Say Hi to Vince Gironda (1978)

In a FOUNDATIONS OF IRON exclusive, today’s post presents a profile of the “Iron Guru” Vince Gironda and his gym and training methods, which originally appeared in the March 1978 issue of the now-defunct magazine Inside Kung-Fu. This is the first time that this article has ever been reproduced in electronic format for today’s online fitness community!

In the field of physical culture, Gironda is remembered for training competitive bodybuilders, as well as Hollywood stars who needed to get into proper shape for movie or television roles. This was carried out at Vince’s Gym, which he operated in North Hollywood from the 1940s to the 1990s. He is also remembered for ideas which were not always in line with the mainstream thinking within bodybuilding. Nevertheless, both his weight training and nutritional information proved very useful to many physique champions and movie stars.

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Vince Gironda in superb condition at over sixty years of age, in a photo which accompanied the article below. Click to enlarge (appears in new window/tab).

What might not be quite as well-remembered is that Gironda also occasionally gave training advice specific to sports activities. This is highlighted in the article below, which applies Gironda’s methods to martial artists. Gironda also dispensed training information for such diverse areas as arm wrestling, caber tossing, and even powerlifting.

Further reading, an online archive of many of Vince Gironda’s writings: http://www.ironguru.com

Magazine Excerpt: Continue reading

Vince Gironda posing (1950s?)

Today we feature footage of the late “Iron Guru” Vince Gironda doing a physique posing exhibition, from the “ironguru” Youtube channel. The footage has been paired with Vangelis’ “Chariots of Fire” theme, which was one of the preferred compositions of Gironda’s student Mohamed Makkawy.

Continue reading

The Mental Aspects of Weight-Training – Chuck Coker (1962)

Written works on serious weight training sometimes describe the “mind-muscle connection,” and serious trainees can attest that if their mental state is ‘off’ during a workout, then performance and results will suffer.

The article below illustrates the importance of the mind in weight training. This was taken from the May-June 1962 issue of Physical Power, a mid-twentieth century fitness publication which covered a variety of aspects of training for physique, strength, and sports. The writer, the late Chuck Coker, was head Track and Field coach at Occidental College in the late 1950s to the early 1960s.

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A photo of Vince Gironda which accompanied the article. Click to enlarge (will open in new window/tab).

Further reading on Chuck Coker: https://www.oxy.edu/magazine/fall-2016/guts-glory

Magazine Excerpt: Continue reading

How Roy Hilligenn Trains His Back – Ed Yarick (1952)

Today we feature an article on developing the back muscles, as originally appeared in the March 1952 issue of Hoffman’s Strength & Health. This was written by Ed Yarick, known for running the gym where Steve Reeves trained in Oakland, California, USA. The article describes the back training program of Roy Hilligenn, a life-long vegetarian athlete who won multiple physique contests in South Africa and the United States from the 1940s well into the 1970s, before running afoul of the law and spending time in prison; a regrettable fall from grace. Mr. Hilligenn passed away in 2008 at the age of 85 after complications resulting from a fall at a senior center.

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A photo of Roy Hilligenn which accompanied the article. Click to enlarge (will open in new window/tab)

Further reading:

A profile and remembrance of Roy Hilligenn: http://cbass.com/Hilligenn.htm

Magazine Excerpt:

Developing a strong, well shaped back is one of the most important parts of your program. On the average man that does not go in for weight training, the back is the weakest part of the body. Continue reading

How to Develop Big Powerful Arms [Part 3 – Dick Bachtell, Jim Park and Charles Vinci] (1956)

Today we pick up with the final part of the “Big Powerful Arms” article from the March 1956 issue of Strength and Health. The excerpt below, following up on the previous passage by Steve Stanko, includes shorter sections by champion weightlifter Dick Bachtell, multiple physique contest winner Jim Park, and Charles Vinci, who took home gold medals for weightlifting in two Pan American Games and two summer Olympics.

Each of these experienced iron game figures had different methods for developing the various arm muscles. Bachtell recommended the Zottman curl, an older exercise which apparently was not in common use by the time this article was written, and is certainly not well-known today.

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A photo of Dick Bachtell performing Zottman curls, which accompanied the original article. Click to enlarge (opens in new window/tab)

Further reading: Continue reading