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

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