Here's a news flash. The human body hasn't changed much in the last 100 years. What worked once, will work again. What didn't -- still won't.

It's easy to get sidetracked because there's a misconception that today's bodybuilders are better than those of the past. Not so. There's simply more people bodybuilding, hence there's a bigger pool from which to draw. Take away the drugs and for the most part, today's bodybuilders wouldn't look any better than past icons such as Rick Wayne or Chet Yorton or Freddy Ortiz. As a matter of fact, I sincerely doubt if they'd look as good.

I believe the old timers of the game were more knowledgeable, more dedicated and more "advanced" than the slew of drug bloated lunkheads, pedantic geeks and armchair experts who control the sport today. It's a shame so much of their wisdom has been overlooked.The following articles are some of my favorites dedicated to the old school of bodybuilding.



So often, as athletes, we look forward to the next scientific breakthrough. What is the latest technique or diet plan that will make all the difference? We try esoteric training routines, experiment with timing the intake of food and supplements, and anxiously await hearing what this year's "Mr. Endorsement for Hire" says is the best way to build 21 inch arms. Yet, people so often forget the axiom, "the only thing new under the sun is what has been forgotten." How true. There is very little anyone has to say that hasn't been said already. But the simplistic poignancy of that statement somehow gets lost in our natural desire for progress. If something has already been done, it isn't progressive, right? Not necessarily. Many great inventions have been based on concepts that had already been in existence. Television is an extension of the technology obtained from radio and photography. Computers are a progression from television. The music we listen to is still based on the formulas used hundreds of years ago. Even most of the movies we see are really rewritings of classic literature. So why as bodybuilders do we reject our own heritage? Is there nothing that can be learned from those whom have come before us?

Perhaps the dismissal of training techniques past is due simply to the fact that the bodybuilders of yesteryear don't have the freaky musculature of today's ironmen. A fair analogy would be to say that a modern day race car driver wouldn't compete in a model T, so why go back to a less productive approach?

Although on the surface that may seem logical, it's imperative to keep one thing in mind. Despite the fact that bodybuilders from 20 and 30 years ago did not have all the technological
advancements we now enjoy, some of them were still pretty ripped! Sure, they didn't have the overwhelming mass that most of today's men (and women) possess, but besides the outrageous amounts of growth promoting drugs taken by bodybuilders today, it is important to realize that bodybuilding then was an activity taken up mostly by people who had a deficiency of some sort. Guys that were small or skinny used weight training as a form of compensation for their shortcomings. Big men didn't lift weights. They didn't need to! It wasn't until Sergio Oliva hit the scene that it became apparent how awesome a naturally large man can appear if developed to his maximum potential. When Arnold came along, the rules were changed forever. Bodybuilding became a sport of giants. Only the most genetically gifted need apply. Steroid usage went from being an "occasional aid" to the main constituent in developing one's body. It isn't uncommon these days to see people using drug dosages that would make Dorian Yates' stack seem conservative, yet they couldn't take fifth place in a Mr. Northern New Jersey contest. What's going on here?

It would seem the problem is that so many of today's bodybuilders have forgotten that bodybuilding is an art form. As odd as that may seem in this "size at any cost" era, there is an artistic component to bodybuilding that would be advisable to reinvestigate. Case in point, the first Mr. Olympia, Larry Scott, had a pair of arms that rival anyones today, but he also had narrow shoulders and a wide waist. It seemed unfathomable that he would one day be considered the best in the world. But Larry worked extra hard to sculpt ( an old fashioned word if ever there was one) his shoulders and perfect a series of twisting poses that would diminish the size of his waist and accentuate the size of his arms. Illusion, presentation, art. These days, someone with Larry's disadvantages could simply take as many steroids as he could afford (or that his metabolism could tolerate, depending on his affinity for receptor site acceptance), shoot some Esciline into his shoulders and, well, pretty much wind up looking like everyone else -- but with bigger arms. Throw in some liposuction, synthol injections, calf implants and... you get the picture.

Having been around this sport for almost 30 years, I find it fascinating when I pass along a bit of information that has been a part of my training protocol for years and it's received as something ingenious. I love it when clients ask, "where did you come up with this?" Well, the cat's out of the bag as they say. And an old cat he is. Here are a few of the training tips from the lost archives of the great sages of bodybuilding that were the staple of former weight lifters repertoire.


The old time bodybuilders depended on "feeling" what was right to do on any given day. The current train of thought is that we cannot trust our instincts. The standard cliche' is "if you listen to your instincts, they'll tell you not to train!" By developing one's instincts, or "sense of intuition" if you will, it can prove more trustworthy than a training journal. Years ago, everyone had something that set them apart, be it Zabo Koszewski's shredded abs, Harold Poole's unbelievably dense muscle separation or Steve Reeve's perfect proportions, all these men had what I'd call a "finished product" -- a result of fine tuning through experimentation. Instead of blindly following a routine, try thinking like a sculptor constructing a masterpiece. Use your imagination in the gym. Experiment with different angles and rep ranges. Why not vary the speed of each rep? Go heavy and light in the same workout? Work more if you want. Less if you want. Trust your instincts.