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Vince Gironda Articles
Vince Gironda Exercises

(IronMan Magazine Nov 1973 Vol. 33 No. 1)

This concept allows a complete tissue break-down and insures results. Simply take the same routine you are taking now, but work your upper body three days in a row and then switch to legs and work them three days. This gives a complete 72-hour rest to the opposite area.

Ultra-violet radiation
(IronMan Magazine Nov 1973 Vol. 33 No. 1)

Ultra-violet radiation (sun lamp or sunshine), according to "Physiology of Strength" by Theodore Hettinger, M.D., Research Fellow, Max Planck Institute, Datmund, Germany, doubles strength - as opposed to no radiation while training on the same course of exercise. the gains are due to radiation stepping up the output of male hormone.

Increasing Muscle Size
(IronMan Magazine March 1976 Vol. 35 No. 3)

people are under the misconception that any exercise makes muscles grow larger and stronger. That's not true. Back in 1925 German scientists discovered that to acquire large muscles you must increase the intensity of work done within a given time. That means that it doesn't matter how much work you do. What counts is how fast you do it. This discovery has come to be known as the overload principle. Perhaps the most famous experiment which demonstrates it involves rats trained to run at different speeds for varying lengths of time. Rats that ran at 6 meters per minute for 195 miles had smaller muscles that rats that ran at 26 meters per minute, but for only 58 miles. In another study all rats ran the same speed. One group ran for an hour per day for three months for a total of 35 miles. Another ran at the same speed for 3 hours a day for six months, a total of 207 miles. When the experiment ended, the size of the muscles in both the groups remained the same.

The principle of overload also explains why sprinters have bigger and larger muscles that distance runners. Although it's more work to run a mile than it is to run 100 yards, the sprinter is doing more work per second. Consequently, his muscles will become larger.

A muscle is composed of muscle fibers, the number of which vary from person to person in the same muscle. The muscle fibers in the upper arm of one man may number 40,000 while the calf muscle may contain 1,120,000 fibers. Another person may have only 946,000 fibers. Heredity controls the number of muscle fibers present, and it will not change.

It it these muscle fibers which determine how large a muscle can grow. In 1897 an Italian scientist named Morpurgo showed that even though exercise had produced a 50 per cent increase in the size of a muscle, the number of muscle fibers stayed the same. The reason for the change was the increase in diameter - about 40 per cent - of the muscle fibers. Thus, he developed the principle now commonly accepted that strength development has a definite limitation depending on the number of muscle fibers present at birth and on the fixed maximum size to which any muscle fiber may grow. That means that people who want to grow stronger cannot expect unlimited development. Heredity has already drawn the line. But, through proper exercise they may reach their heredity boundaries.

Confirmation of an Experiment
(IronMan Magazine Jan 1976 Vol. 35 No. 2)

(Although I feel this experiment was not carried out as I would have conducted it (abdominal work should have been excluded) I still feel that anyone can expect the following results which I consider minimal.)

Dear Vince:

You mentioned in an article sometime ago that you would like to hear from people who had duplicated your experiment with desiccated liver. I carried out the experiment for two months. The first month I took thirty desiccated liver tablets each day (10 at each meal). I made the following gains:

Arm .......... ¼"
Chest ........ ½"
Thigh ........ ½"
Calf ......... 1/8"

The second month I took two 7½ grain liver tablets as you suggested. At first it was hard to remember to take the tablets every hour, but by the end of the month I had gained the following:

Arm .......... 3/8"
Chest ........ ½"
Thigh ........ 3/8"
Calf ......... 5/8"

I used six sets of six reps for each muscle group with the exception of squats which I worked three sets of fifteen reps. I followed the same exercise program both months except the second month I followed each set of squats with dumbbell pullovers for the chest. I hope the information will prove useful.

While researching a paper for school I came across some interesting facts. An article dealing with steroids and strength building mentioned an experiment conducted in 1953. The researchers found the optimum protein intake was 18.7 per cent. Some subjects were given up to 40 per cent of the calories in their diet as protein, but it was concluded that any amount over 18.7 per cent was wasted. This would mean that a person eating 3,000 calories would get 561 calories from protein and at four calories for each gram of protein, this would work out at 140 grams of protein. These test subjects were on steroids so perhaps the non-steroid user would need less because steroids are known to aid nitrogen retention. This seems to debunk the idea that bodybuilders need 300-400 grams of protein daily.


Dave Simmons

Manual for Gym Instructions
(IronMan Magazine Jan 1977 Vol. 36 No. 2)

1. Develop illusion of width across chest (parallel dips, dip slide or ped push-ups.)

2. Increase chest measurement by accentuating taper (Terris Major) with short pull (chest concave, elbows wide) not lats

3. Bring up arm measurement with peak bicep (Spider bench) double contraction

4. Pull out middle tricep for corresponding line of measurement on tape, with pulley push down (elbows firm to body and thumbs on top of bar.)

5. Bring out dramatic illusion of width by using DB laterals or shoulder width upright rowing. Laterals are tilted down (front bell - elbows bent.)

6. Give no abdominal work of any kind or you will stop all muscle growth.

7. Give forearm work seated on bench (straddle and actually lay bar on bench each rep (singles).) Thumbs must be under bar. Forearms and wrists are on top of thighs with wrists hanging over knees.

8. Reverse BB curls are done with collar width grip and bar rubs body on the curl and down. Hacks are done in Frog Squat position, heels together and back under hips. Toes are wide - 12 inches.

9. Calves are always done with shoes 4" wide and come up on big toe drawing heel together at top of movement (knees are unlocked).

Nutrition will not be discussed because nutrition is highly individualized.

Do not deviate from these exercises because anything other than this routine will not cause super fast visual results.

Instinctive Training
(IronMan Magazine May 1974 Vol. 33 No. 4)

This is a term invented by so-called Body Building Experts who do not have the answers and pass the buck to you to take the blame for your bodybuilding failures. Some have claimed that I have contradicted myself and I actually do believe in instinctive training. I state again that you cannot train instinctively!!!

You must have a working knowledge of anatomy, kinesiology and nutrition. With this knowledge you are only selecting variations of exercises and putting them to use. When I trained Larry Scott he never deviated from any course that I laid out for him. Every six to nine months he would ask for a variation on an exercise he was doing to add to his routine or substitute for one he was doing. He was extremely methodical and had 100 per cent confidence in what he was doing was the best there was for the particular portion of the muscle he wished to bring into prominence. Hundreds of would-be physique stars with far greater potential than Larry Scott, have trained in my gym, but none of them took advantage of my instruction the way Scott did, and as a result they never achieved much in the physique world.

Remember that you would not need a teacher if you could devise a workout program from instinct. I
had my teachers; two men taught me to observe, question, analyze, experiment and study. My teachers were men who devised a sound muscle building system by trial and error. We were constantly doing exercises, devising equipment and poking and prodding each other and asking, "Is that where you feel it? Is it sore here or here?"

I do not wish to belittle anyone with this article, but as you know, I have the reputation for being forcefully frank and honest and I can do no less than speak my mind. I have been misquoted by some - who report to be experts and they are only experts in not understanding what my training methods are about in the first place. Words are worthless and often nebulous - results are what count!

QUESTION: Science as yet has not proven conclusively whether instinct is acquired or innate (learned) - or a combination of both. Every topnotch bodybuilder who has ever come to me for a program of exercise has over-trained himself. And this is the basic reason he came to me because he was at a standstill and could not make any further gains. I learned this principle 20 years ago by observing a man who came to me to train him - who was a former weight lifter turned bodybuilder. He had great enthusiasm, ambition and energy. But he could not handle any program I put him on until I cut him down to three sets of eight reps. On this program he flourished and won every local contest he entered! This fellow prompted me to write my first magazine article called, "Train - Don't Strain."

Some of you might remember this fellow - his name was Ralph Mascaro and he was one of the first really cut up physiques around at that time.

The lesson to be learned here is if you are not making gains on your present course, simplify it by cutting down to one exercise per muscle, cut back your sets and reps and start using better form. You notice that I did not say cut down on weight. Just use slower movements and do every set as if it were the last set you could do!

Instinct is the animal's way of survival. If we still had this natural faculty in all its ramifications we wouldn't be eating synthetics and contaminated sprayed foods, etc. We have over-ridden this instinct of knowing inwardly what to do for maximum health and strength and let our egos command us ...the more reps, the bigger muscle tissue, etc. Charles Atlas demonstrated this pointedly - his early ads made you want to build a bigger body so the bully wouldn't kick sand in your face and make off with the girl. This is instinctive ego (mating) not instinctive training!

Success Over Adversity
(IronMan Magazine May 1978 Vol. 37 No. 4)

By Herbert Gibbons - As Told to Vince Gironda

Herbert Gibbons has certainly developed an outstanding physique which enabled him to compete in the Mr. Universe in London, quite an accomplishment for a man with so little promise previously. His case is ample proof that adversity need not keep you from accomplishment. Photo courtesy author.

Herbert Gibbons
c-o Herbert Gibbons Health Centre
3rd Floor
Lenburn House
cnr Moffat St. - Union Ave.,

Vince Gironda
Vince's Gym
11262 Ventura Boulevard
North Hollywood, California 91604

Dear Vince:

Firstly, many thanks for your two letters I received. Being a gym owner myself, I appreciate how difficult it is to be able to sit down and write letters to people. Anyway, also thanks for the three books you sent. They have been a tremendous help over the past few months in the gym and particularly in my own training. Since I have received your book on arms, I am employing it to improve my own for this year's Mr. Universe in London, to which I have again been invited by Oscar Heidenstam.

Vince, you ask me for my life story in the gym so you could have it to publish in the "Iron Man." Well, it would be a tremendous honor for me if you could do this and it would show many our cause towards helping the fight against Communism.

Going back to 1957,1 started weight training in Northern Rhodesia in a small town called Livingstone, where we found it very difficult to train, because of the extreme heat and humidity, and as we sweated so much we used to drink a lot of water between exercises. The man I owe much gratitude to during my early days of training was Dave Hughes who himself was an outstanding bodybuilder, despite a late start at weight training at the age of 28. He was also an ardent follower of Vince Gironda theories and Systems which he followed through the "Iron Man" etc.

After having placed in and won a few small contests, and also having won numerous weightlifting titles, I opened up my own gym in 1960, in Bulawayo in Rhodesia. My gym then was a small wood and iron building that was very old, and on numerous occasions when someone dropped a heavy weight, it went right through the wooden floor. However, although it was a rough and ready gym, it was great training with chaps who in later years to come returned to my present my gym.

In 1965, I moved to Salisbury Rhodesia and opened up another gym where I still operate today. Moving to a bigger city and also going into gym business full-time, I had to build better and more equipment. As I am by trade an engineering fitter, I was able to build all my own conventional equipment.

My first three years in gym business in Sallabury were very hard going to establish myself and at times I had to take on other employment to get by. Also in 1965, the Communist terrorists started attacking Rhodesia and I joined the police anti-terrorist unit to help in the fight against this threat.

This took up a lot of time through the years up to the present where we are still fighting Communism and terrorism on our borders not only fighting the terrorists, but also neighboring countries who have already been taken over by the Communists.

Despite the terror war, we in Rhodesia have carried on our daily lives in a country that is still one of the peaceful countries in the world today, free of big crime, drugs, etc.!

Through the gymnasium, I have helped hundreds of men get fit for army service as almost every man in Rhodesia is dedicated to fighting Communism, and we have many men from all countries - British, American (ex Vietnam soldiers) in our Rhodesian Army fighting the Communist threat.

As my gym membership grew, I moved into larger premises in 1966 where I still operate my present gymnasium, which I have equipped with virtually all selectorized equipment which I have personally built during the last eight years, plus the conventional barbell, dumbbells and other equipment.

Through the years of training, I have personally trained on most of Vince Gironda's theories and systems which I studied through the "Iron Man" and some years ago, when Vince brought out his series of books. Using his methods only, I have instructed others in my gym.

I have also done well in physique contests - in 1973 I placed second to Reg Park in the Mr. Southern Africa, I won the 1973 Tall Man Mr. Republic of R.S.A. and was invited to enter the Professional Mr. Universe in London in 1974 and 1975 and have been once again invited this year to compete. Therefore, I feel without the help of Vince Gironda through his letter and books, I would not have achieved these few successes at the age of 43 years. My wife Wendy has been a tremendous help through the years of building up the gym, instructing our lady members and keeping the records of the membership and accounts, etc.

My three children, Sharon 23 years, keeps in shape at a gymnasium in Johannesburg where she lives, Audrey 21 years of age, my second daughter, keeps fit through diet and playing tennis. My son, Ernest, 19 years of age, also trains in the gym, time allowing as he is doing his national service in the army. There are hundreds of fathers and sons of all races fighting together on the Rhodesian borders. Our fight in Rhodesia may be a long war, but we will win through against the scourge of communism and I hope that through the kindness of the "Iron Man" publishers, publishing my lifestyle in the gym etc., this will serve to show readers in America and elsewhere the true situation in Rhodesia and not the trumped up stories by biased news media around the world.

Intensity Training
(Musclemag Magazine February 1985)

How much intensity do you recommend your advanced pupils use in their training? This has got to be the most asked question of all. I would like to know your opinion.

Intensity, once you are past the beginners stage, must be over 85 percent. Anything less is a waste of time. 100 percent effort only works for the genetically gifted bodybuilder on steroids. Exactly how much intensity you should use, allowing for your being in top health would be somewhere around 85.90 percent, depending on workout length and frequency. Obviously a 4 hour long workout cannot be completed using maximum intensity on every exercise. Try to get the feel of your body's feedback system. Most muscles need 72 hours to fully recuperate. Better to undertrain than overtrain.

Bodybuilding for Women
(Musclemag Magazine February 1985)

I had to write to you Mr Gironda because I have seen your book at my local booksellers where I live but I did not buy it because I saw that you recommended weight training exercises, and I am just not convinced that weight training is the right way to shape my body. I am 31 years old, healthy and slightly fat. Is weight training better than racquet sports for shaping my body?

There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that can shape up a women's figure faster or better than bodybuilding with weights.

Not swimming, dancing, running, cycling, aerobics, tennis, squash, athletics, hiking ... nothing does it like weights. I have no axe to grind. I do not have a vested interest in weights. I do not sell them. They are, after all, mere lumps of iron. I would be just as happy telling you that jogging would shape you up, or that the way to a super body was through free standing exercises, aerobics or cheerleading even, but I would not be telling the truth. Weight training is the answer. Go back to that store and buy my book.

(Musclemag Magazine February 1985)

Do you go by the feel of an exercise or do you go for the pump or a certain weight for reps or what? I have trouble isolating certain muscle groups like lats, rear delts, upper pecs, lower triceps, outside of the calf and if I use heavy weights I just don't feel like I'm working these areas. How do you use heavy weights and still isolate muscle groups?

Would it be better to use less weight and feel it in the muscle more or is the weight more important?

You cannot always get the exact feel you want. Don't just work for heavy weights. Try moderate weights for a while using perfect form. For the lats do a variety of pull downs, concentrating on the stretch. Rear delts: give the Incline bench lateral raise (body facing bench) a try. Upper pec are worked well with dumbbell incline bench set at a shallow 30° angle. Single arm triceps extensions work the lower triceps and the outside calf is worked best with standing calf raise putting stress over the big toe.

Ask Vince
(Musclemag Magazine February 1985)

I've always been interested in what you have written Mr. Gironda, but also I am aware that some things you say are radical to say the least. Some might say your ideas border on being 'strange'. I mean you do not like the squat or the bench press. These are the two basic moves in bodybuilding. You seldom recommend any shoulder pressing or regular barbell curls. Why are you different from everyone else?

I do not set out to be different from everybody else. It's just that my practical experience in training champion bodybuilders (and I mean training them, not just claiming to train them) extends 'to a longer' period of time than anyone else . . . it is reasonable, I believe, to understand that I may have picked up a thing or two.. .I am not a great believer in the exercises you mention because I have found superior substitutions, better movements. Exercises that give more shape, more development and quicker than other methods. You don't have to buy my book to find out everything I believe. Get it free from your local library.

Do I Have It?
(Musclemag Magazine February 1985)

How do you tell if you have a good potential for bodybuilding?

Good potential for bodybuilding Is not just a matter of physical genetics. Your mind must be of the right framework to advance your progress in spite of set backs.

Potential shows itself within the first year of training. In fact some really 'genetically gifted' bodybuilders even win local and state contests within the first year of training.

Oxygen Loading
(Musclemag Magazine February 1985)

In your "Unleashing the Wild Physique" book, which feel is definitely the best book ever written on bodybuilding, you talk about "Oxygen Loading". Do you really believe this helps build a better body?

Sure I do, otherwise I wouldn't have written about its importance. Your muscles greatly benefit from Oxygen loading because by doing it you are paying back the debt created by the last set of exercise.

Without it you could outrun your cardiovascular system. Oxygen Loading is particularly important in peak contraction movements and for any type of delayed activity (such as forced or aided reps) during a set. I would like to see everyone using my oxygen loading principle.

Slow 'n Fast Muscle
(Musclemag Magazine February 1985)

What do you recommend when one muscle group grows slower than the rest of the body? Everything is growing but my arms. Should I do more sets and / or exercises for this area or more forced reps and harderwork or should I train the area more often or a combination of all three?

You may have to change exercises to find more workable movements. Experiment with Tri.sets. That is performing 3 bicep exercises, one after the other. Then repeat the whole cycle again. Perform 4 cycles of three different biceps exercises and 4 cycles of three different triceps exercises. Work to increase weight load slightly each workout and gradually decrease rest time between exercises to zero. Growth comes from a training frequency per muscle group of 2 or 3 times a week. No less no more.

An Insight Into Gironda
(Musclemag Magazine April 1985)

by Bob Green

'From an open letter : Inside a highly specialized Vince Gironda course'

Day One
A note on my desk

I arrived home on a Friday after a week of garnering interviews, or at least trying to get them. On my desk was a note that Vince Gironda had called Wednesday. Before I even had the chance to finish reading all my mail, the 'ol ESP went off and so did the phone - it was Vince.

Needless to say, he was very enthusiastic and really wanted to get something across. "Green", he started immediately, "I want to do something I've never done before. I'd like you to write it up in the magazines. Send it to Kennedy. It'll give the readers a DIRECT INSIGHT into the "kinds" of instruction I would give an ADVANCED GUY ... a champion, for instance."

"I want to show folks some of the things I do and/or suggest to people in my private, personalized programs. The same kind Makkawy and Roy Duval have been doing since last year. Look at the results these guys are getting and they're already contest winners!"

"Well, I've just been contacted by another one. A guy whose placed in the top three at the NABBA Mr. Universe - IAN LAWRENCE. The guy's gotta be one of the top 3 or 4 guys in the world for solid muscular mass! Zero Fat!!! I mean...the guy is a phenomenon and he wants me to train him.

"I want to write it up as an OPEN LETTER. First we'll send him the beginning or first installment of a private course, then we'll do an article in "open letter-style" to ILLUSTRATE the main points and the direction I would go with a guy who is truly advanced."

I admit - he had me going. I'd seen some shots in Iron Man a couple of years ago on Ian Lawrence of Scotland. Truly massive. One of the most impressive, indeed. But so are Makkawy and Roy Duval and I'd seen their recent improvement under Vince's guidance. Sure, I'd love to do it.

Day Two

I got to Vince's in the morning and he quickly produced a detailed, 5-page letter and several 8 x 10's of Ian. Chris Lund shots taken during a contest, but close-up. As I perused them in wonderment, Vince eased back in his chair and started right In

VINCE ... "The guy is such a GENETIC SUPERIOR, yet he did something with it. But he's not winning the Universe! Why? He's already incredible. The shows are just getting that tough. I started working on a few things: Outer delt / Anterior Aspect of Lateral Head, Outer or lateral aspect of the Biceps, tricep his letter, you'll notice he complains about a nagging Triceps problem; probably concentrate on the Outer Tricep profile first. (Author's note: meanwhile, this guy's arm is around the 19" category with a high, full peaked biceps!)

"Most of all ... I have to get him to concentrate on the WIDE aspect of the Pectoral; to provide an unbroken line (shadow) under his pecs and delts to create more of the illusion of width.

"Posing and general appearance are so very, very important when you're a top-caliber physique competitor. EVERY LITTLE THING IS IMPORTANT.

Look at how many guys with incredible development that are losing contests THEY SHOULD HAVE WON.

"I perceived this with Roy Duval. Other than two factors (a problem with dieting and a different APPROACH to training), it HAD TO BE HIS PRESENTATION. You will see a "new" Roy Duval in the next world championships. Improved posing with charisma and arrogance."

BOB GREEN ... "Charisma means so much. Some that don't have it naturally (and so many don't; that indefinable element). But I agree that it can be developed ... to an extent at least... I mean, at least for their performance. Is that why you included the word "arrogance"? To get Roy and some of these others to project more confidence, strength, etc.?

"I've been going back to contests lately and I've seen some shows where guys like Robby Robinson, Roy Callender, Casey Viator and a few others -should have won hands down. They were so much more well-developed. They just simply should have won. I know that the aforementioned gentlemen, since they've greatly improved their presentations, have won more and more contests. Aren't you working with Dennis Tinerino on this, too? It shows.

~They're scaring the pants off the lesser-developed athletes who've been getting by with slightly superior 'acts'."

VINCE... "That's what I'm getting at. Sure, I can make some training observations that will enhance outer deltoid, outer triceps, more upper lat width, etc. But there's more!

"Now this guy (Ian), his diet isn't all that bad. In fact, it's pretty good. He complains of Low Pecs, this and that and then right into an energy problem towards the end of the week. He needs liver tabs and a couple of other supplements. Like Glandulars. They're great!

"The one supplement he IS taking has changed in the nature of its usefulness: it has become COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE. You'll notice the slight puffiness in the abs, even though they stand out. These things can be corrected in a decent amount of time. The hard thing will be his posing. As you know, I've been working with Makkawy. You saw him pose a few months ago when he came down with Bob
Kennedy and Chris Lund. Ken Wheeler arranged for Makkawy to get over here.

"His posing is becoming masterful. He has new "stage presence" which I had to teach him in two weeks before his last show. He is now even better! He rocked 'em in Atlantic City last year.

"Very few could hit poses that COMPLIMENTED their physique while DE-EMPHASIZING THEIR WEAK POINTS. Grimek, Ross, Sandow... I worked very hard in this area. I was lucky to have BOTH an athletic back-ground AND a show business one. It makes a difference. I think too many physique competitors and promoters forget that the contest they're in or doing is also a 'show'; . a performance. Personally, I practiced posing a 1/2 hour every day!

"No amount of development will overshadow a real pro that has SIMILAR development and KNOWS HOW TO MOVE - HOW TO DISPLAY, TANTALIZE AND CONFOUND THE AUDIENCE. Remember, too, that the judges (in a large way) are the audience.

"Once you learn to develop the various aspects (inner, lower, outer contour, belly, etc.) of your weak points... you may still find that genetic structure has dealt you some (relative) limitations.

All can be overcome and improved.

"The next thing you do, if you want to compete, is to tailor your poses to fit your physique. Then learn how to present it in a dramatic and entertaining way.

"If Ian would work on his posing and bring up the few developmental aspects he needs, he could place higher."

The following is an open letter from Vince Gironda to one of his top-flight students and the latest of many to seek his help - Ian Lawrence of Scotland:

Dear Ian,

Thank you for writing. I thoroughly enjoy working with professional attitudes as displayed by your in-depth letter and the background you sent me.

Most of the time I have been commissioned to work with movie stars, entertainers and television personalities. All the while working with championship bodybuilders to be in this category. This is my first love. Personally, I work all aspects, but to work with a dedicated athlete of your obvious calibre...ahhh, this is truly "get up for".

It seems that the "new breed" of bodybuilders has suddenly re-discovered this "laboratory of thought and application" called my gym, Roy Duval, Mohamed Makkawy most recently and others, who have come to me "quietly" before major contests. The latter individuals because they were in trouble - not finely tuned enough, but were either under contract to someone or trained at another gym.

I must commend you on the incredible amount of mass you've developed. Moreover, your absence of bodyfat makes it all the more impressive. I can't think of anybody, off-hand and now competing, who is bigger. You are right up there with the top two or three guys in the world.

First of all, I think we have a classic case here of "bigger is not always better." Obviously! or you would've won the Universe a long time ago. You are the Farnese Hercules incarnate. But like this type of physique, you may have a tendency to be somewhat "blocky" in certain shots. SO DON'T POINT THAT UP!!!!

You're on the right track with your training: the Double Split, the number of reps you do etc., but some modification should be done with your back training.

The thing that HAS to be worked on immediately is your posing. Then, maybe some aspects of your overall appearance. For example: your Most Muscular shot is BASIC CRUDE! it will only make your waist look wider and your physique blockier to the judges AND the audience. The leg shouldn't be pointed straight out, but bent (slightly) into a serpentine "S" and the hands fixed slightly BEHIND the waist - while the body is twisted a bit at an angle to DIMINISH waist size.

The idea behind posing is to create effect and illusion. Also, NEVER LOOK THE CAMERA STRAIGHT IN THE EYE. The same goes for the audience. Look just above them or a little off to the side. lift the head a little more. Learn to be more dramatic. Your posing should be approached like a PERFORMANCE. Contests are shows. It's showbiz, Ian, whether you like it or not. Promoters today are just starting to pick up on this again.

Be dramatic, heroic..even slightly arrogant in some of your side and three-quarter poses. Tilting the chin up creates better lighting for the face and the upper tie-in of the TOP of your body. For instance, on a three-quarter shot, the head looks up at a slight tilt and then over the shoulder - DRAMATICALLY - and it SLENDERIZES the Sternocleido Mastoids of the neck to make your shoulders appear broader. I repeat: what's going on up there on stage IS drama. Play it up.

Another thing: the mustache doesn't compliment your marvelously broad grin. In person I'm sure it's fine and we all like to see a smile once in awhile, but onstage, with the lighting, the mustache makes your smile look like a wide grin on a Cheshire cat. You may want to ditch the mustache...just for the next contest.

Your hairstyle is another item. Remember, I'm only making these observations to help you. Your general appearance has a bearing on the outcome of your next contest. Either style your hair differently or let it get slightly longer. Find a competent hair stylist that will shape your cut to fit your head shape, hairline.

I cannot over-emphasize how important these (seemingly) little things are. They all add up to winning. Please send me some more photos to further help your posing.

Vince Gironda

(Musclemag Magazine April 1985)

Would you explain to me exactly what your creating an illusion'' technique is all about? I just don't understand any of it. I have skim read your writing for many years but I still don't understand what you are all about Vince. Keep it simple and explain... please.

Few people have ideal proportions to begin with. Hold it! Let me rephrase that.

Only two perfect frames exist in bodybuilding. Cory Everson and Sergio Oliva. The rest of us have to make do with a less than perfect inheritance. If you are around the norm you will have shoulders that are too narrow, biceps that are too short, hips that are too wide etc., etc. My methods of "creating an illusion" are designed to make an average person as near to an Oliva or an Everson as is humanly possible.

In other words, putting muscle where it counts. It's all in my book "Unleashing the Wild ,Physique" (you can get a copy at your local library) but basically I believe in adding to shoulder width, pectoral width and lat width, while decreasing the waist and hips as much as possible. Using exercises that build overall (random) mass will not improve your appearance. In fact if your choice of exercises are like most bodybuilders you will end up with a bunched-up look that will only impress a set of scales! You sure won't look like any "wild physique."

Time to workout
(Musclemag Magazine March 1979 Vol. 4 Issue 1)

I need your advice. I am presently one of the top competitors on my college's gymnastic team.

I practice very hard, year round. I also have been bodybuilding for three years now and I enjoy it as much as gymnastics. My problem is this: Our gymnastics team practices from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. weeknights. I have classes that begin at 8:00 in the morning. I usually do my bodybuilding workouts from 1:00 to 2:00 Monday, Wednesday, ~and Friday afternoons. My afternoon workouts take a lot of energy, and when it comes to gymnastic practice I'm pooped. I don't want to give up bodybuilding or gymnastics because I enjoy both very much, so I'm left with the problem of when to do my body work.

I've thought of doing my bodybuilding after gymnastic practice, but this wouldn't give me enough sleep (only 6 hours). I'm also afraid that I'm over-working my muscles and not reaching my full potential. Can you think of a solution to this problem? I'm anxious to hear from you.

As to finding the time to work out is concerned, you will have to decide this for yourself! One thing I will suggest is to take 3 Argintine Beef Liver capsules and 3 Amino Acid tablets every three hours, also 6 phosphorous free molusk and egg shell calcium tablets 3 times a day at meals.

Problem between the ears
(Musclemag Magazine March 1986 Vol. 11 No. 2)

I have very narrow shoulders, no lat development, and my tibialis anticus (in front of my shins) is way underdeveloped. I am really worried about this problem (my tibialis). My legs are so-so but I have huge thigh biceps. They are humongous. That's it, but my main problem is my tibialis.

Your problem is not your tibialis my friend. I strongly suspect from your letter that your problem is between the ears.

After admitting that your physique is "narrow shouldered, no lat development with humongous thigh biceps". Why would you be so concerned with a Mickey mouse muscle like the tibialis anticus?

Your physique sounds like a mess, but the tibialis is not your problem!

I suggest you embark on an all round routine of wide grip parallel bar dips, upright rows, lateral raise, wide grip chins, front squats (heels on 2" block) calf raise, crunches, incline dumbbell curls and triceps extensions. Five sets of eight. Split your routine in two and train three days on, one day off, doing only half the routine each workout... and for God's sake, forget the tibialis'.

Cycling and bodybuilding
(Musclemag Magazine March 1986 Vol. 11 No. 2)

This past summer I got very interested in bicycling. Would you help me with a program concentrating on improving my performance in bicycling and yet maintain or improve my upper body? I don't know how without over training.

I am 5'9", 160 lbs., at 39 years of age. I have been into bodybuilding for many years. I weighed 190 lbs. about a year ago. I now like the leaner look. I have all your books and read every bit of advice you give in all the muscle mags.

You are asking a very difficult question, because you do not give enough information about your present training.

Right now you should decide whether you want to really excel at building a great body or at improving your performance in bicycling? If you want both yet fear you are overtraining, then cut back on the cycling and the bodybuilding. Perform three sets of eight on the following. Wide grip parallel bar dips, dumbbell lateral raise, seated pulley rows, leg press, thigh curls, calf raise (higher reps) body drag curls, triceps curls, crunches (higher reps).

Train each body part twice weekly (two workouts a week if you train the whole body in one session, or four workouts a week (recommended) if you split your routine.

Vince Eccentric?
(Musclemag Magazine February 1987)

Friends of mine said that they visited your gym, which they like, but they said you are a little eccentric. When she asked your opinion about some bread she had bought, you threw it across the gym in disgust because it didn't fit your nutritional standards. . . and then they said when a person brought a radio into the gym to play heavy rock music, you kicked it of the bench.


Gain muscle - lose fat
(Musclemag Magazine October 1988)

Is it possible to simultaneously gain muscle and lose fat, while retaining the same bodyweight? I want to lose fat without losing weight.

Of course it's possible. That's the whole idea of bodybuilding, to lose fat while gaining muscle. You may lose 10 pounds of fat and replace it with 10 pounds of muscle, so your weight gain will be zero but your body will look totally different. The secret to gaining muscle while losing fat is to train as I suggest in my courses, with little rest between sets as possible and working for a maximum pump in the minimum amount of sets.

Your diet should be high in protein and nutritious food. Eat 6 small meals a day as opposed to 3 large ones. Take amino's with your meals and in between meals to keep you in positive nitrogen balance and to keep your blood sugar levels elevated.

(Musclemag Magazine May 1991)

Vince, help! I have a problem. I'm 5'10" tall and weigh 203 pounds. I've been training for three good years, three times per week, faithfully. I am well pleased with my general shape (apart from my short thighs, but there is nothing I can do about that). I have reasonably good cuts, but I am short of muscle size and definition on the lat, intercostal tie-in.

I do lots of bench (47" chest) and have good lat size ('V' shape), but it all falls away under my arms and side chest area when I do a front lat spread. I am male - white, and 26 years old. Please help.

Stop right there. I don't need to know your life story - or your color. What you are trying to tell me - I think is that you lack that highly prized muscle group known as the serratus. I call them the 'jewels of the chest." You're right in thinking that without them the lat spread looks all wrong. Ask Bob Kennedy. He will agree 100%. He says that their visual prominence, or otherwise, is a good indicator to overall body definition and fat levels. He also says (quite rightly) that the serratus above all, add that finishing touch of quality to a physique.

To build them you must include Gironda dips to your workouts, twice weekly. Do you know what they are? No? Well they are dips that are wide enough to enable you to get a good stretching action at the bottom of the movement, and a contraction at the top. They are best done on a V-shaped dipping bar - but not necessarily so. Just make sure that the bars are at least 32 inches apart. Be sure to mentally tense the serratus hard on each rep. Use a weight if you are strong enough, but aim for 8 sets of 8 reps. Drop your chin to your chest with the upper back rounded. Elbows must be straight out to the sides.

Two others you should include later are the straight, single-arm pulldown to the side and dumbbell pullovers. Pullovers can be done over a bench to get maximum stretch. Again, make sure that you tense the serratus at the top of the movement. That's how to build them. To show them - diet!

Gironda Explains His Opposition to Running
(IronMan Magazine March 1976 Vol. 35 No. 3)

In response to request to elaborate on problems of running in conjunction with bodybuilding: after thirty years in the gym business a man does not have to be very smart to learn a few basic truths. Observation of repetitious failures of successes in bodybuilding problems finally becomes startlingly clear.

Even animals learn through repetition without any outside influence. The first article I ever wrote for a physique magazine was concerning overtraining (Train, Don't Strain).

Top men from all over the country who consult me on their training problems are all, down to the last man, overtraining! Too many sets, too many reps, too many different exercises. I teach them to simplify their routines and if you can absorb this - train harder. (Train over your head). Get more work done in the shortest period of time, and stay within the confines of your own personal blood sugar levels. Blood sugar level drop and losing your pump go hand in hand. When this occurs you drop into a catabolic state (overtonis, hormone loss, capillary shrinkage, flaccid muscle tissue and a smooth appearance). At this point you have over-trained; this happens because the central nervous system, stimulating capillaries to expand, suddenly stops the process so you do not rupture the capillaries. At this point there is a definite muscle tissue loss, which is followed by general weakness and lassitude (Negative Nitrogen Balance).

Abdominal work also produces central nervous system shock and the aforementioned condition if not fully understood by the trainer. Needless to say, running also produces the same state. At this point I am presenting an article from a jogging and running magazine (now out of print) called "Fitness for Living", November, December, 1968 issue. The article explains what makes muscle tissue grow and what does not. Also, I am including a page from my newest booklet on 'Overtonis' (Vince's 6-Week Bulk Course).

Increasing Muscle Size:

Many people are under the misconception that any exercise makes muscles grow larger and stronger. That's not true. Back in 1925 German scientists discovered that to acquire large muscles you must increase the intensity of work done within a given time. That means that it doesn't matter how much work you do. What counts is how fast you do it. This discovery has come to be known as the overload principle. Perhaps the most famous experiment which demonstrates it involves rats trained to run at different speeds for varying lengths of time. Rats that ran at 6 meters per minute for 195 miles had smaller muscles that rats that ran at 26 meters per minute, but for only 58 miles. In another study all rats ran the same speed. One group ran for an hour per day for three months for a total of 35 miles. Another ran at the same speed for 3 hours a day for six months, a total of 207 miles. When the experiment ended, the size of the muscles in both the groups remained the same.

The principle of overload also explains why sprinters have bigger and larger muscles that distance runners. Although it's more work to run a mile than it is to run 100 yards, the sprinter is doing more work per second. Consequently, his muscles will become larger.

A muscle is composed of muscle fibers, the number of which vary from person to person in the same muscle. The muscle fibers in the upper arm of one man may number 40,000 while the calf muscle may contain 1,120,000 fibers. Another person may have only 946,000 fibers. Heredity controls the number of muscle fibers present, and it will not change.

It it these muscle fibers which determine how large a muscle can grow. In 1897 an Italian scientist named Morpurgo showed that even though exercise had produced a 50 per cent increase in the size of a muscle, the number of muscle fibers stayed the same. The reason for the change was the increase in diameter - about 40 per cent - of the muscle fibers. Thus, he developed the principle now commonly accepted that strength development has a definite limitation depending on the number of muscle fibers present at birth and on the fixed maximum size to which any muscle fiber may grow. That means that people who want to grow stronger cannot expect unlimited development. Heredity has already drawn the line. But, through proper exercise they may reach their heredity boundaries.

The Bodybuilder's Greatest Pitfall: Overtonis:

Overtonis is a condition caused by too many sets, too many different exercise combinations - in short, overwork, which causes muscle tissue loss, hormone depletion, weakness and a smoothed-out appearance, inability to produce a pumping effect and a general lassitude or weakness.

Overtonis produces a stringy appearance with no healthy round look apparent in a properly worked muscle.

Overtonis is caused by male hormone loss.

Overtonis causes the central nervous system to cease pumping blood into capillaries which might otherwise rupture. To achieve a maximum pump exercise until you notice pump loss. At this point, check back the number of sets, tempo and repetitions required to achieve this effect. This is your personal exercise requirement level.

The Bodybuilder's Greatest Pitfall: Overtonis
(IronMan Magazine March 1976 Vol. 35 No. 3)

Overtonis is a condition caused by too many sets, too many different exercise combinations - in short, overwork, which causes muscle tissue loss, hormone depletion, weakness and a smoothed-out appearance, inability to produce a pumping effect and a general lassitude or weakness.

Overtonis produces a stringy appearance with no healthy round look apparent in a properly worked muscle.

Overtonis is caused by male hormone loss.

Overtonis causes the central nervous system to cease pumping blood into capillaries which might otherwise rupture. To achieve a maximum pump exercise until you notice pump loss. At this point, check back the number of sets, tempo and repetitions required to achieve this effect. This is your personal exercise requirement level.

Energy Leaks
(IronMan Magazine Nov 1973 Vol. 33 No. 1)

Energy leaks are both physical and mental. Physical energy leaks are drinking, smoking, missing meals, loss of sleep, drugs, white sugar, coffee, tea, refined foods and carbohydrate drinks. Mental energy leaks are hate, anxiety, tension and ego. I have always maintained that tranquility is the first asset to good health. Emotional stress, which is present at competitive athletic games, can drain your calcium stores. Metabolic studies provide evidence that emotional stress exerts an adverse effect upon the retention of both nitrogen (protein) and calcium. Did you know that corn picked and cooked soon after, is considered a green, non-starchy vegetable. Once the corn has aged a day or two it becomes a starchy vegetable. Can you imagine what happens to food that is froze, shipped, oxidized, etc.?

(IronMan Magazine Jan 1976 Vol. 35 No. 2)

Overtonis is a condition caused by too many sets, too many different exercise combinations - in short - overwork, which causes muscle tissue loss, hormone depletion, weakness and a smoothed-out appearance, inability to produce a pumping effect and general lassitude or weakness.

Overtonis produces a stringy appearance with no healthy round look apparent in a properly worked muscle.

Overtonis is caused by male hormone loss.

Overtonis causes the central nervous system to cease pumping blood into capillaries which might otherwise rupture. To achieve a maximum pump exercise until you notice pump loss. At this point, check back the number of sets, time, tempo and repetitions required to achieve this effect. This is your personal exercise level.

(IronMan Magazine Jan 1977 Vol. 36 No. 2)

Stress can be described as anything painful which upsets our equilibrium (workouts you do not enjoy).

Stress asks for Fight or Flight - we do neither - so exercise.

The heart beat quickens and the blood pressure rises. Hormones pour into the blood alerting various organs sending sugar to the muscles. The digestive system turns off so attention can be directed to the threat. Red cells flow into arteries to help the body take in additional oxygen. The body is getting ready to release the pressure you are under by Fight or Flight. But unlike our caveman ancestors, we can no longer indulge in Fight or Flight, so again I say: EXERCISE - and HARD!

no one can avoid stress no mater how metaphysical he tries to be and stress is the bodybuilder's number one enemy!

Stop driving yourself through workouts that are too long!

Bodybuilding for Men Over 40
By Vince Gironda

The most famous bodybuilding trainer in the world reveals special training advice for more mature bodybuilders. He demonstrated the validity of his training techniques by placing second in the NABBA Pro Mr. Universe contest against the world?s best at the age of 42!

Fifty years of experience in the gym business gave Vince an insight into building muscle that few men in the world possess. His training advice has been used successfully by hundreds of bodybuilding stars such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Larry Scott, Don Howorth, Reg Lewis, Chris Dickerson, Frank Zane and Sergio Olivia. Vince pioneered many of the concepts that have subsequently been proven to be the most effective for muscle growth and definition.

This is being written for men who consider themselves "older men," who are confused by the so-called physical culture writers who are themselves confused.

These writers?self proclaimed experts?are advising older men to use lighter weights and high repetition programs. This is not only a waste of time and energy, it is also detrimental. The real secret is to know how muscle is developed and to train accordingly. This is what I am about to reveal to you.

To begin with, it is important to understand the correct time of the day to train. That is, the time of day when you blood sugar level is at its highest. Men under 40 years of age function more efficiently in the evening. Mature men reach this efficiency time of day in the early hours.

I personally find myself most energetic at 6:00 o?clock in the morning. My most serious training has always been done at this hour, yet when I was in my twenties I trained at 10 o?clock at night. World famous fitness expert Jack LaLanne also trains before 6:00 am, and bodybuilding superstar Bill Pearl always trained at the same early hour in the morning.
Early morning training insures me of a high-energy level the rest of the day. Science claims that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Because the blood sugar drops three hours after any meal, it needs to be refurbished every three hours in order to maintain a constant nitrogen balance. It is important to know that 90% of any protein ingested is utilized after training (up to 1 to 2 hours), so it is recommended to consume more protein at this time.

The right approach to your training routine is simply to set in motion the right mental attitude. You must have a clear image of what you wish to feel and see from the workout. This means you must constantly take a visual inventory of your physique. You should stand in front of a mirror and analyze your development?drawing a positive thought form of any body part that you wish to improve.

This visual inventory procedure may require a few poses, which enable you to make a mind-to-muscle contact. This is done by isolating the muscle and developing a control, which is very important to establishing a strengthened nerve impulse to a given muscle. Actually, you must realize that nerve impulses are established to send stronger and more efficient electrical charges before the muscle can be developed. The larger the muscle the stronger the nerve charge. Think of this process as charging your storage battery?the stronger the charge, the harder the contraction.

Any exercise program should be designed to create an illusion, because we all have faults in our conformation. The first illusion to create?which all of the modern-day bodybuilders seem to lack?is shoulder width. As far as I am concerned, the average lay person has always admired broad shoulders above all else. This has always proclaimed a man as an athlete who has broad shoulders.

PECS?The first exercise I am about to describe creates an illusion of width across the chest by creating a shadow and/or line under the pecs and continuing until it seems to merge with the shadow under the deltoid. This exercise is:

V-Bar Parallel Dips. Until you develop the look described above, you will not be able to appear to have pecs. This movement is performed by using a 32" wide parallel bar and holding your body in a crescent shape position (chest concave), with the elbows wide in order to fully engage the pectoral muscles. The head is facing the floor, looking at the pointed toes, and dipping down as far as you can stretch. The bottom of the stretch is the most important aspect of the movement. The first 8 to 10 inches is 100% pectoral engagement, providing the elbows are wide. If the elbows are facing back to any degree the value of the exercise is diminished by 80%.

UPPER BACK?The next exercise to employ is for width across the upper back. You may be surprised to learn at this point that I am not suggesting latissimus dorsi work. Why? Because long lats destroy a dramatic taper which we are trying to achieve. The teres major, however, does just the opposite by producing a wide shoulder and back appearance.

Seated Horizontal Pulley Rowing. Teres major muscles are engaged by a horizontal pull to the chest with the chest concave, or chest up (chest up produces more back width). In my gym, I had a special piece of equipment, which I designed with a horizontal pull. The pulley is 16 inches off the floor and you site and pull a 24" wide handle back to your chest with the legs slightly bent. It is important to always touch the chest at the bottom of the sternum to insure maximum contraction. Also, remember to keep the elbows up away from the body. Last but not least, you should have a picture in your mind of the anatomy of the teres and upper back. Study a good anatomy chart of the upper back for a better understanding.

DELTOIDS?This is the next body part in line to produce the cosmetic look we wish to achieve. The lateral head of the deltoid is the portion of this three-headed muscle, which gives the maximum-width look we are striving for. Presses of any kind develop the thickness or front deltoid, not the width of the delts. The posterior (rear) delt also contributes to thickness only of the delts. You can work these strands at a later date to round out the deltoid, but not at this stage.

Upright Rowing Motion. This exercise develops the deltoids faster than any exercise I know. The width of the grip is shoulders-width?any narrower grip causes the trapezius to be brought into play and will develop them and not the deltoids. The bar is across the upper thighs at the start and the elbows are not locked out, they are pointed outwards. As the bar is pulled up, pull it away from the body (about 10-inches). When you reach the height of the mid-pectoral, the elbows stop at the height of the top of your head?the elbows are also forward, not out to the sides. At this position, the upper arms should be in the same position as the lateral raise with dumbbells. Actually, this exercise is a duplicate of the lateral raise. However, it is superior to the lateral raise for deltoid development.

TRICEPS?The exercise for this muscle is a compound movement (two exercises on a given muscle). The name of this combination is referred to as

Barbell Pullover and Press. Lie down on a flat bench with the top of your head off the end of the bench. Take a slightly narrower than shoulders-width overhand grip and begin with the arms extended over the chest. From this position, with elbows parallel to the body, lower the bar down and back under the bottom of the head; without pausing, pull the bar upwards and forward to the starting position. Perform 8 reps, then without stopping, lower the bar to the base of the neck and do 8 presses with the elbows always under the bar.

BICEPS?Here is a great biceps developer that builds this muscle rapidly. It is also a compound movement.

Preacher Stand Curls and Barbell Body Drag. The proper stance using the Preacher Stand is: the left leg is place next to the post, holding the Preacher Stand, and the right leg is back for support.

- Elbows are placed 3" below top of stand and are shoulder-width. Hands are shoulder width.
- Begin curl by letting the barbell roll down to the first joint of the fingers.
- Start curl by closing hand on bar and then curl hand and wrist.
- Start the barbell moving up and as curl nears completion, the forearms should cover the upper arm.
- At the top of the movement, the bar should be pulled back until it touches base of neck and front deltoids.
- After completing this set, select a barbell 40% lighter and with a wide grip curl up touching the body all the way up to the neck and back down the same way (barbell body drag).

Now for forearms. Sit on a bench and lay forearms on top of thighs with the wrists breaking over end of knees.

THIGHS?The following exercise builds shape and size to the mid and lower portions of the thighs:

Hack Slide. This exercise is performed with the heels about 16" to 18" apart, with the toes wider and upward. The heels should be positioned well back under the hips to produce maximum thigh stress and to create development above the knee and middle thigh areas. Never lock out at the top of the movement. This is an incomplete burn type of movement and builds muscle tissue faster than any other thigh exercise I know. Steve Reeves? thighs were the type of shape and development produced by this exercise. If you feel you need leg biceps development, after every set of hack slides, step outside the platform to the sides, toes very wide, and do 4 to 6 more reps without resting. This was Larry Scott?s method of working his thighs.

CALVES?This muscle has more fibers (1,120,000) than any other muscle in the human body. The upper arm has only 40,000 fibers. So this indicates to me that more work is needed. I have experimented with heavy weights and low reps (10 reps) and received no success. This experiment lasted one year. I found 20 reps to be the answer, with all the weight you can handle. Also, you may work stubborn calves on off-days, providing you use no weight?pump only!

Calf Raises. You must rise on your toes with the feet placed on a 4" block. Most of the weight is on the first two toes: big toe and second toe. If you wish to develop the diamond peak of the calves, the knees must be slightly out of lock. As you rise, there is a pressure at the heels. You must also remember that calves are a stretch muscle, so make an effort to touch the floor on each rep. I have observed the men with good calf development have this full range of movement, and those that don?t have shown a marked lack of development. Get good use out of the calf machine.

SETS and REPS for men over 40?I particularly advise beginning this program with three sets only. You may add a fourth set later only if you feel that you are honestly doing the exercises to the best of your ability. Train three times a week with at least a day of rest between workouts.

Beware of adding sets and weight. This usually indicates sloppier form and is an excuse to justify it. Rather than to raise the weight, I advise doing three sets of 8 reps, and increasing the reps as you improve to 12. Never raise the reps until you have completed three workouts at the number of reps you are using at the time. This is the system that I taught at my gym for fifty years with great success.

On compound movement or burn movements, the second exercise is less than the first movement, such as 8 reps on the Preacher Curls and 6 on the Body Drag; or 8 reps on the Hack Slide for the thighs, and 6 reps on the leg biceps (feet wide outside of the platform). Calves, of course, are always 20 reps. Prior to a contest, I raised the count to 30 reps.

(Musclemag Oct'84)

I am from the school of basics when it comes to bodybuilding. I have been training since my teens in the mid sixties alwayss using heavy weights and basic exercises. My system has always been Press Behind Neck, Squats, Bench Press, Rowing and barbell curls. I perform eight sets of five reps for all exercises and my workouts take about 3 hours. I do have some fair size but I do not really look impressive. Any suggestions?

For someone who has been training for around twenty years you better have gotten something from your training. Your routine stinks! And the worst thing is that you take three hours to do it. Limited routines such as yours are OK for short periods but to do the same basics for twenty years!!! Where have you been?

Get more variety in your training and increase the reps to 8-10. I suggest you split a routine based on working each muscle group with three different exercises at least, maybe four. If you want shape and impressiveness then I suggest you use specific isolation exercises. Kill your love affair with the basics. After twenty years it's about time.

Letter from Vince to Musclemag
(Musclemag Volumne 2 issue 1)

Dear Sirs,

I think many readers would be interested in these thoughts of mine about bodybuilding.

To begin with, I feel that rules are made to be challenged, questioned, changed or completely broken.

There is no 'absolute' right way - or wrong way - to work out! Too many bodybuilders, unquestioningly, slave away year in and year out , with exercises and concepts they never bother to analyze or explain. They don't even seem to notice that they are not getting results! They seem to think that some morning they will wake up, look into the mirror, and Lo! They will have attained the body-beautiful!

I, personally, get bored and disgusted when I see no results. So, I change my thinking and try to look at the concept obliquely and see if I have overlooked, or did not see, a side of the problem that
I had not seen before.

In short, I try things that are not logical to me by actually doing the thing physically. In doing it physically, I sometimes find a logic that I could not have ever seen unless I experienced
the thing physically.

When I experiment with a new exercise I don't do it for one week - or two - or three - and expect to feel or see any difference ... I give it a chance and let it become a habit pattern. In short, I give it nine months. Experience has shown me that any less than nine months does not let me pass through all the phases that are necessary to finally formulate an opinion. Performed longer than nine months the exercise becomes confusing and boring. If the new concept, or exercise, is of any value it will be born in nine months.

What I am trying to be is flexible in my thinking, and also give new concepts a fair and working chance. My penchant is to get away from the usual and experiment with the unusual.

I feel that I have no magical secrets other than an open-minded philosophy, or formula of thinking, that works with any problem or question.

If the old, worn patterns do not work ... throw them out! If they are partially successful, use your intuition and intelligence to improve on them and keep creating. The old cliche about necessity being the mother of invention applies just as much to bodybuilding as to anything else.

Some of the old routines and exercise combinations should be dead and buried --- Only those who still promote them haven't bothered to try anything new themselves.

What could be more creative than changing, developing, renewing and altering your body?

Yours very sincerely,
Vince Gironda,

Muscle Confusion for Faster Progress
(Musclemag Vol2 issue 1)

Considering the fact that each muscle gets used to a workout by the third training session, I have found a better form of progression is to change the workout rather than increasing the weight, this way the body cannot adjust to routine and has to increase strength and muscle size to handle the unaccustomed work it is asked to do! As I mentioned before, the body adjusts to routine very quickly and in bodybuilding, this should be avoided. In short, keep the muscles confused. I tell my students that if you do not see changes in each workout, you should ask questions and I will find the reason changes are not occurring, (i.e. overwork, nutritional, not forcing reps, etc.)

(Musclemag Vol 2 issue 1)

People living in isolated areas of the world on food without pesticides, stabilizers, bleaches and preservatives, food grown in soil with no chemical fertilizers added, will never refer to nervous tension in the abdominal region. They relate to the stomach only when hungry.

(Musclemag Vol 2 issue 1)

Designing a workout program for a student requires that I locate all of the weak points of each muscle he will be working on and prescribe the exercise to develop the underdeveloped area of that specific muscle. The next step is to design a program to work each muscle within the confines of the student's own personal recuperative processes, because overwork produces over-tonis or tissue loss. This condition is often evident in bodybuilders who overwork the abdominal area, resulting in a bloated and smoothed out appearance.

Bodybuilding for Women
(Musclemag Vol 2 issue 1)

Why does everyone, including the people who supposedly teach and train women in health clubs and spas, consider women to be somehow different in the way they react to exercise? They are not! Women are, however, leg creatures. For millions of years, women were the pack animals while men carried only their spears and clubs when the family or tribe was on the move. The men had to be unburdened and able to move fast in case of trouble. The men developed strength in the arms and shoulders. The women developed legs and hips. Leg work, by the way, enhances upper body development by 15 per cent. So a woman who is working on bust improvement must not exclude leg work if she wants maximum gains in the bustline.

(Musclemag Vol 2 issue 1)

In training you can't expect the best gains if you have trouble getting through your workout; so I'm sure you are interested in endurance in relation to your training. Desiccated liver is very important when it comes to obtaining increased endurance levels.

Benjamin H. Ershoff, Ph.D, performed an experiment with rats in order to test an anti-fatigue diet. He had an idea that there is something in liver that might produce energy. He used 3 gr0vps of rats feeding them for 12 weeks as much as they wanted of 3 different diets:
Group I - ate - basic diet. fortified with 9 synthetic and 2 natural vitamins.
Group 2 - ate the same diet with added B complex.
Group 3 - ate the same diet, but instead of B, 10% desiccated liver was added.
The outcome: Group 1 had little growth while group 2 experienced a little higher rate of growth. The third group grew about 15 per cent more than group one.

Another test was given for fatigue. The rats were placed into a drum of water from which they could not escape. They had to keep swimming or drown.

Group 1 lasted about 13 minutes. For group 2 there was little difference. But group 3 lasted much longer, most still swimming at the end of a 2 hour period. The rats that had received desiccated liver could swim almost 10 times as long as the others, without becoming exhausted.

(Musclemag Vol 2 issue 1)

This concept allows a complete tissue break-down and insures results. Simply take the same workout you are taking now, but work your upper body three days in a row and then switch to legs and work them 3 days. This gives a complete 72 hour rest to the opposite area.

(Musclemag Vol 2 issue 1)

Do not miss a workout unless necessary. Your whole body-building program is based on regular habits. Keeping on a set schedule will insure continued gains and fewer losses.

(Musclemag Vol 2 issue 1)

One of my concepts for Body Building, 3 sets of 8 reps maximum, is backed up by De Larme and Watkins' book "Progressive Resistance Exercise." My experience has shown me that most bodybuilders overwork, causing muscle tissue loss. As a matter of fact, Gary Westfall and Charlie Carpenter (Key Club members) are employing this system and both are now sporting 17.1/2" arms!

Sets and Reps
(Musclemag Vol 2 issue 1)

I read a great deal of your articles in "Iron Man" and "Muscle Mag" and I believe your training programs.

My only question is this:

I do not understand the scheme of sets and reps, especially the so-called 10-8-6 system.
Could you explain it to me?

I also do not understand why you advocate "no squatting" as I find these very beneficial. Thank you very much.

P.S. I am 28 years old, 6', 195 lbs., and work as a N.Y.City fireman.

My 10-8-6-15 routine calls for 10 reps with 60 percent of your maximum in the exercise performed for the number of reps required and 8 reps for the second set 75 percent of maximum, and 6 reps maximum for the third set.

The fourth set is a flushing set to pump capillaries with blood and you do fifteen reps with about 35 percent of your maximum. O.K.?

I advocate NO squatting, but I do advocate leg work! (Hack slide or Sissy squats). I have seen too many physiques destroyed by Deep Knee Bends.

Squats and Deadlifts
(Musclemag Vol 2 issue 1)

Is it possible to gain muscular bulk without doing heavy squats and deadlifts? It is uncomfortable for me to do these two exercises because I have hemorrhoids and weak knees. When I push squats and deadlifts my thighs begin to get larger, but so do my hemorrhoids, so this is no good.

I understand that you don't even have squat racks in your gym, so will the above course help me to gain bulk without squatting?

I have a small bone structure, if this makes any difference.

1 - 15 percent extra gains can be acquired in the upper body by including leg work. But not squats as they spread and develop glutes and upper thigh disproportionately. Please stick to Hack Slide and Sissy Squats only! The hyperextension for lower back is superior to deadlifts!

2 - Bone structures means nothing.

3 - As to your question as to whether you will gain or not, write me in 90 days and let me know how much you have gained.

Vince and Nick

My name is Roman Footnick. I started at Vince's when I was very young (around 13 maybe). My dad lived in L.A. and mom in Houston, so my training consisted of INTENSE summers and every holiday school break for years. During the school year training was sporadic due to sports, but when I was 17 I decided I would compete. By 18 I had won a few local bodybuilding and powerlifting contests (Nick liked how I was stronger than I looked). More importantly I won texas state and lone star state championships at 18 qualifying me for nationals. I did the NPC teen nationals and placed fourth, and felt great about it. It was during this time period that I learned how pharmaceutical BB was for real. Vince and Nick always told me, but after meeting the other teens and learning what they were doing, and moving to Venice, training with pros and learning what they were doing, and finally meeting with Joe Weider and learning how little "Pros" earn (while knowing how much they spend to be a pro) I decided to no longer pursue hard core bodybuilding (competition).

I've been personal training since I was 16, and now help manage a gym here in Houston as well as teach martial arts. I earned my masters in science, and a license to practice acupuncture and Asian medicine as well. I still train - but its not my life, rather it just adds more joy to my life (barring injury).

To say Vince and Nick influenced my life would be a massive understatement. Unfortunately, I sometimes feel I didn't take full advantage of their expertise and wisdom. They would harp on at me about getting on that old, rickety, wooden bench and bench pressing more than I should "they just tear pecs"...It did. Or "squats will make your ass big"...they were right again. How 'bout "those guys ('80s-'90s bodybuilders) are just tits and don't want that"...I thought I did-but turns out I didn't.

Being so young I was very naive about the drug usage (by everyone). They (Vince and Nick) would go on and on about this body builder, that athlete, or this actor being on steroids or gh. I specifically remember not wanting to believe Franco (still today my BB/PL idol) ever took anything. I kept telling Nick I could be like Franco (we're both short and stocky - but strong)...and he would laugh and say "Franco's so wide he can barely fit through the door",or "he's as wide as he is tall" as if it was a bad thing. Of course, he would also tell me all those guys (even the Scotts and Pearls) used drugs. I think I was 16 when I overheard Vince say he wasn't going to allow any steroid users in his gym-don't know for sure if it happened-nothing seemed to change from my perspective.

I picked up a few "tricks" in all those years of training at Vince's. But the most important exercise I picked up from Vince's was...research, experimentation, and creative thinking. That's what Vince was all about. I think that's why he seemed so bitter at times, he KNEW what to do but science, medicine, or whatever could not keep up with his findings and theories.

A Vince Workout

The real problem with writing a Vince workout is so much is lost in the translation. Side Laterals to Vince took on a whole new meaning, as did pretty much every other exercise performed at Vince's. He, Nick, or other members were quick to bark orders commanding you to perform a movement with a certain, precise style. It was this ?style? (for lack of a better word) that would make Vince?s hack squat a multi exercise station. I am hoping that most people on this forum understand what I mean, and already know many of Vince?s ?rules? for the exercises I am about mention.

I was asked to provide a ?Vince? routine. Also mentioned is people?s misconception of Vince?s hatred toward squats and bench presses. So in order to satisfy the squatters below is a sample leg workout from many years ago. Keep in mind there were no routines or typical workouts at Vince?s.

Day One: Quads, Hams, Calves

Leg Extensions 8x15
Hack Squat (a) 8x15
Hack Squat (b) 8x15
Leg Curl 8x15
Calf Raises 8x20

There was VERY LITTLE REST ? EVER. I?m talking 15 ? 20 seconds break, ?take 10 deep breaths?GO!?.

All of these were performed in a very strict manner ? Vince Style. I am not going to go into great detail about each exercise, but briefly put:

Leg Extensions were performed while basically performing a sit up motion coordinated with the flexion and extension of the knee.

Hack Squat (a) was performed with the feet together, toes out, heels all the way to the back of sleds platform, and the knees bent way over the feet upon descent.

Hack Squat (b) was performed with the feet together, toes straight forward, and toes nearly hanging off the front of the platform.

Leg Curls were performed in a similar coordinated fashion as Leg Ext?rocking upper body up and down while performing Leg Curls.

Calf Raises had to be performed with your SHOES OFF, and very strictly. If you are using a ton of weight - you?re doing them wrong.

They (Vince and Nick) liked higher reps for legs, at least my legs. Those eight sets were built over time, starting with one each and each workout building. But I gotta tell ya, for some reason I can not come close to doing that workout any more. There was something special at Vince?s Gym that could make me like a machine and keep going.

Some of you may find it interesting that while they used high volume training in his gym, they also openly advocated Mentzer?s Heavy Duty back in the day. They said it was sound training, but for most people its better for them to handle more volume. Maybe they meant safety, but in my opinion they were probably referring to creating the ?illusion? of a perfect body.

Please remember this was performed after years of training and under guidance.

That workout was/is brutal. Like I said I?ve tried going back to it and I can?t seem to do it without utilizing major drop-sets. Those days of training like that was when I was 19 years old and in excellent shape (my waist was 27? and my thighs were 28?). 8 x 8 is not for the novice. And yes, like I said, it was months before I could work up to that volume. The main part was focus and drive to just get it done. I think those leg workouts lasted at most 35 minutes. I often tried to do too much too soon (because I always figured more is better) but I would try to stop myself as I matured, otherwise he would yell at me for overtraining. I was actually sent home one day because I just kept training (I was about 15 or so).

A sample beginner workout was more like:

One set each between 8 to 12 reps

Leg Extension
Leg Curl
Hack Squat
Pull Downs
Decline Fly (with those low pulleys Vince had)
Side Laterals
Scott Curl
Tri Pushdown

That?s what I started with more or less. And still, that is more or less what I start my clients with as well.

Vince performed this as a circuit. Each workout the volume increased by performing the circuit one more additional time. I know he really liked two-a-days with this as well.

Really the importance of Vince?s training wasn?t in the ?routines? so much as it was in the way an exercise was performed. They (Vince and Nick) were VERY specific about the way an exercise was to be done in their gym.

Today, I perform very few sets per workout, but the sets I perform are done with precision. I think Vince would still approve of my current training, yet still have many suggestions to make it better.

At Vince's I was often instructed to do routines consisting of three sets per exercise and between two and three exercises per bodypart. The first set was light and used to get perfect form. The second set was heavy and to failure, and then the third was a no rest, drop set. The emphasis was on form and failure. Reps were moderate between 8 - 15.

Vince was very specific about a muscle needing 72 hours of rest. But he also had most of the beginners (including me) workout day after day using a circuit routine.

Impress Girls

"[...] we went over to Studio-City to train at Vince's Gym. I opened my wallet, which didn't have much money, in front of Vince and gave him 14 Dollars for both me and my friend to train for the day.

We had a great workout, using the same equipment that all my childhood heroes got huge on, such as Don Howorth, Bill McArdle, and of course, Larry Scott.

After the workout and after changing in the locker room fittingly titled Larry Scott's dressing room, I remember showing Vince a couple of poses and asking if he thought I had what it takes to impress the California girls. Vince replied, pointing to his backside, "you need more back here". I said, "Vince, I do my best to build my butt, but I don't squat anymore because I know from you that it makes the hips wider." Vince replied "no you idiot. I'm referring to your wallet. It needs to be fatter if you want to impress the girls. They want money."

I miss Vince

I was a good friend of Vince and worked out at Vinces Gym the last few years that it was around. Vince never took to liking too many people; but I was a skinny smart-ass who would stick up against Vince's gruff and after awhile he took me under his wing. He taught me so many things in the next few years about lifting, nutrition and life. I always said I was the last student of his; when he closed his gym I remained very close to him and his wife. It was somewhat sad how the whole closing and his life ended; at the end I was helping him and his wife so much because there were so many problems, mostly financial.

When he closed his gym he gave me his front sign from the gym and several lat-pulldowns, and other signs -- like the mens locker room sign and the gym hours signs. He also had a penchant for war memorabilia, etc and gave me some old civil war cannon balls. He always promised me old pics of his, but we never ever got to cleaning out his old garage once everything got hauled out of the gym.

I miss him; he (or his son) would work me out hard; then we would sit out in the back of the gym and hear his life stories. For those couple of years, he really was the father I never had -- I know that sounds trite -- but, we had a bond that wasnt common for Vince. I miss him greatly.

There are so many stories over those couple of years. Most newcomers (including me, initially) were not well received. Once, there was a photographer and writer from a large muscle mag. They were from Canada and had traveled to talk to Vince. They came in and out of the gym for two days until they finally found him behind his desk. I can still remember when they introduced themselves to him and how he stood up and yelled out some gruff and threw them out of the gym after they asked for a photograph. Five minutes later, the photographer came back - practically in tears - yelling at Vince that he had travelled so many miles and how he admired Vince. It made no difference and Vince just walked out to the back. I met up with him a few minutes after and found him smoking his pipe under our old oak. "Damn reporters -- once they start asking you how you're doing you can consider yourself dead." That was enough to keep me quiet on the subject. Vince either hated you or loved you -- there was nowhere in between -- but if you were "in", he was an incredibly loyal and intimate friend. A real gentleman with integrity (when his mood suited him) that just are very rare these days.


It is correct about beginners training everday. Vince felt that they (beginners) had the drive, excitement, and fresh recovery abilities that allowed such punishment.

Once a trainee was more "advanced" there was no set training frequency - it was as varied as the workouts. The days of the week are arbitrary to the body, and I can't recall any workouts that were set to a fixed frequency. So frequency of training depended on your recovery abilities, passion, and progress.

I specifically remember Nick barking at me because I was having a bad day (the kind were everything feels heavy) and accused me of having overtonis. He literally kicked me out and called my dad to come pick me up. I didn't go back for a little less than a week.

At Vince's constant improvement was just expected. I guess they (Vince and Nick) figured that since you started training as much as possible until progress slowed - then logically you should begin limiting the frequency to allow full recovery and growth to take place as you improve. Since you mentioned you are drug free, I will mention that Nick often scolded me for my desire to train like the pro's - basically stating that the drugs significantly improved their recovery abilities.

Rep Speed

Simply put, use the muscle not momentum. Vince or Nick would be quick to point out when I was cheating myself by using momentum instead of focusing on using the muscle to perform the movement. This also means don't "explode" at any part of a movement.

Usually I was aiming at completing a perfect 8 reps, but sometimes they would yell at me to keep going by doing "burns" - which consist of performing quick, short range of motion reps (focusing on the contraction part of the rep). Otherwise I performed reps in a very strict and focused manner.

Quick note: I remember Nick talking about one of the real old school guys (sorry I can't remember his name - but I think he called him "pumper" or something like that, cause he only tried to get a pump) who would show up at Vince's and use light weight, fast reps, and no real form. According to Nick the guy was huge. His point was...different strokes for different folks.

8 x 8

I hope you guys understand Vince (as far as I know) never really started anybody out doing the 8 x 8 routines. Rather he started people (from the advanced athlete to the overweight actor) by doing more of a one set "circuit" style of training. And in doing so they (Vince or Nick) would endlessly critique your form on every movement or exercise. From there they would increase the trainees' work load gradually and steadily. I know Vince (or his fans) talked a lot about the 8 x 8 routines, but remember that first came mastering the forms and rest intervals. Also, please remember they would not let me train longer than 45 if you are going to do some of these routines I've seen, you better hussle as well as keep strict form.

I am not trying to discourage anyone from doing 8x8, rather I am just emphasizing what was emphasized to me from Vince and Nick. Be patient, be disciplined, and be tenacious.

Routine Questions

Vince was into strength like he was into perfect form, intense sets, no rest, and all around insane training. He was strong like those kids who do gymnastics are strong. You look at them scratching your head, saying to yourself "nothing about what this guy is doing looks right" (the position, the weight, the easy performance...).

Vince liked to see people push themselves unreasonably. This meant sometimes doing a weight that seems impossible considering the task at hand. He also liked to prove himself with weight. My most vivid memory of this is with Nick and a Vince's member whose name escapes me (David - maybe).

Anyway, I was 14 or 15 (not driving yet) and playing football. The coach wanted us to do bench presses. I told Nick I needed to start doing bench press, so my "Bench" would get stronger. After laughing at me and saying my coach was an idiot, he had me train with "David" who he said NEVER does traditional bench presses. First we did incline dumbell press (he used a lot of weight but I can't remember how much), then we did Bench Press-traditional style. I was doing my best, but David, who was by no means huge like the Gold's guys rather he was defined and just well built, proceeded to do 5 x 5 at 315lbs. No bounce, no momentum - perfect. Later in my life when I was 19 and preparing for the Teen USA I tried to do the 5 x 5 at 315 (as it had become a goal) - it kicked my ass, but I did it.

As I remember most all the members were strong - especially for their size. And we were encouraged to show our strength in every exercise.

You may have to start with light weight, but with patience and consistent training, the weight and quality of training improve dramatically.

6 day training

I have first hand knowledge of his six day routine. When I started thats what they had me do. It was great... Its like a crash course in Vince's techniques (but being so young I didn't know any better). And no it wasn't easy... there was some "new" muscle sore on me everyday.

My understanding was that Vince felt that beginners who were brand new to bodybuilding tended to have all kinds of energy and excitement. He started people off with a circuit-type training style that did 1 set per body part the first week, 2 sets the second, 3 sets the third. If the person had so much energy that they wanted to do it every day, he let them. This was for a beginner, mind you.

However, for Vince's intensive training routines he stressed 72 hours recuperation for a hard-worked muscle.

The training consisted of a whole body circuit using a combination of machines, free weights, and body weight. One exercise per body part, for one QUALITY set, minimal rest (just seconds)- and then another exercise.

Initially the training was difficult but do-able. The weights were light enough so that I could learn the movement, yet heavy enough so that I was approaching failure near 12 reps. We used higher reps (20+) for legs, calves, and forearms. I did no ab training.

After the first week I would do the circuit twice, and then later a third time. Other guys were doing two-a-days... but since i wasn't old enough to drive I only went once a day.

I can't remember how long this went on for, but it was a while - long enough for me to want to go the "easier" split routines.

6x6 and 8x8

I trained under Vince in 1981 at his gym (Makawway was there at that time and Jeff Goldblum "The Fly" also).

Vince taught me the 8x8 but most bodyparts were trained with what he called "compound exercises" and using *2 exercises per bodypart*. The exercises were performed in an *alternate* manner?with very little rest between? until 8 total sets were done. This helped managed the fatigue and gave different angles of pull to the muscles.

For example.

Monday and Thursday
Chest: Neck presses and Dips
Back: Wide pronated pulldowns and narrow supinated pulldowns.
Shoulders: Lateral Rraises and Dumbbell Swings

Tuesday and Friday (Arms)
Body Drags (Vince's barbell curls) and Reverse Curls
Long Rope Pulls and Dumbbell Kickbacks
Wrist Curls and Reverse Wrist Curls

Wednesday and Saturday (Legs)
Legs were trained with 4 sets per exercise of Sissy Squats, Hack Squats, aand Leg Curls done in a non-alternating, straight set fashion. Then 4 sets of standing calf raises.

Rep speed was fairly rapid. And no session lasted more than 25 minutes but it was damned hard. And no drinking water during or immediately after the session!

I trained with Vince in the morning and his son, Guy, in the evening doing the same routine twice per day. This is what he did for fastest results. Makawway was doing his routine 3x per day!

The routine was 3 days on and 3 days off. Then, 3 weeks on and 1 week off.

I trained Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. Thursday Off. Then, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday off. That's 3 days on and 1 off.

I only trained twice per day when I was with Vince. The normal Split for non-contest was 1x per day.

It was Chest/Back/Shoulders; Arms; Legs, in that rotation.

I was instructed to nap after each session!

Vince Training

I'll try to recall what Vince taught me. Actually, I never forgot.

I suppose my most memorable times in bodybuilding happened at Vince's (and old Mid City Gym, in NYC).

I did not recalling seeing the routine he gave me (or Makawway) in any of his books but I may have forgotten. My guess is that he used this (or variants of it) for fast results on trainees that were already experienced including some actors who could tolerate it. Done right it is fast but brutal (vomiting could occur in the beginning), hence the built in weekly and monthly rest. After?and during? my first leg workout with him, I was floored.

Vince invented what is now referred to as "abbreviated training", and the cumulative intensity of his routines produced a different form of "HIT" before that become popular. Of course you guys know this.

Jeff Goldblum was a great guy, BTW. Compare his body pre "Fly" to in that movie. That was due to Vince. That transformation means more than working with any genetic superior who will likely grow on most routines.

The biggest impact Vince had on my training had nothing to do with routines or diet. It was this: how to concentrate. Sounds easy and it's not "sexy" like his routines, but he recommended a method of focus that bordered on arrogance. You needed to be with him to understand this and have him teach it to you (his books never captured that experience). You needed to hear and see him say it. He said that the most focused trainees never saw anyone else in the gym or spoke to them when training?seeming almost rude. He recognized that many genetic superiors also had an innate ability to concentrate that he did not fully understand, and could not teach, but recommended one try to emulate.

I'm not sure his methods were really better than any other good methods. I do think that genetics make the biggest difference in any outcome?by far?in my experience. There are no "magic" routines. But, I never met any trainer who could transform one's mental?and lifestyle?approach to bodybuilding like Vince, or inspire a trainee like he could. And I know some famous trainers. And, in my experience, truly productive training starts there. In those regards, he had no peer.

Now that I recall I did 8x8 on upper body movements done in alternated compund style (2 exercises) per bodypart.

But I did *straight sets* of 4x12 for Legs with little rest between sets--about 30 seconds; Hack Slides, Sissy Squats, Leg Curls. (4 sets of each; then calf work).

Your questions make me recall snippets of conversation I had with him. Please understand that my experience with Vince?however intense?may be different than someone else's.

I asked him why were the numbers so symmetrical (like why 8 sets of 8 and not an unequal number). He told me of 10x10 and also 6x6, and so I asked him again. What he then said implied to me that the selected numbers were indeed arbitrary and he knew it.

However, Vince told me that when one had a certain maximal pump (based on experience) he should stop working that bodypart that day regardless of the rep scheme. But he also told me that you should do anything (including "cheat") to make all sets of 8x8 to reinforce success?never "to failure". Is that a contradiction?! You decide.

I did a set of neck presses and walked to the dips and did "Vince" dips (that's 2 sets of the 8), then walked back slowly and did Neck presses and so on. The "rest" was in the time it took to go from one station to the other--about 15 seconds in his gym with him spotting me (handing off the BB on the neck press). BTW, the neck presses were done on a 10-degree incline or so. I rested longer with leg work. I did that routine for at least 3 months trying to cut rest time to "progress". Vince never instructed me when to switch to another routine.

Vince's writings do not cover a fraction of what he taught me, but again, I am only one trainee. Your own readings, interps, and experiences will matter most.

Now guys like Vern Weaver also did 6x6 but with about 2 minutes rest between sets thus allowing for heavier loads. At times, he did only 2 exercises per day: Bench Press and Chins, for example, done this way.

Anything *reasonable* "works"--at least a lot of it! 20 rep squats "work" though can cause problems and injuries the way some recommend to do them. 6 reps work. Cumulative fatigue training of all kinds works. HIT can work (though some expressions of it leave one deconditioned, IMO.) There are no magic routines. Find what you prefer and work with that until you wish to move on. Stay safe and please understand that genetics dictates the great majority of the response?that's the way it is. No magic set numbers. No magic rep numbers. Burn that in your brains, please! It is actually liberating news. It is far more about one's approach to training and consistency over the long haul?modified by, you guessed it, genetics.

Back to safety, due to comparatively lighter loads used in his cumulative fatigue methods, I never hurt myself with a Vince routine though one must be very careful with form on the dips, neck presses, and sissy squats. Again, just *my* experience.

In my experience, the biggest problems occur from unrealistic expectations, lack of consistency over the long run, and constantly switching routines looking for the perfect one. Same for diets.

Each exercise was done for 4 sets in alternating fashion until I reached 8 sets. That's what Vince taught me in 1981. I had experience and my level of conditioning was good, being only 25 then.

Earlier interpretations almost always entailed 1 exercise done for 8 sets. My belief is that by 1981 he was trying not only to maximize work per unit time (little rest between sets) but also fatigue as many fibers in a target area due to using mutiple exercises. With Makawway and other elite bodybuilders, there were often 3 exercises each done for 4 sets! Many others, once they were in condition, were using only 1 exersise for 6-8 sets. but it all "works".

The Hack Slide had feet back and close together but I was not on my toes nor would *I* recommend that. It reduces load greatly, offers no physiological benefit and may increase chance of injury?in my opinion. I've no doubt Vince tried every permutation of it in order to understand what was going on. Remember, he was always experimenting and changed his mind at times. (BTW, the hack slide I used out there was not like today's with shoulder pads; you had to hold the slide and the weight in your hands.)

Another thing to keep in mind is that the feet set back position increases shear forces around the knees because of the increased range of motion. Not everyone can tolerate that either. In fact, even Vince told me he had spent time in the hospital for it with strains and such. He was very strong in this movement and used heavy weights. And even in his 60s, he had great thigh development especially around the knee/mid thigh. In retrospect, I think this was largely due to genetics.

The Sissy Squat he taught me was a complicated movement requiring lots of coordination. It had three parts: A Set back drop down (squat), a "Burlesque Bump" from rock bottom position (thrusting the hips outward/upward), and a "flush-out" where you straightened back up but did not lock out. This was done with a board under my heels. I was using a very light barbbell for resistance (40 or 50lbs). If you do these as he taught them you'll see why the weight was so light. In fact, he taught them with no weight.

As interested as he was in focused thigh growth, he never suggested I should do leg extensions. And I never saw anyone doing them under his direction when I was there. But this is all just my personal observation. Other trainees may have had different experiences with him.

8 sets total. That's 4 sets of neck presses and 4 sets of dips. That was my "chest" routine.

The "superset" was: 1 neck press set followed by 1 dips set.

I repeated that sequence 4 times.

My best "memories" of Vince had little to do with the workouts per se. He was a character as we all know and fun to hang with. But we did talk training and diet and "focus" all the time. Rather, he talked and I listened. I hung at Vince's gym *all day* to milk whatever I could from talking with him. He liked me and spoke (lectured) freely. He was very generous if he liked you and your approach to his methods. I wrote it all down and lost the notebook about 10 years later. Still, I had committed much to memory.

You are right. He stressed speed/little rest in workouts. My workouts took just 25 minutes for the 24 set days. This of course is very different than a Mentzer-like HIT workout, say, because many more sets were done in 25 minutes with Vince. A different approach to intensity and work over time. Form was still supposed to be smooth?not sloppy?though "cheating" was expected to finish all 8x8 and reinforce success. Another contradiction?

I would not expect to maintain maximum strength with the 8x8 I used. That was not what they were for. In my case, I lost strength, lost bodyfat, gained definition and conditioning, (appeared more muscular though actually smaller in girths), and improved my training focus greatly. I felt great and spent less time in the gym but was there more frequently! Untrained people can expect to gain a lot of size in addition to the above.

Here's a reprint of my posts detailing what I did for a week with Vince and when I returned:

Monday and Friday
Chest: Neck presses and Dips
Back: Wide pronated pulldowns and narrow supinated pulldowns.
Shoulders: Lateral Rraises and Dumbbell Swings (another form of Lateral Raise)

Tuesday and Saturday (Arms)
Body Drags (Vince's barbell curls) and Reverse Curls
Long Rope Pulls and Dumbbell Kickbacks
Wrist Curls and Reverse Wrist Curls

Wednesday and Sunday (Legs)
Legs were trained with 4 sets per exercise of Sissy Squats, Hack Squats, and Leg Curls done in a non-alternating, straight set fashion. Then 4 sets of standing calf raises.

Thursday was off that week.

Rep speed was fairly rapid. And no session lasted more than 25 minutes but it was damned hard. And no drinking water during or immediately after the session! I don't know if that really matters or why not to do it--something about boating which smacks more of pre-contest training.

I did not train abs directly then, but would now.

When I was there, I trained with Vince in the morning and his son, Guy, in the evening doing the same routine twice per day. I napped after the morning workout. 2x per day is what he did for fastest results and to master the movements and his approach. Makawway was doing his routine 3x per day! But he was training for a show. The actors I saw trained just 1x per day. But who knows what was happening at other times?

The normal training I did was only 1x per day and all he expected. I would never do 2x per day when not with him.

Thus, the routine was 3 days on and 3 days off. Then, 3 weeks on and 1 week off.

Supplements: Forgot to mention?supplements were also cycled exactly the same way 3 days on and 1 off; 3 weeks on and 1 week off. Vince felt he wanted to remain sensitive to them and periodically flush the system. I did: Free form Amino Acids, Raw Glandulars, and Dessicated Liver every 3 hours. I had digestive enzymes with each meal. He also liked Kelp supplements and also recommended swimming in the ocean to get some! I drank lots of water but not during meals, workouts, or close to either.

I did not try his other routines but he gave me the books (like 10, 8, 6, 15), which I also lost! But I do not believe any one is intrinsically superior to another.

I eventually learned that wide range of responsiveness to his or any other methods was due mostly to genetics (which he talked about tangentially, if you were listening).

I think fewer sets?properly done?yield results *as good* as greater volumes. If you read *all* the peer-reviewed research on the subject (and scrutinize the boring data not just read abstracts), and I do, you may come to a similar conclusion. But I discovered this before I got involved in the peer-reviewed research?both in myself and by training others.

But any *reasonable* method using any reasonable volume and frequency per bodypart ?consistently applied?"works" as well as genetics permit. ("Reasonable" is intentionally not defined, however.) It really just becomes a question of preference and what will keep a given individual training *consistently*. It's that simple.

So, Vince's methods "work". What I did at the Old Mid City Gym in NY worked. Arthur Jones' method's "worked" and Vince even wrote a piece applauding Jones once. Stuart McRobert's books and applications work and also have lots of descriptive info?more than anyone else (and he really cares about the tradition and the field). The writings of Dr. Ralph Carpinelli are propably more based in real science and more accurate (and well written) than any researcher I've read. He just looks at science; he does not tell people how to train though he is the most knowledgable authority *I've* known in 30 years). all "works" if done with conviction and consistency.

There are no intrinsically superior methods, IMO. None. Sadly, the explosion of so called information on the web has hampered instruction for novices with an endleess array of options and opinions by less than good "authorities". Even veteran trainees fall prey to this. It becomes a cyclic obsession.

Often, the best advice is to stop reading advice?and just train consistently.

I don't post or read boards. I'm only here because I'm a nostalgic slob and wanted to hear from people who knew Vince. I read a piece by Ron, don't recall I how I found it, on Vince and began talking with him and that's why I'm here. I was thrilled to find a site and board about Vince. But I guess not many who knew him are really here. We're all too old, I guess!

"Arty you mentioned "Untrained people can expect to gain a lot of size in addition to the above."

Yes. Because they are untrained and any demanding stimulus will grow muscle on them. I was experienced when I went to Vince. I actually lost "weight" due to the routine and especially the diet. But became "better" in some ways. But that's me.

"I try to do the neck press followed by dips however I can't complete the 8 reps on the 2nd set."

Your strength to bodyweight ratio is probably not there yet for the dips. Or the weight is too heavy on the neck presses. The idea, Vince's idea, was to just barely make it by the 64th rep. So the weight needs to be light enough in the superset to manage that. Or, cut the dips and do 8x8 of neck presses if you want to do this method. It all works. Nothing magic.

"Can you elaborate on the DB swing?"

Yeah but it's hard to explain. Might be in his books or old articles though.

"What other combination of exercises do you used for each bodypart or do you stick to same ones?"

When I did Vince's routine what I posted was all I did. I was already "strong" and had decent condition for what he gave me. Otherwise, he may have simplified the routine.

I never did the 3x8 and am uncertain what "maximum" means without a context. I know that many of his earlier systems were done 3x per week. Sorry.

But there is one thing I'm certain of. Anyone capable of building a 17-1/2" ?muscular? upper arm can do it with any reasonable routine.

"Another question on the sissy squat which is actually a three part movement is completing the three phase equal 1 rep if not then what constitutes 1 rep. You mentioned heel on a block but what is the spacing is it heels together like the frog squat?"

Yes. The three parts are done smoothly as part of a single rep. It is hard to do it the way he wanted it done. I know there are diagrams of this in one of his coursebooks.

Heel spacing was slightly less than shoulder width in my case. I'm 6'2" tall and a too-narrow stance would have toppled me. The balance element can be rough on this movement.

Many approaches to "strength". These *traditionally* involve heavier loads and greater rest periods. They also often center on large compound movements: Chins; Benches; Dips; Squats; Deadlifts; Presses.

Depends what you mean by "strength". If you mean lifting more weight on a barbell from point A to point B then there are many methods that manage the loads. Just be careful. Stuart McRobert's newer writings have addressed that fairly well with safety in mind. I never cared one wit for safety when I was younger. We did not know better. That's different now.

If you are talking about strength in "real world" applications, then any reasonable routine will accomplish that?including Vince's. And if you want to get better at a particular movement you need to practice that movement.

These days I train as I like, alternating periods of less frequent but heavier training with more frequent and lighter training as I choose to do so. I rest longer between sets and work heavier than I did with traditional Vince methods. I have a home gym where I train myself and select clients. (I even do... cardio?hush!) Vince was part of my education but much more came later. Of course, I never met anyone like him, however, who combined that sort of insight and passion with personality. Best memories...

I eat small meals frequently but I food combine. I try to drink lots of water.

Basically, find what you can do consistently?and safely. Progress resistance ?gradually?only when you can handily control the weight for the desired reps. Of course, there are many gurus out there to advise you on many methods.

"Arty and others..I was just wondering if its possible to gain SIZE on Vinces 8x8,15sec. rests?I did Mentzers and others for many years and am now doing everything Vinces way (had consultation with Ron last tue.) I've now lost 1/2 inch off my arms and am wondering when it will stop. (over 1 months time) You said you lost some size but got defined. In you guys opinion should I go back to longer rests/to failure to get bigger?Definition is ok but not at this rate. "

My first question concerns diet. Are you eating sufficient calories to at least maintain your bodyweight from the time you began that routine? Perhaps not if you switched to a more calorie-extensive routine or lifestyle. Are you drinking enough water? Sleeping enough?

Determine all that first and experiment. Isolate one variable at a time. If by eating more over the next six weeks you regain size on the current routine, you've answered your own question. I assume all other things in your life have remained the same.

It's not likely "to failure" that gets you bigger or smaller. It is likely some combination of diet, overall weekly volume and load. But you need to experiment and for longer than a month.

"In several of your posts, you've alluded to training to failure and to Vince's ambiguous position on the matter. I'm interested in what YOU think about it. Do you currently endorse training to failure for your training and the training of your clients?"

Vince did not tell me to train to failure?ever. He did say to do anything to get the final reps of my last set. That final set/reps comprised "failure" if I did not cheat to finish them. He also said stop working abodypart with added sets when fully pumped.

"To failure" training works. But I believe you still need a certain amount of weekly volume. This may mean nothing more than added movements or added frequency. But you need to experiment and gauge personal response. All things being equal I suppose I prefer greater volume (than single set apprroaches) without failure but with an eye on form and progression always. Trust yourselves.

Clearly failure is not *necessary* to obtain benefits. And it has not been shown to provide "best" benefits. Other opinions vary. It is a matter of preference (any reasonable routine) and what keeps you training *consistently* that matters most.

The 2x per day workouts buried me?even at 25. I think it was just his way to extend work over time?for a brief time. My sense was that he developed it with a lot of people who had lots of time to train, eat and rest (actors, bodybuilders). Also, remember he is working with genetic superiors a lot. The actors tolerated it because they did it for a brief time and lots of $ (though none of the actors I saw there in '81 were doing 2x per day).

My own take is that multiple sessions are not necessary especially if otherwise training each bodypart 2x per week.

That said, I think it was his way of "shocking" the body while also giving someone their money's worth. also, it really helped learn "his way" when time was short? as it was for many who travelled there for a week or so only. Guy Gironda handled the evening workouts for many. But Vince handled all the elite bodybuilders all the time as far as I knew.

AND he taught the bodybuilders to pose like gods. That man knew how to move and how to teach it! Makawway way the best poser I ever actually saw in person. Corney was great but I saw him in film only.

I never asked him his rationale on the 2x per day because I knew it was temporary. I just did it and knew I did not have to do it when I left. But my sense of "why" was the reasons given before. Perhaps someone else asked him directly on this.

Muscle Shape

Muscle Shape is genetically determined. If you look carefully at the young Gironda you can see his innate shape which maturity and training developed. His unusual pec line that inserted lower into the humerus than with most trainees was already there as a young man?albeit in a less developed form. Same is true for split biceps with high peaks (Albert Beckles) or unusual splits in chest development.

One of the things Vince told me (privately) was that you should never try to build muscle where it isn't. He meant if you did not have the capacity for a certain shape (like not having upper chest developed ala Steeve Reeves) one should not attempt to do specific exercises in the hope of altering that genetically pre-determined factor.

This seems a contradiction to other things he said about 4 sides to a muscle, illusions, etc. But with enough discussion with him I realized it was not. The physiological logic behind his multiple exercises (though never stated) is that more muscle fibers can be fatigued which theoretically maximizes one's growth. Also, certain exercises are more likely to develop certain muscles to the fullest?in any particular trainee. For example, it makes sense to use lateral raises?for everyone?if wishing to develop maximally the medial head, thus creating an "illusion" of greater width when combined with a diet that kept the bodyfat low especially in the midsection.

The other thing to understand is that Vince was never married to his own ideas and was always experimenting. He was in competition with himself, and changed his mind at times?probably often. Nonetheless, genetic factors are central to any real understanding of bodybuilding?or Vince.

I trained a week with Freddy Ortiz (a Vince disciple). And though Freddy does not know it, his freakish upper body development (especially his arms) could have been developed doing most anything due to his genetically determined long biceps muscle bellies stretched across a comparatively short bone. Point is, no routine or biceps exercise?no matter how performed? will make someone else look like Freddy unless they have genetics just like him.

I have a friend who is a Mr. America winner. He has incredible legs, narrow hips, and proportionally developed glutes; a lower body Vince would have admired. Yet he squatted **all the time** as his main "leg" movement and deadlifted also. He looked that way because his genetics dictated the development.

The good news is that you can develop your own shape to its fullest likely using simple, equipment and incorporating isolation exercises (in addition to compounds). But there are usually several choices of either. So don't get hung up on any particular movement or the need to acquire certain machines. Proper understanding of physiology and kinesiology informed Vince's ideas. That knowledge is available to all of us with proper study. In that regard, books like "Gray's Anatomy" and some physiology/kinesiolgy books can greatly inform us. To his credit, Vince looked into these issues when nobody else did.

At the end of the day it is all really simple. Train smart, eat well, rest well, and genetics takes care of the rest. There are no magic routines or exercises. And that's actually good news.

by Vince Gironda

This consists of two parts ? developing more capillaries and more nerve pathways, or better and stronger nerve impulses to the muscle. Also, to acquire larger muscles, you must increase the intensity of work done within a given time. This means minimum rest between sets. (Push yourself.) I feel workouts should be timed, and constantly strive to shorten the time it takes to get through your routine. (This is a form of Progressive Resistance.) It does not matter how much work you do. What counts is how fast you do it. This is known as the ?overload principle?. The overload principle explains why sprinters have larger leg development than longdistance runners. It is more work to run a mile than 100 yards, but the sprinter is doing more work per second.

I have found that the maximum amount of sets that can be performed to create a maximum pump to a muscle, is 12 sets. Clancy Ross and Bill Pearl both claim that if you can?t get a workout in 15 sets, you are not concentrating properly. Anything above or beyond this is overwork and causes the muscle to contract and lose its blood supply. I have seen this happen to top physique stars, as well as myself. This is not theory, but fact!!! (This is a major fault I find with most beginners.)

I would like to point out here that maximum pump at every workout does not build tissue. It only keeps it pumped up and bloated, but you cannot grow on this much work. Maximum pump workouts should not be employed more often than once a week. Remember, it takes 72 hours to rebuild tissue after this type of workout. Again, I repeat. There is a fine dividing line between enough work and too much work. If you decide to employ this routine, it is best performed by working with a weight that is about 60% of your maximum. Overenthusiastic workouts produce bloated muscle tissue, but no gains.

Top physique stars take maximum workouts every workout. But they work each muscle only twice a week. Even with their superior metabolism, they still need 72 hours recuperation. Take heed ? that workouts tear down tissue ? rest builds it. Talk to any champion. Because of his wide horizon of instinctive knowledge, he cannot and will not give you pat answers. Without consciously knowing the reason for his success, he is unable to guide you. Champions, you must understand, are not necessarily teachers. But they are observers. Watch any champion train, and you will recognize the fact that they appear to be doing something extra, even though they are doing the same exercises as you. That something extra is concentration and an absolute singleness of purpose. I find personally that I can get in top condition by deciding to do so. While my workout partners never seem to consider themselves to be in shape, they also say I am doing the same exercises as you and I am using the same amount of weight; that I am working out at the same speed; but I cannot seem to feel the exercise. The answer to this statement is, think about every part of the movement as you do it. Don?t turn your mind off. In short, concentrate.

By Vince Gironda

Not all the experts will agree with this list of common errors in bodybuilding, but Mr. Gironda has not only proved the worth of his knowledge on his own body, but is responsible for training many title winning bodybuilders spanning more than 30 years in which he has run his own gym in California.

1. Over training! (Anything over 45 minutes is over training.)
2. Working out too slowly.
3. Full Sit Ups and Leg Raises.
4. Working abdominals every workout.
5. Working upper body and legs on the same day.
6. Not touching chest to bar and calling it chinning.
7. Not raising up on the big toe when doing Toe Raises (also pulling heels together at counteraction.)
8. Bench Presses for Pecs. (90% Front Deltoid.)
9. Not touching all four bells together on dumbbell bench work. (90% Deltoid if not performed this way.)
10. Deep Knee Bends.
11. Leg Presses.
12. Under working and over working a muscle by performing too wide a variety of exercises on a given muscle.
13. Cheating exercises.
14. Presses for deltoid.
15. One arm exercises.
16. Mixing carbohydrates and protein.
17. Behind neck Chins on Pull-down Machine (Rounded Back.)
18. Not working Hyperextensions and forearms on every upper body day.
19. Skipping breakfast.
20. Side Bends.
21. Not ingesting enzymes at every meal.
22. Not arching back on lat work.
23. Leg Extensions.
24. Leg Curls on extension table.
25. Not selecting the proper exercise for deficient muscle areas.
26. Not keeping chin on chest, feet under face and elbows wide on parallel dips for pecs.
27. No knowledge of combining exercises.
28. Not changing program often enough.
29. No knowledge of breaking a rut.
30. Not specializing on slow growing areas.
31. Not taking supplements.
32. Lack of concentration during workouts.
33. Not having an expert to answer your questions.
34. Unwillingness to accept new or different concepts.
35. Jogging.

To Pump Or Not?

Q: Do you think a bodybuilder should pump up backstage before competing? If so what are the best movements to do? This is very important to me because I want to enter a contest soon; and I want to win.

A: I am against pumping up backstage. It makes you ?lose touch? with your muscles. The last few days before the contest, you should discontinue all supplements and your workouts must be cut back drastically and simplified. Pump, and pump only, at this time. That?s all you require. No nervous energy should be used, or catabolism (loss of tone) will occur.
You should reach your peak during the three-day period before a contest. Workouts should be discontinued those last three days. Posing should be intensified and glycogen stores built up by using the three-day glycogen storing plan. This produces a full and pumped appearance, which manifests itself by the ease of pumping when you pose. Personally I have seen good looking bodies ruined by over zealous back stage pumping.

Vince eccentric

Q: Friends of mine said that they visited your gym, which they like, but they said you are a little eccentric. When she asked your opinion about some bread she had bought, you threw it across the gym in disgust because it didn?t fit your nutritional standards?and then they said when a person brought a radio into the gym to play heavy rock music, you kicked it off the bench.

A: So?

Need my booze!

Q: Vince, when you were training for competition and you consciously set yourself short-term goals to achieve. Today from what read one must keep using the mind to motivate and carry through to success. I have bought courses, books, and tapes on motivation and goal setting but I still keep missing workouts and partying. From Friday till Tuesday I just like to drink. But I always regret it when I?ve had a hangover the next day. Please help me because deep down I do want to be a bodybuilding success.

A: You may want it Henry but you don?t need it! You have to be driven uncontrollably. When I was training for competition I was inspired from within. My biggest problem was the hold back my tremendous drive. I would have willingly trained for ten hours at a time. I did not need to set goals. They were dancing in front of my every waking hour?I was hot for success. I need it! Only a handful of men in my day trained like I did and when it came to dieting, I was king of the mountain. I had an iron will. No wonder I was the most ripped bodybuilder in the world for over a decade!
You are not driven Henry. You have to send away for mail order inspiration. I feel sorry for you because the merry lunacy of having to train like a madman has its special rewards. You feel like you are different to the rest. You have an all- encompassing purpose to life. A pursuit for greatness! Let?s hope your party habits are only temporary. I myself, took a few flashes of time to drown my sorrows in alcohol, and probably most men go through a similar phase. But keep it short Henry, other wise you could become a bum!
Incidentally, the weekend is Friday night until Sunday night. How come you?re still partying on Tuesday? You only have a two-day work week or what?

Another chance?!!!

Q: Vince, last week you kicked me out of your gym after I asked you to help me with planning my training routine. I gave you five big ones and you threw them back at me. You?ll never get rich acting like that Mr. Gironda. I travelled a long way to train with you and you refused to train me or take my money. Please give me another chance, Vince.

A: You?re a screwball, Ted. I don?t give second chances. I agreed to train you for a certain period of time on the understanding that you followed my instructions completely. After I showed you how to perform each exercise for maximum results you insisted on doing the exercises your way. I now have no interest in you or your money. Period. Do not ever contact me again.


Q: I?ve always been interested in what you have written Mr. Gironda, but also I am aware that some things you say are radical to say the least. Some might say your ideas border on being ?strange?. I mean you do not like the squat or the bench press. These are the two basic moves in bodybuilding. You seldom recommend any shoulder pressing or regular barbell curls?Why are you different from everyone else?

A: I do not set out to be different from everybody else. It?s just that my practical experience in training champion bodybuilders (and I mean training them, not just claiming to train them!) extends to a longer period of time than anyone else?It is reasonable, I believe, to understand that I may have picked up a thing or two?I am not a great believer in the exercises you mention because I have found superior substitutions, better movements. Exercises that give more shape, more development and quicker than other methods. You don?t have to buy my book to find out everything I believe. Get it free from your local library. DO I HAVE IT?

Q: How do you tell if you have a good potential for bodybuilding?

A: Good potential for bodybuilding is not just a matter of physical genetics. Your mind must be of the right framework to advance your progress in spite of set backs.
Potential shows itself within the first year of training. In fact some really ?genetically gifted? bodybuilders even win local and state contests within the first year of training.

Q: Do you train Sergio Oliva? I think he is the best bodybuilder around even today. I saw you at the Olympia (outside the Felt Forum on the day of the contest) in New York, but you were surrounded by fans so I did not get to shake your hand and say hi! This was the first time I had seen you, and also the first time I had seen Sergio and I must admit I got a real kick out of seeing you both. I am going to buy your book ?Unleashing the Wild Physique? right now. One last thing, I had heard that Sergio?s posing was not all that hot, yet I thought he did pretty well at the Olympia. What did you think?

A: No! I do not train Sergio, but he does stop over at my gym whenever he?s in the Los Angeles area. You could almost say that Sergio doesn?t need my training because I specialize in bringing out the flared tapered look on physiques (wide shoulders, narrow hips and waist) and Sergio already has this look naturally. He?s a genetic superior.
Regarding New York, I must admit it was a joy to meet so many fans of my training methods. I didn?t realize so many youngsters were sympathetic to my methods. I was overwhelmed by so many polite and gracious young enthusiasts, I couldn?t believe it! I appreciate every one of them.
Sergio?s posing? I liked it. I thought he presented a nice mix of muscle and artistic attitudes. He looked great too!


Q: I am 44 years of age and have been training vigorously with weights for more than two years. Can you tell me the most advantageous time of day in which to train? At the moment I am taking my workouts at night before I go to bed. I would also like to know when is the best time to take my Milk and Egg Protein Powder?

A: The right time of day to train is of much importance. That is, the time of the day when your blood sugar level is at its highest. Men under 40 years of age perform more efficiently in the evening. Mature men reach this efficient time of day in the early hours.
I personally find myself most energetic at 6:00 o?clock in the morning. My most serious training has always been done at this hour, yet, when I was in my twenties, I trained at 10:00 o?clock at night, like you.
Early morning training insures me of a high energy level the rest of the day. Science claims that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, because blood sugar drops three hours after any meal and must be re-furbished every three hours, in order to keep a constant nitrogen balance. It is also important to know that 90% of any protein ingested is utilized after training (up to 1-1/2 to 2 hours) so it is a good practise to take in protein at this time.

Q: I am 5?9?. Age 48 years old and weigh 165 lbs. I want to get to 180 lbs., but it seems that I just can?t do it. I have been training for 20 years. I have a lot of energy. I take a lot of vitamins and liquid protein, but I can?t get past 165 pounds. I am medium bone structure. Thinness does run in my family, but I will not accept this fact. I know something can be done to gain weight. I do not, and will not, take any drugs of any kind. I live a 100% natural life. I never get sick and feel better each passing day, but I can?t gain any weight.
Please try and help me to reach my goal by this summer. I talked to many bodybuilders all these years ? and they told me that you are the best.

A: I can?t imagine why you want to weigh 180 lbs. at your height. I am 5 feet 8 ½ inches tall and I weigh 165-168 lbs. I wish I could keep my weight there at present! I know for a fact that you are confused as to what is a good body! Did you ever stop to think that neither weight nor measure Physique Contestants? They judge them entirely visually. I maintain that if you are unhappy with your physique it is because you do not have the proper proportions. The measure of a man?s physique is not what he weighs or measures but total symmetry.

Q: Vince, I am super excited about buying your new book ?Unwinding the Great Physique? that you have authored with Bob Hoffman. Please tell me if you have written up any new exercises for difficult cases. I am a real hard gainer.

A: Jeez. Your information is all screwed up! Talk about a difficult case. You are most definitely a confused person my friend.
My book is entitled: ?Unleashing the Wild Physique? not ?Unwinding the Great Physique? OK? And I co-authored it with Bob Kennedy, publisher of this magazine, not Bob Hofman. Phew!!

Q: My wife says I am crazy because I eat, sleep and drink bodybuilding. Now I?m beginning to wonder if she?s right. I can?t get training out of my mind, and I am worrying about the adverse effect. What do you say?

A: All bodybuilders are crazy! Sure. Do not think that you are unusual in that you dwell on your training all the time. I have thought about little else for fifty years. But it?s not really a good way to be. Dwelling on the subject of training all day long causes endocrine tension which can upset the chemical balance of your nervous system. This form of tension can be absolutely destructive to the muscle building process and hider formation of new tissue. For the growth process to function to its optimum level, all of your glandular processes must operate with maximum efficiency. Worry and anxiety over constantly dwelling on your workouts can prevent the free flow of endocrine secretions which is necessary for the rebuilding of nervous energy force. Remember ? nerve force is essential for rebuilding tissue.


Q: I have heard that you like to drink a great amount of black coffee, Vince. Do you believe it helps training?

A: I drink very little coffee now, but I did drink it when in my best shape a few years ago. Coffee is a stimulant and may serve to give you a lift. It can be helpful as a substitute for food when you are on a diet. Incidentally, I didn?t have any coffee until I was 33 years of age. Currently I am partial to fresh mint tea.

Q: I have been warned by friends not to take steroids, but I want to win our local Mr. Novice State Contest, and I am sure I can do it with steroid therapy. Is there a steroid substitute? I am writing you before taking the plunge in case you know any other way. I have 15 ½? arms, 46? chest and I am 20 years old. I have been training 6 years hard.

A: Forget steroids! Some bodybuilders take them for six or eight weeks in an effort to clinch a Mr. Universe title?but your idea of taking to win a ?Mr. Novice State? is nuts. For fifty bucks you can buy yourself a trophy and live until you are eighty. If you get into the steroid thing you will be all washed up by 30 years of age. I have seen it too many times.
Train each body part three times a week. Take small meals of eggs every few hours (all protein is taken from the egg and is the best source) supplement with Milk and Egg Protein, amino acid tablets and liver tabs.

Q: I have often thought of coming to California, to your Vince?s Gym to train. But I?m chicken. I have heard that you shout at people and even kick them out. Are you really aggressive, loud and assertive in your gym?

A: Yes, and thank you for the compliments.

Q: I really have followed your exercise and diet Vince, but I?m still not a Mr. Olympia. Now after 25 years training I?m lost. At 44 years of age what do I do? I?m in great shape, 17? arms, 5?8?, 180 lbs., 48? chest, 29? waist, 24? thighs, but I want more without resorting to drugs of course. Where do I go from here?

A: That?s it! Heredity has already drawn the line. Big deal. You have made great progress. And you didn?t join the steroid freaks. That?s accomplishment without degradation.

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Neither 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.

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