Don Howorth, “Mr. California.” Will he be Mr. America? – Bob Hise (1963)

The excerpts below are taken from an article in the May-June 1963 article of Peary Rader’s excellent training magazine “Iron Man,” every issue of which was replete with practical training advice in addition to profiles and coverage of people and events in the iron game.

This article features Don Howorth, a regular on the Southern California iron game scene of the 1960s, and just a few years later associated with the famous Vince’s Gym on Ventura Blvd, Studio City.  The details of his nutrition and his advanced training routine are quite informative, showing how he achieved his “Mr. California 1963” build.

HoworthArmsRoutineDon Howorth’s arm program. Click to enlarge (will open in new window/tab). Continue reading

Physical Types – George W. Kirkley (1963)

Today we present another excerpt from Kirkley’s book Weight Lifting and Weight Training. The excerpt below is the second chapter, which describes the classic concept of somatotyping, or categorizing physiques into three general types: ectomorph, endomorph, and mesomorph. Nearly any book on strength or bodybuilding/physique training is likely to repeat some version of these ideas.

In recent years, fitness writers have been more critical of the somatotype model for trying to shoehorn every human body into one of three distinct categories, and many weight trainees have trouble determining which somatotype they are supposed to fit into, as they may have aspects of more than one of these types. However, Kirkley here acknowledged that these types are generalizations rather than strict, hard-and-fast categories; and his approach to training different body types in different ways was based on years of experience and observation. Most importantly, he did not dismiss any body type as hopeless when it comes to physical improvement.

KirkleyDeadliftThe author Kirkley demonstrating the deadlift, from elsewhere in his book (click to enlarge, will open in new window/tab)

Book excerpt: Continue reading

The Art of Physique Development – Bruce Randall (1970)

This excerpt is from 1959 Mr. Universe winner Bruce Randall’s book The Barbell Way to Physical Fitness (1970), an excellent hardcover volume that explains the how and why of weight training for physical fitness for everyone from athletes to business executives to kids, also including some information on good nutrition and healthy living, and covering various exercises from the most basic beginner level to somewhat more advanced methods. The text below is the fourteenth chapter of Randall’s book, and it addresses the concept of training specifically for aesthetic, cosmetic physique development.

RandallBarbellWayBook cover: click image to enlarge (will appear in new window/tab)

Bruce Randall was certainly well experienced in changing his physique. Before he ever competed in physique contests, he had been a strongman or powerlifter, eating copious amounts of food every day for the sake of building sheer strength and bulk. In the process he reached a decidedly non-lean body weight of more than 400 lbs! Continue reading

Reg Park posing (1957)

In case you ever had the harebrained notion of playing two online videos at once, here is your chance for some ‘casual Friday’ afternoon amusement!

The top video contains some rare preserved footage of the late three-time Mr. Universe winner Reg Park of England doing a posing routine in 1957, from the “indaskys” Youtube channel. Although the picture quality is not the best, Park’s thick musculature and physical power are evident. This footage is a prime example of mid-twentieth century physical culture.

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How are your “External Obliques?” – Bob Hoffman (1940)

The text featured below consists of excerpts from an article by York Barbell founder Bob Hoffman, which originally appeared in the August 1940 issue of his monthly magazine “Strength and Health.” For the sake of brevity, only a few segments from the long and verbose (and often repetitive) original article could be included here.

GrimekOneHandLiftYork Barbell star John Grimek performing a one-handed lift. Click to enlarge (will open in new window/tab).

Hoffman generally promoted Olympic-style weightlifting as the primary modality for exercising with weights, rather than bodybuilding with cosmetic purposes as the primary objective, and his focus is quite evident in this article. Continue reading