Sunday, January 25, 2009

Junior Mr. America - Mass Building Routine!

(Photo above: Clement Desjardins - Jr. Mr. Canada 1955, with Miss Body Beautiful Rejane Robert, on the cover of the premier Dec 1955 issue of Junior Mr. America magazine)

In December of 1955, Joe Weider came out with the first issue of his new Junior Mr. America magazine. This magazine was targetted towards teens and young men from 12 - 21 years in age. On the cover of the first issue is Clement Desjardins, Jr. Mr. Canada 1955 (at 18 years of age). You can see by the photo above that his physique is outstanding for someone his age. The idea of the magazine was to present cases/stories of young men who, in a short time, had transformed their physiques through weight training (of course, using Weider methods).

Two years before (at age 16), Clement was 5 ft 5 in. in height and weighed just 125 lbs. After 2 years of weight training, he gained 45 lbs of muscles, increased his arm size by 5 inches, chest size by 12 inches, and grew an additional 1.5 inches in height. So at 18 years, 5 ft 6.5 inches in height, and at 170 lbs, he captured the Junior Mr. Canada title in 1955!

The great thing about this magazine is that it featured real physiques and real success stories. A person reading it could actually believe that he too could gain a physique like Clement's by taking up weight training, eating right, resting properly, and leading a healthy life - of course, with a little persistance and hard work! The magazine didn't discourage guys by presenting Hulk-like physiques that are out of reach to everyone except the drug and hormone users.

As part of that first issue (Dec 1955), Joe wrote an article that kicked off a "Giant Weight Gaining Contest." He challenged young men to use the same mass building workout routine (given below), to eat plenty of nourishing foods (including a protein supplement), sleep at least 8 hrs a night, to see how much mass they could gain in one month.

Here is the mass building routine as Joe gave it:

1. Squats (3 sets of 8-10 reps)
2. Bench Press (3 sets of 8-10 reps)
3. Bent Arm Laterals/Flyes (3 sets of 8-10 reps)
4. Upright Rowing (3 sets of 8-10 reps)
5. Bent Over Rowing (3 sets of 8-10 reps)
6. Barbell Curls (3 sets of 8-10 reps)
7. Lying Triceps Curls (3 sets of 8-10 reps)
8. Sit Ups (3 sets of 8-10 reps)

This routine is to be followed 3 days a week (e.g., M, W, F or T, Th, Sa). Rest as much as you can when you are not working out. Do not follow any other sports or athletic activity while you are on this routine. Of course, no smoking or eating junk either.

We (CPB) would recommend substituting standing calf raises, seated calf raises, or calf raises on a leg press machine (for 3 sets of 20 reps) for the sit-ups (just pick one of these exercises). Sit ups aren't going to raise your muscle mass and you don't want large abdominal muscles anyway. So it is better, we think, to have a mass-building calf exercise to help build/maintain your symmetry.

For this routine, use all the weight you can handle (without straining or injuring yourself). Start with 8 reps for all sets (except calves) and work up to 10. Once you can complete 10 reps for the 3rd set, then increase the weight! Don't change the rep scheme or subtract or add any exercises to this routine!

We feel that this routine is for intemediate classic physique builders (CPBers). It is not for a beginner. An intermediate CPBer is someone who has trained systematically (following some course of instruction) for at least 3 months. If you have been working out for 3 months but have been following no particular course and/or haven't had any formal instruction, then you are still considered a beginner.

So for you intermediates, you can take Joe's 1955 challenge and give this routine a try and see how much mass you can gain in one month (you see - for us, the Golden Age still lives!)! Take your measurements before you start. Keep a workout journal of your weights and reps. Don't forget to keep your protein intake high (about 0.8 - 1.0 grams of protein per lb of body weight). Then take your measurements after 1 month on this routine and see how much you've gained! If you try this, don't forget to report your results to CPB Blog! We would definitely be interested in seeing how you did!

Joe described this routine as "ideal for building bulk"! He cited the average weight gain for one month as being 10 lbs. Of course, that will vary by individual, but you can put it to the test if you like and see what it can do for you! Even if you don't gain 10 lbs, you might be very happy with the increase in your other measurements!



Anonymous said...

hey ,
great article again. This week I wanted to start my new workout programm, but I think I'll try this one out first for the following 4 to 5 weeks and see what it does for me. I hope Joe Weider's right about the 10 lbs :p
I'll post my progress on the CPB blog

thanks again,
Great blog!!!

- CPB - said...

Hi Anonymous,

That's great! Let us know what happens!

We should have mentionned that it is a good idea to take a 1 week lay-off (no workouts at all) prior to beginning a new routine. This gives your muscles a chance to recuperate and recharge from your previous schedule and will make them more responsive to the new routine.

When you start the new bulk routine, just for the first workout, use weights a bit lighter than your limit for 3 sets of 8 reps. That should help prevent major muscle soreness. Then for your second workout and the remainder of the program, go all out.

We should also mention that Joe Weider was a great salesman! Of course, back in the Golden Age (the 40s and 50s), he had a great "product" (promoting classic physique building). But he was known to exaggerate quite a bit. But we (at CPB) know that and will try to cut through the salesmanship to give you a more real picture of things.

That being said, we think a one pound a week gain is more likely. But, for a young person still in their late teens with lots of natural testosterone flowing through their system (and in the midst of a growth spurt), gains of 10 lbs a month or more are certainly possible!

When Steve Reeves first starting working out (at 16 1/2 years of age), he didn't gain any body weight the first month, but then gained 10 lbs a month over the following 3 months. After that, it took a year to gain an additional 10 lbs.

Steve always said to never put limitations on what you think you can do. We agree! Just realize that everyone is different, but everyone can gain with proper training, proper nutrition, and proper exercise.

So do your best, think positive, visualize the classic physique you want to attain, work hard, and be consistent and persistent! We expect you will get some very, very positive results for your efforts!

Keep us posted!


The Anonymous from Italy said...

here's the Anonymous from Italy writing to you. ;-)

Steve Reeves is the best. Period.
That's ok, but there is a really BIG question about all your articles: many of us are well above 35 maybe 40 yrs of age. Not exactly teens... :-)

So, how can we fit all workouts to our elder age?

For example, many of your beautiful Reeves' pictures are depicting Steve at age 21-24 (when Stever Reeves acted in his epic movies, his age was about 33-37 yrs, but he had been training for years at highest levels! ).

So, how can we get at least some "classic physique" result despite our age?
...and Thank you for your marvelous work!!

- CPB - said...

Hi Anonymous from Italy!

Have no fear! The beauty of classic physique building is that it is natural and thus works for everyone, regardless of age - young or old!

The key to classic physique building is this:

1) understand clearly what the classic physique ideal is so that you have clear goals in mind,

2) learn classic physique principles that were discovered before the advent of steroids

3) follow an appropriate routine for your level, along with getting proper nutrition and proper rest.

Also, remember, you are competing against yourself in the end. Although we find inspiration from the CPB champs (like Reeves), we are really striving to make improvements so that we are better today than we were last month or last year (in size, symmetry, strength, etc).

A long term goal like building a classic physique begins with acheiving many short term goals along the way - 17 inch arms are built 1/8th of an inch at a time!

So don't let age hold you back. It is possible to start training at 45 and by the age of 50 have a better and more classic physique than most people have at 20 or even 30.

An older person will have to be more careful about warming up to avoid injury. They may also have to avoid certain exercises because of existing injuries (but there are always other exercises that can be substituted). It is also a good idea to check with one's doctor about weight training if one has any pre-existing medical conditions, limitations, or concerns.

Also, an older person might respond better to shorter, more abbreviated workouts (e.g., in our bulk routine for this post, an older intermediate CPBer might do 2 sets of 8 instead of 3). In addition, there are some supplements that might be helpful to an older person to boost one's energy (like B complex vitamins, and CoQ10). But all this can be easily done. Good results can still come and a classic physique can still be attained!

So stay positive! We (at CPB) will do our best to bring you the info from the Golden Age (before steroids) that is helpful to those of us who want to build a classic physique naturally - regardless of age.

All the best!