In the modern era of bodybuilding filled with extensive scientific research, state of the art supplementation, all kinds of isolation machines and thousands of fad training routines, it would seem that the pillars of old-school bodybuilding have been totally forgotten. If you were to go back 60-70 years into the past and enter a gym, you would have seen a completely different place than today’s modern gyms.
You wouldn’t find anyone following so-called scientifically proven split routines, no silly amateurs chugging some kind of pre-workout, and then proceeding to do endless repetitions on the leg curl machine, whilst listening to some motivational music mix on their phone and looking the same months or years on end. Instead, people who went there followed some simple and basic principles of their idols from the Golden era. The reason for this is simple – these principles work.
In the era before the widespread use of steroids, high-volume training, and the “Weider principles”, professional bodybuilders like Peary Rader, Reg Park, and Steve Reeves built their bodies by doing full-body workouts and training as hard as possible on a small number of basic compound exercises at every single training session.
During those days, the bodybuilders’ main goal was building a body that was healthy, athletic and functionally strong at the same time instead of getting a huge pump by doing 4×12 on the pec deck machine. Their main guiding principle was, as Reg Park himself said: “If you want to be bigger, you need to get stronger.”
Among these incredibly strong old-school bodybuilders, there was a man called John Grimek, which is up to this day lauded as a true icon of bodybuilding who pioneered many of what are today deemed bodybuilding’s basic principles.
A short bio
John Grimek, who by the way has never lost a bodybuilding contest in his entire career, was bodybuilding’s biggest name during the 30s and the 40s, twice winning the prestigious AAU Mr. America. He was regarded as one of the greatest bodybuilders that ever lived by the legendary Steve Reeves, a worthy praise considering it came from Hercules himself.
Besides having a spectacularly muscular and aesthetically pleasing physique, John was, like all the great bodybuilders of the Golden era, also incredibly strong and his physique matched this. In 1936 Grimek competed for the US in the now infamous Berlin Olympics and at one point in his career, he held the American and World Record for the Press (Overhead). In this article, we will take a closer look at one of his favorite muscle building programs which are based on his main principles for gaining strength and building muscle mass.
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Continues on next page (Grimek’s Routine) …