Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Golden Age, the Classic Ideal, and Mainstream Bodybuilding!

(Photo above: Muscular Development Feb 09 issue - a modern mainstream bodybuilding mag; Photo Below: Mr. America June 58 issue - a Golden Age mag)

When we say that during the Golden Age of Classic Physique Building (the 1940s and 50s), the classic ideal was valued and promoted, we aren't kidding! The contrast between the classic ideal of the Golden Age and the abandonment of that ideal by the modern, mainstream bodybuilding world is clearly seen in the contrast in magazine covers above.

The photo above shows the current cover of Muscular Development magazine (Feb 09 issue) - a mainstream bodybuilding mag. The photo below shows the cover of Mr. America magazine (June 58 issue) - a Golden Age mag.

Look at the Mr. America cover. Is there any question that during the Golden Age, the ideal of physique building was to build a classic, natural, healthy, athletic, and attractive physique - reminiscent of the statues of the heroes, demigods, gods of ancient Greece and Rome? This is a worthy goal! This is a worthy endeavor! What male, young or old, could not identify with this ideal?

Now look at the MD cover. What happenned? Where is the classic ideal? What goal is being promoted? The mainstream bodybuilding ideal represented here is NOT classic, NOT natural, NOT healthy, NOT athletic, NOT attractive - and is NOT derived from the best of ancient Greece or Rome. Does this ideal represent a worthy goal? Is this kind of bodybuilding a worthy endeavor? How many males, young or old, can really identify with this mainstream bodybuilding ideal?

Which ideal would you rather pursue? Which ideal will serve you better?

The ideal that you hold is important, because it will consciously or unconsciously guide your actions - for better or worse. So as you start to work out and build your physique, it is best to have your ideal and goals clear so that you can gravitate to those things that can help you achieve them (and stay away from those things that cannot).



Ibrahim said...

I love every post from you guys.
Oh man the good old days.
But believe it or not i read these stupid mainstream muscle comics, too.

And then i came across the oldtime strongman and this was an eye opener for me.

My ideal physique would be athletic type but with pronounced muscles. I know how you recommend a balanced physique but i would really like to have big shoulders, forearms and big but not overdeveloped quats.

I want to thank you for the Steve Reeves Diet plan. I use this plan, too. Because i had sometimes digestive issues on the 6 meal plan. But this plan suits me really well.

Please don´t stop this posts man!

bigforearmfan said...

Great Post!

Could you post another meal plan of an oldtime bodybuilder?


Ibrahim said...

A very inspirational post!

I really don´t see any, forget attractive, usefulness or functionality in this freakish bodies of todays bodybuilders.
I mean come on even some of the bodybuilders of the 60´s and 70´s were athletes in contrary to the present bodybuilders. Last time i saw an bodybuilder(Chris Chormier) in a American Gladiator vid.
This was really sad to see.

This is the link for the vid.

John Grimek could do handbalancing, Steve Reeves trained with Rings in Sig Klein´s Gym and i saw an photo where even Arnold was doing 1 leg sqauts.

Anyway thanks!!!

Ibrahim said...

Hey i just want to give you a very good link about Marvin Eder.
Don´t be shocked if you see the address.
It´s really an interesting read.

I give this link because we are on the same path :)



- CPB - said...

Hi Ibrahim,

Thanks for the info and comments!

Yes, we do recommend a balanced physique, but that doesn't exclude broad shoulders, large forearms, etc! It just means that they are developed naturally and in proper proportion to your other body parts. Just look at any of the Golden Age champs and you will see plenty of broad shoulders, big forearms, etc. But they all still maintain classical symmetry.

We like your comment about muscle functionality. Today's drug and hormone physiques have reached such extremes that we seriously question (as you do) the functionality of such muscle and such a physique.

In the Golden Age, it was commonly stated that one of the advantages of having a classic physique was that it would make one better at athletics! This fact greatly appealled to teenagers still in school and who were required to participate in athletics. But can anyone say that the "hulk-like", extreme physiques of today give one more all-round athletic ability? We don't think so either.

Steve Reeves, John Grimek, and the other Golden Age champs were great believers in functional muscle and so are we!

Thanks for your participation on the CPB Blog!


- CPB - said...

Hi Bigforearmfan!

Welcome to CPB!

Right now, we are away from our Golden Age Library of resources (for the next few weeks), so we will post what we can. But we will definitely keep your request in mind and, in the future, we certainly intend to post more diet info from the Golden Age champs! So stay tuned and again, welcome!

All the best,