Saturday, April 10, 2010

Classic Physique Building: Symmetry Over Size!

(Photo Above: Bruce Lee from the Film "Way [or Return] of the Dragon")

OK...We all know that Bruce Lee wasn't a Classic Physique Building Champ from the pre-roid Golden Age of Bodybuilding (the 1940s and 50s). So why did I post his picture above? To illustrate a point - especially to young, aspiring classic physique builders of today. This point is that SIZE ISN"T EVERYTHING - THINK SYMMETRY!

Now, of course, as modern CPBers, most of us favor the Steve Reeves look in both symmetry and size! And those CPB champs like Monty Wolford (with 16" neck, arms, and calves at a height of 5'8") have the Reeves look of symmetry and classic size. But, Bruce Lee's physique shows us that symmetry is even more important than size!

Bruce was certainly quite a bit smaller than CPB standards and the CPB champs. Here are his best measurements (based on 1965 measurements at a bodyweight of 140lbs, height 5'7"):

Neck: 15.25"
Arms: 14"
Calves: 12.75?
Chest: 43"
Waist: 28"
Forearm: 12"
Thigh: 22"
Wrist: 6.5"

His neck, arm, and calf measurements don't quite reach the CPB ideal of being exactly the same, but they aren't that bad - the neck and calves are within about one inch of the arm measurement. And look at those lats! How's that for a classic V-taper? Quite impressive!

What these measurements demonstrate, that we can learn from, is that you don't have to have great size to have an impressive physique! That should be great news for those of us who are smaller in height and have a lighter bone structure. It is not even necessary (although it is our ideal) to aspire to the same level of mass that the CPB champs had! So instead of just thinking and being overly concerned with size, THINK SYMMETRY! Which of us would not be proud to have a physique like Bruce's in the above photo?

Now, I know that there have been allegations by some that Bruce used steroids. There seems to be evidence that he did use steroids which were prescribed for a back injury that he had. But, if he did use steroids after that (as some say), it certainly was not for the purpose of gaining extreme muscle mass! In fact, as a martial artist, he did not want large mass. Anyone can get his size without steroids! Steroid use might have contributed to his "shredded look" in his last film "Enter the Dragon." But, as CPBer's, we are not interested in the "shredded look" in any case. Our point here is simply that if you focus on symmetry, you can have a nice physique - even at a smaller size than CPB standards!

So, even though most of us might aspire to the classic Steve Reeves standard, there is nothing wrong with going smaller! And there's certainly no need to follow in the footsteps of the mass monsters of today's roid-based bodybuilding world!


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 (the 1940s and 50s) - just email us your name (first and last), the name of your city (not your actual address), state/province, and country to That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We don't share info or data with anyone. So you won't get on any unwanted list or receive any automated email/spam (even from us)!