Michael Pearman — Strongman Hairstylist (1959)

British Weightlifter Michael Pearman appears in this 1959 profile vignette, from the archives of the British Pathé Youtube channel. This somewhat whimsical profile shows how, at the time, Pearman was developing skills in two separate and unrelated fields: as an Olympic weightlifter, and as a ladies’ hairdresser. Yes, strength is for everybody!

After this, Pearman participated in a number of international weightlifting competitions, and he represented Great Britain as part of the weightlifting team at the Olympic Games in 1964, 1968, and 1972. He would go on to become a weightlifting coach, including as chief coach to the British weightlifters at the 2001 world championships in Antalya, Turkey, and as head coach to the English squads at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. He currently coaches the weightlifting club at Brunel University London.

It is unknown whether Pearman has kept up his skills as a ladies’ hairstylist over the years.

This video also highlights changing attitudes toward weight training for athletes. Continue reading

Bodybuilders’ Notebook — Leon Burk’s Back Routine (1962)

Many recreational lifters focus on areas of the physique that seem the most visible, such as arms and chest. However, only doing exercises for these body parts means missing out on the benefits of training muscular groups such as the legs and the back. Below is a brief article from the May-June 1962 issue of Physical Power, featuring the back training routine of Leon Burks. Burks was a physique competitor in the early 1960s in southern California. Unfortunately, precious little information seems to be available on him today.

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Leon Burks displaying his back development in a photo which accompanied the article. Click to enlarge (will appear in new window/tab)

Brief further reading, a list of contests that Leon Burks placed in: http://musclememory.com/show.php?a=Burks,+Leon

Magazine Excerpt: Continue reading

Exercise of the month (Reg Park Journal, Oct. 1955)

Below is an example of a very brief feature of The Reg Park Journal in the mid-twentieth century, highlighting one particular exercise and describing the benefits. This was a practical and beneficial feature of Mr. Universe Reg Park’s physical culture publication.

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Illustration which accompanied the article. Click to enlarge (will appear in new window/tab)

Magazine Excerpt:

“Chins” behind head are an exercise which can be used as a basic body-building exercise or on your “off” training days “free style.” Continue reading

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