. For a free, 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine) - a pdf "zine" (a do-it-yourself magazine) that is patterned after the muscle mags of the pre-roid Golden Age of Bodybuilding (of the 1940s and 50s) - just email us your name, the name of your city (not your actual address), state/province, and country to cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We don't share our info with anyone. So you won't get on any unwanted lists or receive any unwanted, automated email - even from us!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Publication Alert: Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine) Fall 2009 Issue Ready!

(Photo above: Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine), Fall 2009 Issue, Vol 1. No. 3)

Hi Everyone! The Fall 2009 issue of CPBzine is ready for distribution! The pdf file size is almost 10MB, so make sure you have enough room in your inbox! I will start emailing the issue out tomorrow and it may go out to everyone over a couple of days - so just sit tight!

Here is the Table of Contents:

Editorial: Help Build a Renaissance of Classic Physique Building!
Training Advice for Beginners from Floyd Page, Pro Mr. America 1948
CPB Champions (featuring Marvin Eder and Juan Ferraro)
How I Met Steve Reeves
Peary Rader's Abbreviated Program (for CPB Beginners and Intermediates)
The Sissy Squat for Classic Thighs!
Questions and Answers
Nutrition Corner: The Steve Reeves Meal Plan
The Classic Physique vs. the Hulk-Like Physique: Neck Size & Shape
Vince Gironda's Myth Versus Fact about Abdominals
CPB Champions Hall of Fame: Steve Reeves
Classic Female Physiques (and How to Build One)
Science & the Golden Age: Full Body Workouts
What the Golden Age Champs Measured: Monty Wolford
Steve Reeves' Advanced Routine (for CPB Advanced Trainers)
Pictorial: Reg Park
Net Roundup: News from Here, There, and Everywhere
Golden Age Magazine Gallery: Strength and Health magazine

Well...that's it for the Fall 2009 issue! I hope everyone likes it. Distribution should begin within 24 hours.

All the best,

- CPB (Anthony)

P.S. For a free, 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine) - a pdf zine (do-it-yourself magazine) patterned after the muscle mags of the pre-roid Golden Age of Bodybuilding - just email your name, the name of your city (not your actual address), state/province, and country to us at cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We don't share info with anyone. So you won't get on any unwanted lists or receive any automated email (even from us!).

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ab Training for a Classic Physique: Pre-Roid, Golden Age Approaches!


(Photo Above: Steve Reeves - Mr. Pacific Coast 1946, Mr. Western America 1947, Mr. America 1947, Mr. World 1948, Mr. Universe 1950)

In previous posts, we mentioned that Steve Reeves didn't directly train his abs most of the time. This is certainly true. The beginning, intermediate, and advanced routines that he followed didn't contain any direct ab exercises (see his book, Building the Classic Physique - The Natural Way available at http://www.stevereeves.com/). However, the specific routine that he used to prepare for the Mr. America and (at least one of) the Mr. Universe contests that he competed in, did contain 2 sets of knee raises on a vertical bench (with some light ankle weights). That's it!

However, it would be wrong to conclude from this that Steve did not really train his abs. On the contrary, he felt that his abs got plenty of training from all the other exercises in his routines. He noticed, for example, that when he did tricep pushdowns, he would strongly contract his abs. This was true for his other exercises as well. When you consider the amount of concentration and all-out-effort he put into every set of his exercises, then it is quite believable that his abs got plenty of training. So much so, that he didn't feel the need to train them directly. I'm sure if he had felt that his abs needed more training, he would have done more.

That being said, as we look over the pre-roid Golden Age of the 1940s and 50s, we can identify 3 basic approaches that the champs seemed to follow:

(1) The Indirect Approach - followed by Steve Reeves as described above,

(2) The "Normal" Approach - followed by those who felt the abs were just like any other muscle and needed to be exercised in the same way (this is the approach taken in the Weider 1950 Muscle Building Course),

(3) The "High Rep" Approach - followed by those who felt that the abs were a "high rep muscle" requiring training with very high reps - and even daily training (this was the approach used by Zabo).

There are pre-roid Golden Age champs who followed each approach and they all have great abs. So what can we learn from this? That all 3 approaches work!

But each approach may not work for everyone. Many people trying to gain mass find that they cannot do so when they include direct ab work in their routines (this phenomenon was noticed by Vince Gironda). Others do fine when training the abs normally. Still others can take the high rep approach. The bottom line is that you have to see what works for you.

But remember, proper exercise can only tone (tighten up) a muscle, or increase its size. There is no such thing as "spot reducing." No amount of exercise is going to define your abs (despite all the TV commercials for various ab exercisers that imply that it can). It doesn't matter what approach above you take, your "six pack" will not show if there is a layer of fat over it and ab training will not reduce that fat (even cardio is not the best way to burn up calories). So your number one "tool" for ab training is YOUR DIET!

Vince Gironda once said not to even bother training your abs until you can see them! In other words, he is making the point to GET YOUR DIET ON TRACK - lose the spare tire first! Then when you can see your abs, you can start training them and actually see the effect your exercise is having on them. Vince had other reasons for avoiding ab training during mass building, but we will save that for another time.

Just remember, if you want great abs, get your diet right first - then pick one of the three approaches above and see what works best for you.

- CPB

P.S. If you would like a free, 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine) - a pdf "zine" (do-it-yourself magazine) that is patterned after the muscle mags of the Golden Age of Bodybuilding (the 1940s and 50s) - just email your name, the name of your city (not your actual address), state/province, and country to cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We don't share our info with anyone, so you won't get on any unwanted lists or receive unwanted, automated email (spam) - even from us!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Classic Physique Definition: Principles and Practices!

(Photo Above: CPB Champ Leo Robert - Mr. Canada 1951, Mr. Universe - Pro 1955)

One of our CPB Readers asked how the pre-roid Golden Age champs achieved their definition without doing all the cardio that is popular today. This is an important question because the time will come, in building a classic physique, when you will want to improve your definition. So it is important to understand the principles and practices that they used.

First, we should re-emphasize that classic physique definition of the pre-roid Golden Age was different than the "ripped, shredded, cadaver-like" look of today. The ideal of that age (the 1940s and 50s) was to have a classic physique that "radiated with vitality and the glow of health." For this look, the muscles had to be defined, yet there had to be a higher level of bodyfat (compared to modern bodybuilders) in order to provide the skin with that radiant look of vitality and health. So they (classic physique builders and judges) were not impressed by straited gluts and seeing every subcutaneous vein. The definition they admired still recalled the muscularity seen in the ancient classical Greek sculptures of the gods and heroes.

The following list is an incomplete list of principles and practices that the pre-roid Golden Age champs used in order to achieve their classic definition. These principles and practices would have been used differently by each individual depending on their circumstances (e.g., whether they "bulked" up and needed to "trim down" or whether they stayed in shape and simply wanted to improve their muscularity a bit). So please don't think that they necessarily used all these principles at the same time. Feel free to discuss these principles and practices in our comments section. It is the comments of the CPB Readers that really enrich CPB Blog!

Here is the partial list:

1. Cut calories and lower carbs (especially starchy foods and any foods considered fattening)
2. Use a very low carb diet (Vince Gironda's approach)
3. Use a higher rep range on exercises (e.g., 12-15 reps per set)
4. Cut down the rest time between sets and exercises
5. Increase the number of exercises and sets per body part
6. Some champs did add running to their exercise regimen (this was not a universal practice)
7. Switch from a 3 day per week full body schedule to a 4, 5, or 6 day split a few weeks before a contest
8. Train with chest expanders (steel cable exercisers)
9. Take a vitamin-mineral supplement
10. Reduce salt intake
11. Don't eat between meals
12. Avoid excessive rest and do not take naps
13. Be more active in general

Again, this is a partial list (gathered from the muscle mags and courses of the pre-roid Golden Age). But it gives you a good idea. They didn't need high tech "fat burning/thermogenic" supplements or intense, daily "cardio" sessions, roids, or even extreme diets (except in the case of Vince and his very low carb approach). You will notice that their principles and practices also didn't cost a lot of money! Theirs was a simple and effective approach and left them with physiques that looked great and healthy! What more could any classic physique builder want!

- CPB

P.S. For a free 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine) - a pdf "zine" (do-it-yourself magazine) patterned after the muscles mags of the pre-roid Golden Age of Bodybuilding (the 1940s and 50s) - just email your name, the name of your city (not your actual address), state/province, and country to cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We don't share info with anyone, so you won't get on any unwanted lists or receive any unwanted, automated email (even from us!).

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Steve Reeves and Reg Park: Waist Comparisons and Individual Variation!




(Photos Above: CPB Champ Reg Park above and middle, CPB Champ Steve Reeves below)

OK...since the last post generated a bit of discussion regarding Steve Reeves waist measurement, I thought these photos above would help inform the discussion further.

I hope no one minds the "art photos" of Reg and Steve (but such photos were common in the more classical-oriented, pre-roid Golden Age of the 1940s and 50s). But these photos are similarly posed and allow us to examine Reeves' and Park's waist depth from the side.

In the photo above, Park is doing a "stomach vacuum" - trying to hold his stomach in. This is similar to what Steve is doing in the bottom photo. In the middle photo, Reg is tensing his abdominals. In both photos of Reg, his waist (to my view) seems deeper and thicker than Steve's. Nothing wrong with that! Both CPB Champs are in good form. The difference in waist thickness is probably simply a structural and genetic one.

This is very instructive in understanding the phenomenon of individual (genetic) variation. We are all different in the combination of our height, bone structure, muscle attachments, tendon lengths, etc. So when we strive to build a classic physique naturally, we will build a classic version of ourselves. Although we may greatly admire Reeves or Park or others, our classic physiques will look different from theirs just as theirs look different from each other. This is simply due to natural, individual variation. The great thing is that a classic physique will look great no matter what!

When we train naturally, these normal individual variations are developed and can be easily seen by the eye. Training under steroids exaggerates natural anatomy and thus has a tendency to "cover up" natural individual variation. That is why roid-users all look the same! The more exaggeration of anatomy there is (due to greater roid use), the more normal anatomy is "covered up" and more similar they all look!

Going back to natural training and classic physique building - if you want to build a classic V-taper, then you must approach your training in a way that will minimize your waist measurement and maximize your shoulder, chest, and lat width. If you like the thicker-waist, Greek classic ideal look, then your waist training will be different (and you can incorporate training with heavier weights along with the progressive resistance principle). Both looks (the classic Reeves physique and the classic Greek ideal) are fine and it is a matter of personal choice.

So just remember, we are inspired by photos of our favorite CPB Champs, but because of individual genetic variation, you will build a classic version of you - and that will be great!

- CPB

P.S. For a free 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine) - a pdf "zine (do-it-yourself magazine) patterned after the muscle mags of the pre-roid, Golden Age of Bodybuilding - just email your name, the name of your city (not your actual address), state/province, and country to cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We don't share our info with anyone. You won't get on any unwanted lists or receive any unwanted email (even from us)!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Classic Physique Builders!


(Above Photo: Steve Reeves pose highlighting his 29 inch waist and V-taper)

The intent of this post is to make clear to CPB Readers how we use the terms: beginner, intermediate, and avanced trainer. In planning/selecting a course of training for yourself, it is very important to understand your status or level and to follow an appropriate routine for that status or level.

Perhaps one of the most common mistakes that weight trainers make is to follow routines that are not appropriate for their level. How often have you been in the gym and seen someone who is clearly a beginner or intermediate trainer try and follow an advanced routine? In Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine), we indicate for each routine, whether it is for beginners, intermediates, or advanced trainers. So it is important to understand these terms as we use them.

Beginner CPB Trainer - is someone who: (1) has never trained with weights before, or (2) has never followed a systematic course of training - like a Golden Age muscle building course or routine.

Intermediate CPB Trainer - is someone who has followed a systematic course of training for a minimum of 3 months and who is not yet close to attaining his ideal classic physique measurements. Many trainers may spend most of their time as "intermediate trainers."

Advanced CPB Trainer - is someone who: (1) has attained their ideal classic physique measurements, or (2) is very close to attaining their ideal classic physique measurements - and thus need to specialize on one or two body parts.

So if, by these definitions, you are a Beginner CPB Trainer, then you should follow a proper beginner's routine or course. If you are an Intermediate CPB Trainer, then you should follow a routine or course for intermediates. If you are an Advanced CPB Trainer, then you can follow the advanced/specialization routines.

This simple advice, if followed, can help you avoid months and even years of frustration, and can help keep you focused on a proper course of training!

- CPB

P.S. For a free, 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine) - a pdf "zine" (do-it-yourself magazine) patterned after the muscle mags of the pre-roid, Golden Age of Bodybuilding - just email your name, the name of your city (not your address), state/province, and country to cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We don't share info with anyone. So you won't get on any unwanted lists or receive any unwanted automated email (even from us)!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Rader Abbreviated Routines for Building a Classic Physique!


(Photo Above: Classic Physique Builder John Grimek on the Cover of Peary Rader's Iron Man Magazine - Feb 53 issue)

In the pre-roid, Golden Age of Classic Physique Building (the 1940s and 50s), Peary Rader promoted a number of abbreviated routines. An abbreviated routine is a workout schedule consisting of just a few compound exercises that work the major muscle masses of the body.

Rader said that these routines were for people in the following situations:

(1) for those who have only a little time to devote to working out
(2) for those who, by their nature, seem to have low energy
(3) for those who cannot gain on heavier programs
(4) for those who want to gain weight (build mass)

We can add that abbreviated programs are also great for:

(5) breaking through a rut
(6) older trainers (who may also have lower energy and less time)
(7) true beginners (as an intro to weight training).
(8) providing a foundation of core exercises to build upon to create a larger, more varied program.

So you can see there are a lot of upsides for abbreviated programs. The downside is that they do not usually hit all parts of the body (just the major muscle masses) and so your weak areas (e.g., calves) might not get enough work. If you do not address this, you can end up with an out-of-balance physique. So they are a tool to be used properly in the appropriate circumstances.

Here is the abbreviated routine that Peary introduced in the "Rader Master Bodybuilding and Weight Gaining System" in the pre-roid, Golden Age. The core of the program is 3 exercises (plus pullovers):

1. breathing bench press 12 reps
2. breathing barbell rows 12 reps
3. breathing squats 20 reps (1st set only, other sets 10 reps),
superset with
4. breathing pullovers 20 reps (using no more than a 20 lb barbell)

The breathing bench press and rows follow the same principle as the breathing squats. You take 2 deep breaths before pushing the weight out (bench press) or pulling the weight up (rows). This really revs up the metabolism!

Although Peary put the reps at 12 for benches and rows, it would be best to use a rep range of 8-12. Use all the weight you can to barely complete 8 reps. Then work up to 12 reps (do not try to increase your reps on all exercises during the same session - focus on 1 or 2 exercises each session).

The number of sets depends on your status. If you are a true beginner, then do only 1 set per exercise for the first month. Take a week layoff every 4 weeks. Continue with 1 set until the gains slow down. Then after a week layoff, go to 2 sets. Repeat this process and work up to 3 sets.

If you are an intermediate trainer, then start with 2 sets (if you are just transitioning from being a beginner) and follow a similar process as above and work up to 4 sets. If you have been an intermediate for a while and want to use this program for mass building, then start with 4 sets and work up to 6 sets.

If you are an advanced trainer, then you know what to do! :)

Rest between sets: try 2 - 3 minutes (since you will strive to use heavy weights).

Workout Frequency: It depends on you. Do this routine no more than 3 times a week. But most will gain fine on just 2 days a week.

Remember to rest properly, eat properly (include whole eggs in your diet if you can), and be persistent! Don't do any cardio or follow any other sports activity while on this program. Get extra sleep!

In our next issue (Fall 2009) of Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine), we will go into Rader's Abbreviated Routines in more detail and show how these kind of routines can be used as a basis for creating a more varied program. So stay tuned!

- CPB

P.S. For a free, 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine) - a pdf zine patterned after the muscle mags of the pre-roid, Golden Age of Bodybuilding (of the 1940s and 50s) - just send your name, the name of your city (not your address), state/province, and country to cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is completely confidential. We don't share our info with anyone. You won't get on any unwanted lists or receive any unwanted, automated email (even from us)!

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Roots of Classic Physique Building: Sig Klein!


(Photo Above: Early Classic Physique Builder, Sig Klein on the cover of the Feb 1945 issue of Strength & Health)

Although our primary focus is on the champs and methods of the pre-roid, Golden Age of Classic Physique Building (the 1940s and 50s), it is important that we understand the history and roots of that Age. These roots extend as far back as the ancient Greeks (as we have covered in previous posts), but more immediately, the period of the late 1800s and early 1900s (up to 1939). In this post, CPB Contributor Ibrahim introduces Sig Klein - Strongman, Weightlifter, Classic Physique Builder and one of the forerunners of the pre-roid, Golden Age! (CPB - Anthony).

------------

Sigmund Klein (1902-87) was born in Thorn, West Prussia Germany on August 10, 1902. In 1903, his family moved to Cleveland, Ohio. Having inherited a strong body, coupled with a desire to improve his physique, Sig started his bodybuilding career in Cleveland at the age of 17.

In the year of 1924 he relocated to New York City and operated the famous Attila studio, founded originally in Germany in the 1860s. The reputation of Professor Louis Attila was world-wide as a trainer of great athletes and strongmen. He was most famous as the discover, trainer and manager of the fabulous Eugene Sandow. Unfortunately, Professor Attila passed away shortly before Klein's arrival in New York. Klein's success with the studio was immediate. After a span of 50 years, Sigmund closed the gym and divided his vast muscle memorabilia among private collectors.

Also he was one of the early lightweight & middleweight weightlifting champions of America. His best lifts were:

strict military press - 229 1/4 pounds
strict press behind the neck - 206 pounds
one-arm snatch - 160 pounds (the first time bodyweight was surpassed in this lift by an American athlete)
one-arm clean-and-jerk - 190 1/2 pounds
crucifix - 126 3/4 pounds total
two-arm see-saw press - 100-pound dumbbell in each hand 10 consecutive times
bent press performed with one arm - 209 pounds
side press - 174 1/2 pounds
plus several more unusual lifts with a bodyweight that he maintained at 147-150 pounds during his entire career.

His Measurements were:

Weight – 150 lbs
Neck – 16 inches
Upper arm (flexed) – 15¾
Forearm (straight) – 12 ¾.
Chest (normal) – 44
Chest (expanded) – the same
Waist – 32
Thighs – 22
Calf – 14½.
Ankle – 8½
Hips – 36

It is the strongmen of the late 1800s and early 1900s, like Eugen Sandow, Sig Klein, and others that paved the way to the pre-roid, Golden Age of Classic Physique Building (of the 1940s and 50s).

Ibrahim
CPB Contributor


P.S. For a free, 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine) - a pdf zine patterned after the muscle mags of the pre-roid, Golden Age of Bodybuilding (the 1940s and 50s) - just email your name, the name of your city (not your address), state/province, and country to us at cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We don't share our info with anyone. So you won't get on any unwanted lists or receive unwanted, automated email (even from us!).

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Steve Reeves on Classic Definition and Reducing!


(Photo Above: CPB Champ Steve Reeves on the cover of the Reg Park Journal July 1958 issue)

OK...we learned some new tools from Vince Gironda about obtaining "Maximum Definition" - but here is the Steve Reeves approach to classic (not maximum) definition - another tool. It worked for Steve.

As you can see from comparing Steve's photo above to Vince's in our previous post, Steve had definition all right - but not the "maximum" or "extreme kind" that Vince was going for (and Vince still didn't get quite the same level of definition as a steroid user such as Frank Zane). But Steve's level of definition is what we call "classic definition" - meaning he had muscularity & muscle separation, but his skin still had a healthy glow and he looks full of natural vitality. This is because he had a higher level of body fat than Vince (or those that go for extreme definition).

Here is what he said about "training" for definition (we will follow this with some of his diet advice). This comes from his book "Building the Classic Physique - The Natural Way" (1995: p. 154)

"Question: When you were training for your Mr. America and Mr. Universe wins, did you ever include any aerobic training along with your bodybuilding workouts in order to become more defined?"

"Steve Reeves: No, I never had to. I was always in fairly good shape all year around. If there was a contest coming up, I would simply train a little harder. In other words, I would just train a little bit faster and increase the intensity of my workouts by having less rest time in between sets and muscle groups."

"The whole key to acquiring a Classic Physique lies in the proper balance of intensity, duration and frequency of your workouts. If you work out at too high an intensity, you can't work out very long - which means you may stimulate some muscle growth but you'll not burn off much body fat. If, on the other hand, you train with an intensity that is too low, you can go on for long duration - and burn some body fat - but it's too low an intensity to stimulate much increase in muscle size. Training to either extreme is not desirable. It's a waste of time unless you have a balance of both intensity and duration in your workouts, as well as adequate rest periods in between workouts to enhance your recuperation from training."

CPB Commentary: The bottom line is that Steve had no special routine for definition. He used his same routine, but just increased the intensity of the overall workout by going through it a bit faster - by reducing the time between sets and between muscle groups. His normal time between sets was 45 seconds and normal time between muscle groups was up to 5 minutes. So he is reducing these times.

Now, let's look at his diet advice regarding reducing - which can also be used for those needing a bit more definition. It is based on his typical diet and is very simple.

Breakfast: Steve Reeves Power Drink

Lunch: Steve Reeves Power Drink

Dinner: One huge salad (with rice vinegar & olive oil dressing - 1 tablespoon each), turkey, fish, or chicken, and one of the following carb sources: whole wheat bread, potatoes, corn, pasta, beans or rice.

In case you forgot how he made his power drink, here is the recipe again:

14 ounces of freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon of knox gelatin
1 tablespoon of honey
1 banana
2-4 raw eggs (pasteurized)
2 tablespoons of high protein powder (Steve's custom mix)

OK...here is how he made his protein powder:

Combine 1/2 lb of powdered egg whites, 1/2 lb of powdered skim milk, and 1/4 lb of powdered soy protein. That's its! Then use 2 tablespoons of this in the power drink above.

CPB Commentary: Steve believed there was nothing magical about losing body fat - just take in less calories than you need (to maintain your weight) and you will start losing. He recommended not losing more than 2 lbs a week - otherwise, he felt you would start losing lean muscle tissue.

His protein drink probably has about 40 grams of protein. So the overall protein intake of this diet is still high (although it seems that it might be less than 1 gram per pound of bodyweight for him and most people - unless you are eating quite a bit of meat for dinner).

For those that can't take or don't like low carb dieting, Steve's approach here is another tool. You probably won't be able to achieve "extreme definition" on it, but then for classic physique builders, that is not our goal. You should be able to attain "classic definition" - a much healthier look in our book!

If you find that you cannot lose fat on this diet, then cut back a bit on the portion of your carbs at dinner. If that doesn't work, then you can cut out all the carbs at dinner except for the salad. You will still have carbs in the orange juice, honey, and banana. If you still need to cut more calories, then go down to 1/2 banana and use 10-12 ounces of orange juice instead of 14 oz.

In any case, you can make adjustments as necessary for your situation!

- CPB

P.S. For a free, 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine) - a pdf zine patterned after the muscle mags of the pre-roid Golden Age of Bodybuilding (the 1940s and 50s) - just email us your name, the name of your city (not your address), state/province, and country. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We don't share our info with anyone. So you won't get on any unwanted lists and you won't receive any unwanted, automated email (even from us)!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Vince Gironda's Definition Routine for a Classic Physique!


(Photo Above: Classic Physique Builder Vince Gironda - The "Iron Guru")

Here is the classic "Definition Routine" by Vince Gironda. Despite being the trainer of some well-known 1st generation steroid users (like Larry Scott) in the 1960's, Vince tested all his methods on himself - he was 100% natural! Although during the pre-roid, Golden Age (of the 1940s and 50s) there were other methods of pursuing definition or "muscularity", this routine of Vince's can be considered as one of the last, classic definition routines since Vince himself was one of the last classic physique builders.

Now, it should be mentioned that Vince, even with this natural method, took definition to an extreme in the eyes of the pre-roid, Golden Age judges (who were not impressed by the cadaver look). This is why, on some occassions, he didn't place higher in physique competitions. Nevertheless, his method is very effective and it is easy enough to stop well before one looks like a cadaver!

His method, of course, includes an exercise routine and his classic "maximum definition diet." The exercise routine was a 6 day-a-week split, doing upper body on 3 days, lower body on 3 days and resting for one day.

Upper Body Exercises (eg., M, W, F):

1. Wide Parallel Dips (with hands 32" apart, chin on chest, feet under face)
2. Seated Rows
3. Biceps Preacher Curls (with wide grip and elbows close)
4. Triceps Overhead Pull
5. Seated Dumbbell Lateral Raise
6. Wrist Curls (with rolling bar to finger tips)

Lower Body Exercises & Abs (e.g., T, Th, Sa):

1. 1/4 sit up or roll (essentially ab crunches), superset with following exercise
2. stiff leg raise
3. Hack Slides (up on toes with heels touching and knees 20" apart)
4. Donkey Raise (with knees slightly unlocked and toes on 4" block"

The rep scheme was as follows: first 3 weeks do 8 sets of 8 reps, next 3 weeks do 6 sets of 6 reps, last 3 weeks do 4 sets of 12 reps. The only exception is calves for which you always do 20 reps per set. This was a 12 week course. Presumably there was a week layoff after each training period of 3 weeks (Vince liked to train for 21 days, then take 7 days off - so these instructions fit that pattern). Between sets, Vince prescribed hyperventilating - or taking 5 to 10 deep breaths.

Of course, Vince had special instructions for each of his exercises. So to really understand the routine, you can still purchase a copy of Vince's original booklet at Ron Kosloff's NSP Research Nutrition site (www.nspresearchnutrition.com). Ron carries on Vince's legacy and makes available to the public all of Vince's courses in their original form. When you get to his site, just look for the online shop section and click on "books and courses."

Now, Vince stated very clearly that he felt that gaining definition was 85% nutrition. So that tells you the importance of his "maximum definition diet" that he recommended to go along with his exercise routine. The diet is a zero-carb diet where you have a total carb meal every 72 hours or 4-5 days (in order to restore the glycogen in your system & muscles). The details of the diet are spelled out in his booklet. But the general idea is this:

Breakfast
eggs & meat, fish, fowl only (no limit)

Lunch
eggs & meat, fish, fowl only (no limit)

Dinner
same as breakfast and lunch (note: in one version of this diet, Vince allowed a tossed green salad with oil & vinegar dressing with dinner)

Carb Meal
every 72 hours

Use butter and cream (this is the only dairy products allowed)

Supplements
e.g., liver tablets, kelp tablets, amino acids, enzyme tablets, vitamin & mineral tablets, glandulars, wheat germ oil w/ every meal, arginine-ornithine, etc (see Vince's booklet for details). He stressed the importance of taking calcium since it will counteract the "nervousness" that the high protein diet will cause.

An important issue with this kind of diet is the lack of fiber and, thus, potential constipation. One solution is to take a psyllium husk fiber drink (which should have no digestible carbs). Another thing that might help is to take probiotics daily to make sure your gut has all the beneficial bacteria needed to ensure optimal digestion (this is our suggestion, not Vince's).

In any case, there you are! One of the last methods of gaining classic definition from one of the last, true representatives of the pre-roid Golden Age. Vince's ideas probably represent the "high point" in terms of the pre-roid, Golden Age supplement methods.

This routine and diet will definitely work! It is really for the advanced trainer and requires major discipline! Zero carb diets are not easy to follow, but they sure burn fat quickly and allow you to retain more muscle mass! If you plan to try out Vince's routine, we recommend getting the original, full course from NSP Research Nutrition at the site we indicated above.

- CPB

P.S. For a free, 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine) - a pdf zine patterned after the muscle mags of the pre-roid, Golden Age of Bodybuilding (the 1940s and 50s) - just email us your name, the name of your city (not your address), state/province, and country. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We don't share our info with anyone. So you won't get on any unwanted lists or received unwanted, automated emails (even from us)!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Classic Physique Building vs. MD (Muscle Dysmorphia)!



(Photos above: left - MD magazine cover Aug 09 issue; right - classic physique builder John Grimek, Mr. America 1940, 1941, Mr. Universe 1948, Mr. USA 1949)

We just couldn't pass this up! In the recent (Aug 2009) issue of Muscular Development magazine, they have an article on "Muscle Dysmorphia in a Young Woman" in their Research: Health section.

The article describes a case, published in the Journal of Strength Conditioning Research (2009, vol 23: 988-995), where a 23 year old woman bodybuilder met the psychological profile for someone having "muscle dysmorphia." The conclusion of the MD writers (Steve Blechman and Thomas Fahey) was to "spin" this finding into something acceptable by saying "While many people undoubtedly have unrealistic body images, extreme focus and dedication are required to reach championship levels. In champions, preoccupation and dedication are considered admirable, but are classified as psychological disturbances in less-accomplished people."

So in other words, Blechman and Fahey are trying to say that "less-acomplished people" (apparently referring to academic researchers who study muscle dysmorphia) are simply "jealous!"

Now, here is the interesting thing, earlier in the article, Blechman and Fahey describe muscle dysmorphia in the following way: "An increasing number of men have a similar condition called muscle dysmorphia where they become overly obsessed with muscle mass and body composition and have a compulsive need to work out and diet. They will evade important social and work responsibilities to maintain their workout schedule. They OFTEN TAKE DRUGS AND SUPPLEMENTS THEY KNOW ARE UNHEALTHY IN ORDER TO ATTAIN THEIR GOAL." [the caps are ours]

So going by the above definition, it is not the preoccupation, extreme focus, or dedication that are the problem. Anyone who is successful in any field will have an abundance of those. It is the fact that those suffering from this condition are WILLING TO ENDANGER THEIR HEALTH BY TAKING DRUGS that is the main problem.

Hmmm....then by their own description, doesn't muscle dysmorphia describe the whole of the mainstream, roid-based, bodybuilding world?! Doesn't it exactly describe what they engage in and what they promote and value? Perhaps MD magazine should rename itself "Muscular Dysmorphia!"

What a sad state modern, mainstream bodybuilding as become! But fortunately there is a better way - classic physique building (which is pre-roid, Golden Age bodybuilding)! In the editorial of our last issue, we put forth a CPB "Credo" that really separates classic physique building from the insanity of the mainstream, roid-based bodybuilding world. We said:

We believe in:

1) cultivating health above all (of body and mind)
2) building a classic physique
3) using pre-roid, Golden Age methods
4) setting a good example for others

Are we dedicated? - yes! Are we focused? - yes! Are we a bit pre-occupied? - yes! But are we willing to damage ourselves with unhealthy drugs and substances for the sake of a physique? - no! Classic physique building is a healthy form of physical culture. The same cannot be said for the mainstream, roid-based bodybuilding that MD promotes.

- CPB

P.S. For a free, 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine) - a pdf zine patterned after the muscle mags of the pre-roid, Golden Age (the 1940s and 50s) - just email us your name, the name of your city (not your address), state/province, and country. That's it! Any info you send us will be strictly confidential. We don't share our info with anyone. You won't get on any unwanted lists or receive any automated email (even from us)!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The CPB Muscle Confusion Principle & Varying Your Rep Range!


(Above: Autographed Photo of Steve Reeves in his 1961 film - "Duel of the Titans")

If you follow a good routine that is giving you gains for any length of time, you will find that the gains will slow down and eventually stop. Why? Because, in time, your muscles will adapt to any exercise or routine. So what can you do?

You can use the CPB "Muscle Confusion Principle." This principle was known by the pre-roid, Golden Age champs, but was given its name by Joe Weider. It essentially says that in order to prevent your muscles from fully adapting, you need to "confuse" them by doing something "different" - something that they are not used to - in order to provide them with the stimulation they need for growth.

The Muscle Confusion Principle can be implemented by changing an exercise - substituting another exercise that challenges the muscle from a different angle. Or, you can change your routine - by either including some new exercises or even just changing the order in which you do the exercises. You can also change the number of sets you do - by either adding or reducing sets. One can even take a "layoff" of a week - which allows the muscles to rest, recover, and lose some of its "adaptation."

But what if you don't want to change your routine, or the number of sets, and you don't want to take a layoff? If that is the case, then you can do what Steve Reeves did and vary your rep range!

In his book, Building the Classic Physique the Natural Way, Steve recommended varying your rep range monthly. So one month, your range might be 8 - 12 reps. The next month, you can change your range to 5 - 7 reps. Then the following month, you change to 11 - 15 reps. Then repeat.

By changing your rep range monthly, it results in using different poundages. For example, you can use much greater poundages when doing from 5 - 7 reps than you can if you are doing 11 - 15 reps. So the varying reps and, necessarily, the varying poundages keep your muscles from adapting and thus, keeps the gains coming!

Varying your rep range monthly can extend the productive time of a given routine and even potentially reduce the need for layoffs. So keep this method in your arsenal of Muscle Confusion techniques!

- CPB

P.S. If you would like a free, 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine) - a pdf zine patterned after the muscle mags of the pre-roid, Golden Age of Classic Physique Building (the 1940s and 50s), just email us your name, the name of your city (not your address), state/province, and country to cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We don't share info with anyone. So you won't get on any unwanted lists or receive any automated email (even from us)!



Sunday, June 21, 2009

Publication Alert: Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine) Summer 2009 Issue is Out!

(Photo Above: Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine) Summer 2009 Issue

Hi Everyone,

Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine) Summer 2009 Issue has just been sent out! So, for you CPB subscribers, you should find it in your email inbox now. If, for some reason, you haven't received your copy, please email me and let me know.

Since CPBzine is provided as a free service (for the foreseeable future), our only "payment" is your feedback, comments, and reactions! So please let us know how you like it! If you comment on CPB Blog (e.g., as a response to this post), then it may be helpful to other people who are thinking of subscribing.

We would very much like to encourage anyone who is interested in any aspect of pre-roid, Golden Age classic physique building to sign up for a subscription!

Thanks to everyone for your support!

CPB (Anthony)

P.S. For a free, 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine) - a pdf zine patterned after the muscle mags of the pre-roid Golden Age of the 1940s and 50s - just send us your name, the name of your city (not your address), state or province, and country. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We don't share our info with anyone and you won't get on any lists or receive any unwanted, automated emails (even from us!).

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine) Summer 2009 Issue - Almost Ready!


(Photo above: Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine) Summer 2009 issue - vol. 1 no. 2)

The second issue of Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine) is almost ready! This is our Summer 2009 issue and it should be ready for distribution by this weekend (by June 21st). This issue has 32 pages (2 pages more than our premier issue) and some new features. Here is the table of contents:

Editorial
Guidance for Beginners from Clancy Ross, Mr. America 1945
CPB Champions
Zabo's Stay Trim Diet!
Build Heroic Character with George Eiferman, Mr. America 1948
Peary Rader's "Squat Program" (for CPB Beginning Trainers)
Jack Delinger: The Modern Hercules
Questions and Answers
Nutrition Corner
The Classic Physique vs. the Hulk-Like Physique: Waist and Ab Size
What Gains Can You Expect from Golden Age Training
CPB Champions Hall of Fame: Steve Reeves
Classic Female Physiques
Arm Specialization: The Rader Way (for CPB Advanced Trainers)
What the Golden Age Champs Measured: Clancy Ross
Steve Reeves' Intermediate Routine (for CPB Intermediate Trainers)
Pictorial: John Grimek
Net Roundup: News from Here, There, and Everywhere
Golden Age Magazine Gallery

Although we think this issue is an improvement over the last one, we hope to keep improving CPBzine with each issue as we go along. Right now, we are doing the final proof reading and getting our email list together so that we are ready to distribute this weekend!

Although we offer our subscription to CPBzine as a "1 year, free subscription" - we hope to keep it free for as long as possible in order to give everyone access to our Classic Physique Building Movement - as a healthy alternative to the roid-based, mainstream bodybuilding world.

Thanks again to all our CPB Readers for your support, feedback, info, advice, participation (on CPB Blog), and great suggestions! It is greatly appreciated!

- CPB (Anthony)

P.S. If you would like a free, 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine) - a pdf zine patterned after the muscle mags of the pre-roid, Golden Age (of the 1940s and 50s), just send your name, the name of your city (not your address), state (or province), and country to cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you share with us will be strictly confidential. We don't share info with anyone. So you won't get on any unwanted lists or receive automated email (even from us)!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Classic Physique Building High Intensity - The Steve Reeves Way!

(Photo Above: Classic Physique Builder Champ Steve Reeves doing Military Press)

In previous posts on CPB Blog, we have listed Steve Reeves' beginning and intermediate routines. However, a list of exercises, sets, and reps, doesn't tell the whole story behind how he made such spectacular gains! Part of his secret was his high intensity approach! Joe Weider said of Steve that "he could get more, out of less, than anybody I knew." As an advanced trainer, Steve almost never did more than 3 sets per exercise and 3 exercises per body part (so a total of 9 sets per body part). He really put everything he could into each set! How?

He did it by:

1) using maximum weights on his first set and lowering the weight each set - Steve didn't use any warm up sets. He warmed up at the beginning of his routine by doing dumbbell swings. Then he would start his first set with the maximum weights he could use to get 8 reps. Then, on the 2nd set, he would lower the weight a bit and still go for 8 reps. On the third set, he would lower the weights again and go for 8 reps. So he would decrease the weight on each set and try to keep the reps the same. Over time, he would increase his reps to 12 using these same weights and then he would increase the weight on each set and start the process all over again (with reps moving back down to 8).

2) training to failure or near failure - As described above, he would choose a weight where he could barely complete the 8th rep (and knowing that he would fail after that). So he didn't just do 8 reps and then stop if he could do more.

3) not resting more than 45 seconds between sets - Steve kept the rest between sets short, about 45 seconds or "just long enough for a training partner to finish his set." This, actually doesn't allow the muscle to completely recover - which is why he lowered the weight on the 2nd and 3rd sets. But this increases the intensity.

4) getting the negative on each rep - Steve said the proper cadence to do an exercise was 2 seconds for the positive (concentric) aspect and 3 seconds for the negative (eccentric) aspect. So he would not just let the weight drop after his contraction, but would lower it more slowly than he raised it. Today, we know that this technique - of focusing on both concentric and eccentric contractions really results in the most muscle growth.

5) concentrating fully on the muscle being worked - Steve would practice "muscle control" often which increases the ability to focus/concentrate on the muscle being worked during a set. This focused concentration increases intensity. He didn't get distracted by being plugged into an iPod. His mind was "in his muscle." He often said "no brain, no gain"!

6) avoiding all distractions during a workout - Steve would not talk to anybody during a workout or allow himself to be interrupted. No idle chatter or "shooting the breeze" or "talking while exercising." He told everyone that he would be more than happy to talk before or after a workout, but never during a workout. Wow! How many times have you seen people talking while doing a set?!

7) doing no more than 3 sets per exercise and 3 exercises per body part - Steve believed that if you could not fully stimulate your muscles in 3 sets of an exercise, then you simply were not putting your mind and effort into it! He said that if you knew you were going to do a lot of sets, then there was no way you could go "all out" on all your sets. You would have to hold something back in the early sets otherwise there would be no way you could complete all those sets. In other words, he believed that "high volume training" necessarily required you to use "low intensity." His approach was the opposite.

These are the main aspects of how he put "high intensity" into his workout and into each and every set. Now, there are certainly other methods that work. But his method was and is effective. So with this knowledge, you now have a better understanding of how Steve was doing his routines! And now you can see that there is definitely more to a routine than just a list of exercises, sets, and reps!

- CPB

P.S. For a free, 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine) - a pdf zine patterned after the muscle mags of the pre-roid, Golden Age (of the 1940s and 50s), just send your name, the name of your city (not your address), state (or province), and country to cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We do not share our info with anyone. You will not get on any lists or get unwanted, automated email (even from us)!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Classic Physique Building Champ Melvin Wells - the "Buffalo Hercules"!


(Photo Above: CPB Champ Melvin Wells - Mr. New York State 1949)

Another pre-roid, Golden Age champ who is not well known is Melvin Wells. He was born 1919 and died 1994. He was from Buffalo, New York and was known as the “Buffalo Hercules” in honour of his hometown.

Melvin was Mr. New York State 1949 and won the “Most Muscular” title in the Mr. America competition of that year. He also placed 2nd (behind Jack Delinger) in the Mr. America 1950 contest and was Mr. Strength and Health 1951.

Perhaps the most inspirational thing about Melvin Wells is that he did not begin training in the most modern or optimal facilities. He built his classic physique through pure determination and made the best out of his situation. When he began, he actually trained with large rocks in an unheated garage!

This should motivate people who, for example, cannot afford a gym membership or are training at home. You don’t have to use the best equipment etc. The best or optimal gift you have is not your “good” genes for building a muscular body. You don’t have to have any forefathers who were strongman, wrestlers etc. The most irreplaceable gift you have is your health and determination.

That may sound odd, but does it not all start with health and determination? Because with these, you can make the best out of your situation – even if you must start training at home with large rocks!

- Ibrahim, CPB Contributor

P.S. If you would like a free, 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine) - a pdf zine patterned on the muscle mags of the pre-roid Golden Age (of the 1940s and 50s), just email your name, the name of your city (not your address), state/province, and country to cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We do not share our info with anyone. You will not get on any unwanted lists or receive automated junk email (even from us!).

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Classic Physique Building: Muscle Recovery & Workout Frequency!



(Above Photo: John Grimek, Mr. America 1940, 1941)

If you have been following Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine and CPB Blog), you know that full body routines were a standard method of training in the pre-roid, Golden Age (1940s and 50s). In the muscle mags of that age, you can find article after article of full-body routines for beginners and intermediates (and even advanced trainers) that were to be done "3 days a week." That would mean training at the same time on each workout day on either Monday, Wednesday, and Friday or perhaps Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

Most of the time, the articles would just say "Do this routine 3 days a week." However, although this 3 day a week training frequency was indeed standard in the Golden Age, it was also recognized that this might have to be modified for some people. Why? Because muscle recovery time is not the same for everyone. We are all a bit different depending on our circumstances and genetics.

For example, a beginner who has not yet learned to push himself to his limits might be able to recover in 48 hours and so will have no trouble with a 3 day a week schedule. Others, even though they push themselves to the limit, simply have great recovery ability and are able to do it. But, everyone is a bit different. Some will be able to do 3 days a week, some will find that they cannot recover in time to stick to this schedule.

If you find that your muscles are not recovering on a 3 day schedule, don't worry! Listen to this advice from Peary Rader (taken from his Master Bodybuilding and Weight Gaining System - which was a Golden Age Course of the 1940s and 50s):

"Most fellows following this [full body] course find three exercise peroids best. A great many gain best on but two exercise peroids per week. It is SELDOM advisable to have four such strenuous workouts per week. We advise the pupil to start out with two periods per week such as on Tuesday and Friday. Later on you may, if you find it desirable, change to three periods per week. If you are working at hard physical labor you will find two per week enough, but if your work is light then you probably can stand three per week. You should always have one or two days rest between workout peroids."

You see, there was acknowledgement that people are different and adjustments need to be made according to your situation. So, if you are trying to follow a 3 day per week, full body routine and you find that your muscles aren't fully recovered by the next workout, then don't hesitate to do the same program for 2 days a week instead! This advice applies to any 3 day a week, Golden Age routine.

- CPB

P.S. If you would like a free 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine) - a pdf zine patterned after the muscle mags of the pre-roid, Golden Age (of the 1940s and 50s), just send your name, the name of your city (not your address), state (or province), and country to cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We don't share our info with anyone and you won't receive any unwanted, automated emails (even from us)!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Mainstream Bodybuilders Flee Unexpected Drug Testers at NABBA Belgian Contest!



(Above Photo: Classic Physique Champions Steve Reeves, NABBA Mr. Universe 1950 - on the left; Reg Park, NABBA Mr. Universe 1951 - on the right)


Here is the sad news story, directly from AP News, of what transpired this last Sunday, May 17, 2009:

BRUSSELS - Ready to flex their pecs and strike a pose, bodybuilders at the Belgian championships scattered when doping officials showed up.

After a spate of positive doping tests in recent years in Belgium, the event had been moved across the Dutch border to Vlissingen for the weekend competition.

“They must have felt safe out there,” doping official Hans Cooman told the Associated Press on Monday.

But Cooman and two colleagues got the necessary papers to check the tournament in the Netherlands. And when they identified themselves just before the event — with the 20 bodybuilders weighing in and preparing themselves — the testers drew quite a response.

The bodybuilders got up and left, preferring to quit rather than submit to doping tests. Some grabbed their gear and headed straight out the door.

“They must have been flabbergasted,” Cooman said.

Bodybuilders usually take months to prepare for such championships, yet the sight of controllers was too much for them.

“I have never seen anything like it and hope never to see anything like it again,” Cooman said.

Bodybuilding has a long history of doping, and Cooman said this latest flap “didn’t do its reputation any good.”

Last year, 22 of 29 tests were positive, either for steroids or for refusing testing, a failure rate of a staggering 75 percent.

“This was the first time though we turned up in the Netherlands,” Cooman said.

Minutes before the start of the championships, before even one gleaming pose was on display, organizers had no option but to tell a few hundred fans that had come to the Arsenaal theater that there was not point in staying.

Now Cooman and his colleagues will report the case to the disciplinary committee, which will have to decide whether the bodybuilders can be punished because they refused to be tested.

A man who refused to give his name at the NABBA Belgium bodybuilding federation could not explain why the competitors had suddenly rushed off and would not discuss the matter.

_____

CPB Commentary: Doesn't this news story illustrate so well what a sad, laughable, pathetic state mainstream, roid-based bodybuilding has fallen into since the end of the pre-roid Golden Age (the 1940s and 50s)? Doesn't the mainstream, roid-based bodybuilding world know how ridiculous they look? It's not bad enough that they have thrown away the healthy, classic physique ideal of the Golden Age and embraced drugs in order to develop unhealthy, cartoonish, "Hulk-like," cadaver-ish physiques. But now, the public sees them "fleeing" from their own contests when unexpected drug-testers show up! Don't they realize that true bodybuilding in the Golden Age was all about perfecting one's health and physique? (Can you imagine a Steve Reeves or Reg Park "running away" from drug testers? They were proud of their health!)

If you look around on many of the mainstream bodybuilding blogs, the reaction of the roid-users and supporters is to question the legality of the drug testers and whether or not they had proper jurisdiction in showing up and trying to test the contestants. Can you believe that?! They are so blind, they just can't see how pathetic the whole of mainstream bodybuilding looks to the world because of this.

This is why there is no hope for mainstream, roid-based bodybuilding. It is destined to die under its own excesses as a laughable, marginal pursuit of extremists. Their contests are not about health. They are not about choosing the ideal of masculine, physical perfection. They are not about providing positive role models to the public. They are about pharmaceutical-based, body-abusing extremism and "doing anything to win" - pure and simple!

It is sad to note that the contest in the news story was sponsored by the Belgian wing of the NABBA. The NABBA is the same organization that crowned Steve Reeves Mr. Universe in 1950 and Reg Park in 1951. What a disgrace the NABBA (and IFBB) have become!

This news article is another illustration why we separate ourselves as "Classic Physique Builders" and no longer place ourselves under the banner of "bodybuilding." Classic physique building is the true heir of the pre-roid Golden Age! It is classic physique building, and not modern bodybuilding, that upholds the value of pursuing natural physical perfection and health through weight training!

So if you are a natural, drug-free "bodybuilder," consider joining our ranks as a "classic physique builder" and disassociate yourself from the farce that modern, mainstream bodybuilding has become! The term "bodybuilding" has become irreversibly tainted by steroids and drugs! So let's leave it to the drug users. Don't support the mainstream, roid-based bodybuilding world with your money! Instead, help build a new, healthy movement of classic physique building - a movement that will benefit you and that the public can accept, embrace, and be inspired by!

- CPB

P.S. If you would like a free 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine) - a pdf zine patterned after the pre-roid, Golden Age muscle mags (of the 40s and 50s), just send your name, the name of your city (not your address), state (or province), and country to cpbzine@gmail.com. Any info you send us is strictly confidential - we don't share it with anyone. You won't get on any lists and you won't receive any unwanted, automated email (even from us)!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Alan Stephan's "Gaining Bulk is Easy" Routine for Building a Classic Physique!


(Above: Classic Physique Builder Champ - Alan Stephan, Mr. America 1946)

Here is a no nonsense, classic routine for beginners by Alan Stephan for building mass that is right out of the pre-roid, Golden Age!

In an article in Your Physique magazine (Sept 1950 issue), Alan talks about the general rules for a beginner to follow in putting together a bulk building program. He said "All you need to do is follow the right exercises, eat plenty of nourishing food and get as much rest and relaxation on your non training days as you possibly can." So, in other words, he is talking about proper training, proper nutrition, and proper rest! Notice that he doesn't say anything about needing special supplements (no NO boosters, pump enhancers, creatine, or even protein powder)!

In talking about mass building programs, Alan goes on, "Let's deal with the right exercises first. If you build a schedule around either the deep knee bend or the dead lift and take it from there, you are on the right track." So in 1947, they knew well that including the big exercises like squats and deadlifts in a routine kick started the growth mechanism! They didn't have to wait until scientific studies showed that such exercises increased the level of testosterone in the blood! They knew it worked from their own experimentation and results!

Alan continues, "The fundamental movements such as the supine press or any of its variants - bench presses of incline presses - , curls, rowing motions, squats, or dead lifts or leg presses combined with sets of bent arm pullovers, are the best." What Alan is describing here is basically the approach advocated by Peary Rader (the founder of Iron Man magazine).

Peary Rader and many of the Golden Age champs (like Ed Yarick, Steve Reeves, and George Eiferman) were big believers in the high repetition breathing squat-pullover combination. They believed that this combination really kick started the growth mechanism and also expanded the rib cage. It is such training that gave the Golden Age champs that more massive upper body impressiveness that you don't see among most of today's drug-free, natural bodybuilders (ever notice how shallow their upper bodies look these days?). If you look at Steve Reeve's beginning and intermediate routines (which we have posted previously), you can see that Steve employed this breathing squat-pullover combo in his training.

Alan is also describing the basic, "compound exercise philosophy" of having a short routine consisting of compound exercises (multi-joint exercises that work large groups of muscles) rather than a longer routine using isolation exercises (exercises which work only a single muscle or muscle group across a single joint). This philosophy was also a centerpiece of the Rader approach.

Here is the example routine that Alan provides:

1. Bench Press 8-12 reps
2. Barbell Curls 8-12 reps
3. Breathing Squats 20 reps (1st set), 10 reps (remaining sets)
4. Bent Arm Pullovers 20 reps (superset with each set of breathing squats)
5. Bent Over Rows 8-12 reps

That's it! However, we (CPB) would add a sixth exercise: calf raises for 20 reps.

Rest between sets: 2-3 minutes! (Yes, that's right! You'll need that much time to recouperate between sets so that you can use heavier weights)

This is a classic abbreviated routine for mass building! Abbreviated routines are routines with a relative small number of exercises that work most of the body. This type of full-body, abbreviated routine allows you to use maximum energy in your workout and get more recovery time between workouts (you will have more total non-workout days for complete rest than modern, exotic split training that keeps you in the gym 4-6 days per week).

For the beginner - do 1 set of each exercise for the 1st month, 2 sets the second month, 3 sets the third month. Workout twice a week (e.g., Tue and Sat, or Mon and Fri). For the 1st workout, use light weights just to get used to the exercises. For the second workout, try to determine for each exercise the amount of weight you can handle to complete 8 reps (with good form) and no more. Then, at each successive workout, try to increase your reps by 1 or 2, until you reach the top of the rep range. At that point, add a little weight to the bar. Continue in this fashion for the course. Keep your focus on this process of increasing reps, then increasing poundages. This is how you use the principle of "progressive resistance." It is this process of gradually increasing your strength and poundages that will result in larger muscles!

For the breathing squats, use proper squat form, take one breath between each of the first 5 reps, then after that take 2-3 deep breaths in between repititions until you reach 20 reps. By the end of the set, you should be panting! In month 2, your second set of breathing squats should only be 10 reps. The same for month 3 (only the first set is ever done for 20 reps). Each set is to be immediately followed (supersetted) with light barbell pullovers. Use no more than 20 lbs total (including the bar weight). The point is to stretch the rib cage (not to use maximum weights to exercise the muscles). Bend the arms slightly and try to really stretch your rib cage.

Here's Alan's advice on diet: "Don't forget to drink lots of milk and eat plenty of good food such as fresh vegetables and meat, eggs [whole], cheese, and butter. Fruits and salads are also good.

On rest, he advises: "An important factor in a weight gaining programme is to rest all you can on non-training days. Whatever you do, don't play other games [sports] and expect to make progress. You must rest completely between workouts and get a good night's rest each and every night of the week.

Alan's final advice: "Work hard on your schedule [routine], be persistant and determined and you are going to have little or no trouble in gaining bulk!

For the intermediate - This program of Alan's is also good for intermediate CPB trainers. If you are an intermediate trainer (have more than 3 months experience following a proper course but have not yet reached your size goals), then you can use the above program as well. Just start with 3 sets for all exercises following the guidelines above and stay with 3 sets for the duration of the course. Take a week lay off between each month. Your major goal for this course is to concentrate on increasing your poundages - this is the key to growth! By the end of each month, you should see a significant increase in strength (indicated by your training log records of reps and poundages) and this will correspond to a noticeable increase in muscle size!

So there you have it - a classic, Golden Age Bulk (Mass) Building Program - straightforward, no nonsense, - just a train big, eat big, rest big, and grow big approach!

- CPB

P.S. For a free 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine) - a pdf zine patterned after the pre-roid, Golden Age muscle mags (of the 40s and 50s) - just email your name, the name of your city (not your address), state (or province), and country to cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us will be strictly confidential. We don't share our info with anyone, so you won't get on any lists or receive any unwanted, automated emails (even from us)!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Classic Physique Builders - What You Should Weigh and Measure!

(Photo Above: Classic Physique Builder Champ - Floyd Page, Mr. Pro America 1948)

For those of us interested in building a classic physique, one of our first questions is "What should we weigh and measure?" Usually, if we are young or new at classic physique building, we might find out that some champ we admire, like Steve Reeves or Reg Park, had 18 inch arms and a 50 inch chest. So, we might think that in order to look like them, we too should strive to build 18 inch arms and a 50 inch chest! But, what a minute...not so fast!!! Steve and Reg were over 6 ft tall!

If you are 5 ft 6 in. in height (and are starting out with 12.5 inch arms), you might find it very difficult, if not impossible, to build 18 inch arms naturally! But don't get disappointed! You don't have to have 18 inch arms to have that classic physique look! Instead, you probably only need a 16.5 inch arm! How is that?

Well, this is the good news - classic physique body measurements are proportionate to height, weight, and bone structure! There were many articles in the pre-roid, Golden Age mags (of the 1940s and 50s) which talked about "what you should weight and measure" and they always pointed out that your measurements were dependent on your height, weight, and bone structure.

Now, it is easy to understand that your measurements must be somewhat dependent on your height and weight. It makes sense that if Steve Reeves, at 6 ft 1 in and 215 lbs, had 18 in. arms, then someone 5 ft 6 in. tall, at 175 lbs, might only need a 16.5 inch arm to look proportionately as large as Reeves.

But, height and weight aren't even the full story. There is still "bone structure." In the Golden Age, a common way of looking at bone structure (the size of your bones at a given height) was to classify people as "small-boned", "medium or average-boned", and "large-boned" on the basis of wrist girth (circumference). According to an article by Joe Weider in his Mr. America magazine (March, 1959 issue), if your wrists measure 7 inches or under, then you are "small-boned." If it is between 7 and 7.5 inches, then you are "medium or average-boned." If it is greater than 7.5 inches, then you are "large-boned." Why is this important?

Your bone structure (in addition to height and weight) helps determine what your measurements need to be for a classic physique. Someone with small bone structure doesn't need the same mass as someone with large-bone structure to achieve that classic look!

So, in building a classic physique, absolute measurements aren't important! But relative measurements are (measurements relative to height and bone structure)! In other words, rather than focusing on what Steve Reeves' or Reg Park's absolute measurements are (unless you are as tall as they are and have the same bone structure), you should, instead focus on what your measurements and body weight should be given your height and bone structure! That's why in Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine) we regularly print the measurements of the Golden Age champs - because sooner or later you will find a Golden Age champ of your height and bone structure which will help you visualize what your physique can look like!).

How can you find out "what you should weigh and measure" for a classic physique given your height and bone structure? Well, in the Golden Age mags, tables were commonly printed that gave classic physique measurements at various heights (notice how the modern, steroid-oriented muscle mags don't do this anymore). The measurements in these tables were given for those of "medium or average-bone structure." Then they would tell you to lower (by ~5%) or raise (by ~5%) the body weight and measurements depending on whether you were "small-boned" or "large-boned." In our CPB Courses (once they are available), there will be similar charts showing classic physique measurements at various heights (and taking bone structure into account).

However, if you would like to know right now what your classic physique measurements should be, we recommend Dr. Casey Butt's body calculators at his http://www.weightrainer.net/ site. Casey is a fellow scientist, researcher, academic, classic physique builder, and CPB participant. He did an extensive statistical study of the measurements of the pre-roid, Golden Age champs and drug-free, natural bodybuilders and was able to come up with body calculators that can predict what your classic physique measurements and body weight should be given your height, wrist, and ankle measurement. These body calculators are pretty accurate (since they can predict the Golden Age champs measurements quite closely when their heights, wrist, and ankle measurements are put into them). The description and results of his extensive study are available in his ebook "Your Muscular Potential" - which we highly recommend (especially if you want to see the science behind his approach)!

To get a list of your classic physique measurements, simply click on this link to Casey's body calculator page: www.weightrainer.net/bodycalc.html. On this page, you will find links to two calculators. The top link (Your Muscular Potential) gives you measurements that the typical classic physique builder can expect to achieve. The bottom calculator (Maximum Muscular Potential) gives you measurements that a superior classic physique builder can expect to achieve. So, using these two calculators will give you a good idea of the measurements that you should shoot for in building your classic physique.

Knowing what your classic physique measurements and body weight should be will help you in setting your long term goals. Now, you have a precise target to focus your efforts on! Just don't forget to set appropriate short term goals in order to get you there!

- CPB

P.S. For a free 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine) - a pdf zine patterned after the pre-roid, Golden Age muscle mags - just send your name, the name of your city (not your address), state (or province), and country to cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We don't share info with anyone and you won't get on any lists or recieve any unwanted, automated email (even from us) because of your free subscription!