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

What the Weight Trainer Should Eat [Part 4] – Richard Alan (1956)

At last, here is the final part of 1950s physique athlete Richard Alan’s overview of food types, as it originally appeared in his 1956 booklet Nutrition and Recipes for Progressive Resistance Exercise. The last excerpt that we featured from this chapter dealt extensively with dairy products. In this final section, Alan described additional animal protein sources, as well as fats, sugars, and water.

Booklet Excerpt:

7. Eggs. Eggs are rich in protein, iron, and phosphorus. The efficiency of the protein is very good, being a value between the protein of milk and that of meat. I recommend eating from one to six every day. I personally eat four eggs every day, usually eating them in the form of a health drink. Experts claim that cooked eggs are easier to digest, but I don’t feel there is that much difference to warrant eating them cooked instead of eating them in a health drink. A properly made health drink is very delicious, and as we’ll find out later, this is very important to good digestion and assimilation. Continue reading

“The Miracle Food” – Irvin Johnson [aka Rheo Blair] (1951)

In the field of iron game history, the late Rheo H. Blair has gained somewhat of a cult reputation as a Golden Era expert on bodybuilding nutrition, as well as a nutritionist to Hollywood stars. His products and methods supposedly produced stunning muscle gains back in the 1960s and 1970s. Blair and his protein would be distinctly remembered over the coming years by bodybuilders who were active in those days, such as Larry Scott, Frank Zane, and Dave Draper.

Today we present an early article by Rheo Blair from the July/August 1951 issue of Peary Rader’s “Iron Man” magazine, when Blair was still known by his birth name of Irvin Johnson.

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A man of many talents: Irvin Johnson the singer with his piano accompanist Doris Lee, from elsewhere in the magazine. The pair were also winners at a “Mr. and Miss Bodybuilder” physique competition in Chicago. Click to enlarge (appears in new window/tab).

Continue reading

What the Weight Trainer Should Eat [Part 2] – Richard Alan (1956)

Today, we continue our look into 1950s iron game nutrition with an additional excerpt from the third chapter of the now-obscure 1956 booklet “Nutrition and Recipes for Progressive Resistance Exercise,” by physique athlete Richard Alan Poel, aka Richard Alan.

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A photo of Richard Alan from the publishing info page in his booklet. Click to enlarge (opens in new window/tab).

Recently, we presented the initial part of this chapter along with a somewhat conjectural biographical sketch pieced together from the scant information publicly available on Poel. In our previous excerpt from this booklet, Alan advocated dietary intake of a large variety of whole, natural foods. In the text below, he continued by describing specific categories of food, explaining both their nutritional value and what he felt were the most beneficial methods of preparation and consumption. Continue reading