Original Article by Jeff Everson
Excerpt from the book 'Forgotten Secrets of The Culver City Westside Barbell Club'
by Dave Yarnell.
Before the last epoch of the Cenozoic era, some 65 million years ago, great beasts roamed the earth. These ponderous dinosaurs weighed as much as 100 tons and were over 120 feet long. Some had teeth the size of a child. Most had brains the size of an egg.
The dinosaurs died out and were replaced by a higher form of life. Likewise, at one point in time (the late 1950s, all of the '60s and the start of the '70s) giant bodybuilders ruled the earth. Then they abdicated, making way for a leaner, more refined and defined animal.
In the days when Freddy Ortiz sported 21-inch arms on a 5'5" frame and Dave Draper was so big that when he went into the Pacific it was suddenly high tide, bodybuilding was concerned primarily with getting massive and strong.
Cuts and the ultra-refined look (a la Gaspari) were called muscularity and judged as a separate division. Seldom, if ever, did the winner of the muscularity trophy go on to win the overall title. That went to the bulk- masters!
Bodybuilders thought they should be both big and strong.
Reg Park used to do the behind-the-neck press for reps with 300 pounds.
Sergio Oliva - at a weight of 198 pounds - could clean and jerk 360 pounds before he even started bodybuilding.
Chuck Sipes bench pressed 570 pounds and could bend steel bars.
With just lung power, Bill Pearl could blow up hot water bottles until they exploded. He also tore license plates in half.
Before he trained back down to win the Mr. Universe, Bruce Randall bulked up to 401 pounds and did a good morning with 780!
When bodybuilders got together, they'd discuss Chuck Ahrens' shoulders and how he could press a pair of 220-pound dumbbells.
They'd talk about the day Armand Tanny did a clean and jerk of 300 pounds with one hand or the time Steve Reeves cleaned 275 pounds while on his knees.
"More than anything, though, bodybuilders in those days loved to train hard and heavy and then go eat!"
Up to the early '70s, bodybuilders only cared about size, and low-fat diets were disdained. Legend has it that John Grimek once ate 10 steaks at a sitting and then asked what was for dessert.
Today, the dinosaurs and the old thinking are gone - for better or worse. Now, you must be big (being strong is neither here nor there), but you must be cut and refined too, or you don't win - or make it into the magazines?
Bodybuilders today use cycle training and the modern supplements that go with that training.
Bodybuilders need to decide who they want to be, a Stegosaurus, (big and strong) or an up-to-date bodybuilder who still wants size but with the highest quality beef possible.
Hey Guys, Zach here.
I hope you enjoyed this article as much as I did!
Back when I began lifting there were a few strength and bodybuilding shows on TV. I would cut school to record these shows or wake up super early / stay up very late just to watch them. Sunday mornings Lee Haney had his own bodybuilding show on ESPN2, it started at 6 AM or 8 AM, I didn't care it was the weekend, I watched that show!
Today, kids tell me how they can't train because they wanna go fishing or surfing or "hang with my bros". I will never understand the acceptance of missing workouts and being average to go fishing. Do it ALL.
Through the years and decades since, information has become so abundant and filled with fads and gimmicks that I even get confused. Hard Work is the only fad I want!
The basics will never let you down, neither will smart, hard, strategic workouts. My Gladiator STRONG program is what I use for the athletes I train as well as myself. It's like "Functional Bodybuilding". You get strong, lean and athletic and it's PERFORMANCE based muscle.
Gladiator STRONG is a a blend of Bodyweight Bodybuilding, Free Weights, HIT Conditioning, Old School Bodybuilding, Olympic Lifting, Powerlifting and whatever it takes to be a Savage.
It's how we train at The Underground Strength Gym and if you're "older & training for Life", we make adjustments for you and post to our private forum.
Our members range in age from their 20s to their 60s, both men and women.
What do I always talk about in training? Stray away from the fancy BS and stick to the basics, just like this article speaks about. If you're not fired up to crush your next training session then you've lost your passion and likely have gotten caught up in the fads & gimmicks that confuse you.. The Golden Era delivered such results because of the passion these men had.
MANY of them worked full time jobs and lifted at 5 AM or 6 PM. Even Larry Scott, the first Mr. Olympia had a full time job. You can have excuses or you can have results but you can NOT have BOTH.
7 Days FREE - Gladiator STRONG
The Underground Strength Academy
Just a quick heads up.... in 2005 I opened the doors to Underground Strength Academy, a members only site where I have updated the content with videos, e books, interviews, training programs lasting from 4 weeks to 12 months, old school bodybuilding, powerlifting, functional strength and more.
I've even taken all my DVDs and seminars that used to be on DVD and added them to the members area! It's a Treasure Trove of Strength and Muscle Information unlike anywhere else on the web.
WHY am I so committed?
Because I wanna see MORE strong people roaming the earth. There are too many weak people roaming the earth these days, weak in mind AND body? The MORE we know the MORE we can help others.
EVERY MONTH I'll be bringing you NEW, Kick Ass information in the way of a training program, QnA, members only podcasts and anything else you need, just ASK on the forum!
NOWHERE else will you find such a kick ass opportunity to have continuing education AND inspiration come your way EVERY MONTH with NO BS info.
I REFUSE to let "old school" die.....
See you on the other side.....
Live The Code 365,
Kyle Bohannon says
Definitely a Stegosaurus. Every time I hit the gym, the feats of strength that the MEN of the 60’s did fuels me. I’m sick and tired of all of the, boys yet-to-turn-men, seen in most of today’s gym.
Michael H says
Dinosaur training for the win!
Zach Even - Esh says
Yes, those who know, KNOW!
Steg I’m looking to go for GODZILLA !!!! KING OF EM ALL
Stegosaurus for sure….
Dino-training hands down.brute strength over pretty, useless muscle any day. Back in the day my dad was a golden glove boxer, and I remember him training w/my uncles.lifting engine blocks & squating our pressing them, carrying 5 gal water bottles using finger tips. In high school we still had to chop firewood and my dad had us chop down treescut them into 4-5 ft sections and carry them back down the mesa on our backs, about a mile or so. At the end of high school was a beast. But now conforming to modern society, I am a WEAKLING. Going back to my roots, lift like an animal, screw the pretty $h*t, I want to be a F-ing man!!! Love piece & hair grease!
Zach Even - Esh says
Ken, you were fortunate to grow up and witness your Dad in training, that is a rare
thing nowadays, and even more rare was HOW your Dad trained!
Dustin M. says
Stego, Stego, Stego….GOOOO STEGOS! Cheesy? Yeah! Hahaa! But it’s the only way to go.
There is only one way to live, being built—mass n power two in one!
By the way, killer article, I like the references and etc. Good comparisons. Today’s modern bodybuilders are sad.
There was this really buff guy I met in College and we decided to train together, He stated I might be out of his league. HA! Granted, he was a bodybuilder…2x the size of me and definitely cut up. We trained together, he could not outlift me in any chosen exercise. I was shouldering kegs, clean n pressing thick bars, heck I even handed him a steel bar and he asked what we were going to do with it. I told him to bend it, he was like that’s impossible. Oh yeah..? I think you all know what happened after that. Men of Steel, represent.
This guy may have been twice the size of me n definitely cut up, but I had the strength and the size is slowly coming, but it will be size earned.
Dustin W. says
I am not a plant eater. MEAT EATER AM I! But I get where your going with it.
I have been on a two year quest to right the wrongs of my past. Meaning I use to follow every pump up magazine and training from Mr. Whatever. Popping magic pills and expecting to get huge like the guy in the add.
I was BIG! But weak as a kitten. I decided I didn’t want to just look strong. I wanted to be strong.
Now I train to what makes me feel the best. Not physically because I am beat after training, but emotionally. It is primal training to envoke the warrior inside.
Nothing like looking out of the corner of your eye at your overweight-out of shape neighbor guys with a cocktail in there hands (3 years younger than me) and grab the 180# tree log and press it for three reps for the 32 set in 30 minutes. Smile, wave and move on to the 250# stone lift (max reps in 20 minutes).
i am a vegan and i hafta say i am super strong but i cant get size i am always underestimated on the way i look in the way of strength
Zach Even - Esh says
Hey bro, my buddy Jonny Hinds is plant based vegan for a LONG time and he is STRONG!!
Do your thing, my man!
Jeff Hathcock says
The only thing the present day, steroid-ridden “monsters of the midway” as my late friend John Grimek called them have on the “old timers” such as Grimek, Reeves, Pearl, Delinger, etc., is size. Beauty of physique and health are all but forgotten in their quest for massiveness. One really can’t call it bodybuilding any longer because that is now a misnomer. The older generations of bodybuilders were very strong, healthy men who got that way by lifting heavy and eating lots of good food. Sadly, today’s young bodybuilders are inundated with magazines full of ugly, bald, unhappy-looking idiots with 24 inch arms, 36 inch thighs, pumped-up veins and striations (cuts) and bloated, distended bellies that pass for bodybuilders. They are not! They’re bums, who got that big by taking steroids- drugs! The young guys look at them and they, too want to be big! Big! Big! Forget about their health and body symmetry. their only goal is to get huge. Ronnie Colman, Jay Cutler- even Schwarzenneger before them- and the rest of the bloated bums have taken the sport to a new low and I don’t think it will ever come back to what it once was. I’ll bet Grimek, Park, Reeves, Ross, Delinger and the rest of the classic bodybuilders are turning over in their graves at what has become of a once great sport. My advice to young bodybuilders is to follow the routines of the old-timers who lifted heavy and ate plenty of good food. Forget steroids and all the other useless, detrimental products that fill the pages of bodybuilding magazines and get back to basics. The greatest benefit to doing so is that you will maintain your health.
Zach Even - Esh says
Jeff, agreed on ALL fronts, my man!
The way I train is a blend of that old school bodybuilding which was in and of itself a blend of powerlifting, bodybuilding, calisthenics and olympic weightlifting.
They KNEW and Understood what it took!
Great blog post!
John Mcguire says
Great stuff. I love the gym I go to. 90% of the guys start up with tricep push downs. Leaves the squat rack and deadlift platform free for me to jump in on and bust out my work out.,
Zach Even - Esh says
Oh yea, those squat racks don’t get the love anymore! I remember that from 1991 I think, it was a Monday and I realized that very night, it will always be leg day from here on out so I am not sitting around, waiting for a bench to free up!