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Fitness Tips For 8/27/2014
Back to the Future Workouts
During the 1950's a seismic shift took place in the bodybuilding
world – steroids started to become available. And although not many
knew about these powerful chemicals, they soon made their way into
all corners of the training scene. And like every other sport that
steroids eventually corrupted, steroids blurred the lines between who
was natural and who wasn't. In baseball it caused many to consider
putting an asterisk by some record holders. In track it caused many
to have their medals taken away. But in bodybuilding it was murkier
as there have been no sure-fire tests to determine who did and who
didn't use chemicals. So the question was always – did the gains come
from the training and the diet, or was it the roids?
Pre Steroid Era Bodybuilding Routines
For those who want to build a big body naturally, the only approach
is to go back to the future. And what that means is to dig into the
pre-steroid era, to find out what the best bodybuilders were doing
just before steroids took over their scene.
Full Body Workouts
One of the more popular training tools from the pre-steroid era was
a full body workout. The bodybuilder would work all the major muscle
groups in one shot, and do it two to three times a week. Each muscle
group was worked with 1-3 exercises, depending upon the workout, for
a typical repetition range of 6-8 per set.
Using a whole body routine cranked the metabolism up and got the
blood into all the muscles at once. It let the bodybuilder have quite
a bit of rest. When the body is worked on three days a week, it gets
four days for growing and rebuilding. The steroid boys keep the body
under a load all the time and even though the hyped up action they
have via the chemicals may let them train and train, in the end it
comes crashing down because the body really does need a significant
amount of rest. And that's not just the muscles, it is the nerves,
the bones, everything needs adequate repair and regrowth time.
Without it the body eventually breaks down. And many steroid uses
are like shooting stars – a big blast off to the top, and then they
Not so with the old time bodybuilders. They smartly employed a
training rotation that allowed them to give the body the rest and
recovery it needs. And in so doing they provided a path forward for
decades, not just a few years. Why did many of these guys have great
bodies in their 60s, 70s, even 80s, while many of the pros today are
dying in their 40s? The steroid versus natural factor looms huge
here. So too does the wisdom of giving the body time to rest, repair
and recover. So the first factor to rediscover from the pre-steroid
era is the importance of rest for full muscle growth.
The full body workouts also tended to utilize more compound movements
and work the body as a whole. This provides for a more athletic body.
That's another difference between the pre-steroid era bodybuilders
and today's chemical-using crowd – the first group was a lot more
Muscle Manna & More
The pre-steroid era bodybuilders obviously didn't use steroids but
they did have one natural food source that acted like a steroid, but
without side effects. This was the muscle manna, milk. Milk has a
very powerful effect on the body due to its insulin like action in
One of the most common food elements in the diets of the guys who
grew the most was milk. Whole milk is perhaps the best food element
of all you that you can use to promote muscle growth. The pre-steroid
era bodybuilders seem to know this innately and drank a lot of milk.
Some would even drink a gallon or so a day, and in turn grew like
crazy. Heavy doses of milk and metal added up to lots of gains.
Milk wasn't the only item these guys used. There was also an
innovative protein powder that worked like dynamite - Rheo H. Blair's
Blair's concocted a recipe centered on nonfat dry milk and egg white
protein with additional dried whole eggs added, along with some
vanilla flavoring and iron phosphate.
This wasn't any old protein powder either. The milk and eggs were
processed in a unique manner - a low-heat vacuum that handled the
protein in an undenatured form.
One other item on the menu – lots of liver tablets. Vince Gironda,
one of the top trainers of the era, was a big proponent of taking
liver tablets throughout the day and his methods caught on.
Gironda's dietary advice wasn't the only impact he had on this era's
thinking. Gironda was big on the symmetrical physique and that was
the hallmark of the day – a symmetrical build. Many of the top
lifters had tremendous symmetry, tiny muscular waists and big muscles
to boot. These guys were not just concerned about getting bigger
muscles, they wanted some symmetry in the development as well. Bigger
was better, but only if that "bigger" was well-built and balanced.
Some of the bodybuilders of the pre-steroid era would also use a
heavy day/ pump day split. This split saw the first workout (or two
workouts if the body was divided out) focused on heavy lifting. The
second part of the split, toward the end of the week, would feature
a workout that was a pump style session with lighter weights. This
seemed to produce good results, hitting the muscles with two
different types of stimulus each week.
The high repetition squat came of age and rose to prominence in this
era as well. You don't see too many people performing squats anymore,
let alone the high repetition version. This was a brutal workout but
produced big results. Many guys realized double digit gains on this
routine, and did so very quickly.
These guys were the original crosstrainers. They didn't camp out on
just bodybuilding but also featured a lot of Olympic and powerlifting
workouts in their training alos. This may have been included in a
workout or they might take a cycle and just focus on one style. And
many were world-class in many weight lifting disciplines, such as
Tommy Kono. These guys would enter both bodybuilding and powerlifting
and/or Olympic lifting contests because they were good at each type,
and they were very strong.
To find the best ideas for building a better body, don't get caught
up in the hype of today's roided up "hero". Instead, check into the
training and dietary habits of the guys who excelled before and
without chemical assistance. If you want a better body without the
downside of roids, look back to the pre-steroid training era get a
better idea for your future.
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Back to the Future Workouts
Neither trulyhuge.com nor the authors of this publication
assume any liability for the information contained herein.
The Information contained herein reflects only the opinion
of the author and is in no way to be considered medical advice.
Specific medical advice should be obtained from a licensed
health care practitioner. Consult your physician before you
begin any nutrition, exercise, or dietary supplement program.