Well, we’ve gone far too long without a look back at the history of the iron game in the mid twentieth-century. With the whole world struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic, here’s hoping that you dear readers of FOUNDATIONS OF IRON and your loved ones are in good health. With businesses closed down and people everywhere having to stay home and unable to go have a workout at the local gym, there has been a huge surge in sales of home fitness equipment, to the point that many retailers and distributors are constantly running out of their stock, and consumers must keep checking their preferred sellers’ web sites frequently to see if anything new becomes available. Continue reading
Alas, real life has once again gotten in the way of blogging for a number of months. FOUNDATIONS OF IRON is still alive, I promise! At last, we present another classic article on women’s fitness, this time the “Vivacious Womanhood” supplement to the July-August 1951 issue of Peary Rader’s Iron Man magazine. This piece demonstrates the value of weight training for therapeutic purposes. Today, decades later, physical therapy continues to incorporate resistance exercises with machines, bands and free weights.
This article was written by Peggy Gironda (nee O’Neil), the first wife of the “iron guru” Vince Gironda, fitness trainer to Hollywood stars and physique competitors in the middle to later decades of the twentieth century. Like Vince, Peggy had a background in show business. At a time when women typically trained separately from men, Peggy trained female fitness enthusiasts at Vince’s Gym and other locations. Unfortunately, she passed away from a brain hemorrhage at a young age.
A rare photo of Peggy and Vince Gironda together, on the cover of the magazine which featured the article below. Click to enlarge (opens in new window/tab) Continue reading
Today we feature some excerpts from an article which originally appeared in the August 1940 issue of Bob Hoffman’s Strength and Health. This article explained a group of exercises favored by York Barbell champion Anthony “Tony” Terlazzo, who was active in Olympic weightlifting in the 1930s. The article was the first in a series, and it introduced the concept of “compound exercises.” This term was decidedly not used in today’s sense of exercises that involve several muscle groups simultaneously, such as squats and deadlifts. Rather, Hoffman’s publication presented “compound exercises” as series of individual isolation exercises performed in succession.
Tony Terlazzo demonstrating the arm and shoulder “compound exercise” series described in the article. Click photos to enlarge (will open in new window/tab)
Further reading on Tony Terlazzo’s weightlifting records: Continue reading
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.
“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
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.
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