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).

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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

How to Develop Big Powerful Arms [Part 1 – John Grimek] (1956)

Who doesn’t like to train arms in the gym? In fact, many beginning weight trainees may be so enthusiastic in their desire to train their biceps that they perform endless curls to the neglect of other muscle groups! Nevertheless, well-developed arms can be quite impressive in conjunction with balanced overall physique development.

Today we feature the first out of five sections of a classic article with thoughts on arm training from physique champions of the 1950s, as presented in the March 1956 issue of Bob Hoffman’s magazine “Strength and Health.” Naturally, the champions cited herein were those associated with Hoffman’s own York Barbell enterprises, and they did not fail to throw in a few plugs for Hoffman products. In the article, the sections do not actually appear in the same order laid out in the introductory paragraph, and there does not appear to actually be a portion attributed to Jules Bacon.

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A photo of the incomparable John Grimek which accompanied the article below. Click to enlarge (opens in new window/tab)

The first and longest part, presented below, was ostensibly written by York Barbell strength and physique star – and multiple Mr. America winner – John Grimek. Intriguingly, right in an article on arm training, he began by stating clearly that he had basically given up biceps curls, considered by many to be a staple exercise! Continue reading