During the 1960s some of the the musclemags would include a "complete" bodybuilding course every so often, something of a starter kit for kids and young guys who were on the verge of purchasing some home gear. Or, they got the mag inside one of the boxes their gym gear came in, along with The Weider System and wall charts. A mag course like this seemed more appealing in many ways. Anyhow . . . a lot of the current lot of lifters probably aren't familiar with these recurring articles, and I figured it'd be fun to include one here on the blog. A bit of a historical document you might say. Fun to look over. Fun. You know that's permitted in lifting, right?
November 1966 . . .
RING IN THE NEW YEAR WITH MUSCLES!
You can do all these things by Jan. 1, 1967 by training with weights:
- build a powerful "Mr. America" physique
- strengthen your body for winter sports
- build a defense system against winter colds.
Certainly! Within two or three months!!!
I still love the schtick and sales pitch.
And still see it almost everywhere today!
And still see it almost everywhere today!
Did I mention that this article was actually "written" by Harold Poole?
The easiest muscle-building time of the year is coming up. If you promised yourself a physique last spring, and then just couldn't get around to building it because of summertime activities, here's your chance to give yourself the gift of muscles by Christmas, and ring in 1967 as a champ.
Fall and winter training is easy - not only because there are fewer sports and social activities to keep you occupied, but because it's easier to train when the weather is cool. Hot weather can sap your training drive and hinder bodybuilding progress. Your desire to be outdoors in warmer weather can keep you from concentrating on your workouts.
Before really cold weather sets in, make up your mind that you're going to build a physique before the winter is over. Not only will you build big muscles, but you'll also strengthen your body for sports, as well as improve internal health and safeguard against colds. In my own case (a personal touch from Harold Poole!), it just so happens that I tackled my first set of Weider (you should've seen that coming) weights about this time of year.
Before I started training I was quite skinny and weak. I was prone to winter colds and other ailments. That winter, just weeks before my first workout, was my first one free of sickness. Just a few workouts and following the natural health rules that I found in the Weider System had strengthened me sufficiently (here you anxiously flip through the mag to page 64) to resist the "bug." (Little did you realize you were on the verge of catching a new "disease." Thanks, Sam Fussell!)
But, my main reason for training in those days, and ever since, was not to build strength and resistance against colds. These are byproducts of weight training, and will come naturally as your muscles grow. That was my major aim - building a powerful physique. Build muscles - and you will also build lasting strength and health.
This is why you're reading this article - to find out how you can build yourself up in time to greet the new year as a champeen. Follow this course and you'll succeed. Give yourself a lasting gift this Christmas - a "Mr. America" physique that will win satisfaction and pride for you for years to come.
"I don't know. Two months is a long time."
What Equipment Will You Need?
Mainly, you will need an adjustable barbell and a pair of adjustable bells. You will also need an adjustable or at least a flat exercise bench. Other exercise equipment is desirable, but not essential in the beginning. Later on when you advance in your workouts and if you can afford it, add an abdominal board, a pair of squatting stands, a chinning bar and the like to your home gym. If you can afford to equip your home gym completely from the start - great. If not, you'll be able to add to it as you progress, as your muscles grow and require "specialization equipment" to build them to the maximum. (I'm guessing around the three or four month mark, right?)
Where Should You Train?
Your bedroom is a good place - if you have a clear area measuring 8 by 8 feet. The ceiling should be high enough to permit you to stretch overhead without touching it while wearing the Mr. America crown. Ventilation should be adequate.
What Should You Wear?
In the winter wear a warm sweatsuit, two condoms, a pair of wool socks and sneakers. I wear my Go-Go-Go Jungle-Warm Sweat Suit in cold weather. In warmer weather a bathing suit and rubber sandals will do. Clothing should be nonbinding, and comfortable.
When Should You Train?
I know, I know. A lot of these questions are ridiculous, but hey, this is something of a period piece, eh.
Now then, any time of day will do, but try to be consistent. Make sure you don't train until at least an hour after a major meal to avoid that swimming sensation.
How Often Should You Take a Workout?
Train 3 times a week in the beginning - on alternate days, like Monday/Wednesday/Friday. Rest 2 days at the end of your workout week. Later on, as your strength and muscles grow, you may want to "split" your workouts, or use other specialization techniques. I'll discuss these later. In the beginning, keep it simple - 3 times a week, for at least the first 3 months.
How Many Exercises Should You Perform?
Average about 12 per workout. My routine suggests 14. In any case, 12 or 14, the exercises should cover every area of your body to assure complete development.
What Poundages Should You Use?
Start with light weights, say about 35 pounds in barbell movements, and about 15 pounds each in dumbbell movements. When you "learn" your strength, add a few pounds every few workouts, so that your last exercise movements will feel "difficult." Just remember that it's what you "feel" that counts, regardless of poundage. Weightlifters, not bodybuilders, are primarily concerned with smashing strength records. For some bodybuilders, it takes only comparatively light weight to do the job.
What About Sets and Repetitions?
A "set" is a collective number of exercise movements without rest between these movements. These movements are called "repetitions." You rest between sets, say, for about a minute or two. You may rest for as long as four or five minutes between different exercises. The first month, perform only 1 set of each exercise. The second month. 2 sets, and the third month, 3 sets. In the beginning, average about 10 to 12 repetitions per set.
What About Specialization?
For the first 3 months of training, at least, forget about specializing, that is attacking any one muscle groups with extra vigor. You will need to discover your "weak points" first, and this will take about 3 months. When you have determined which areas lag, you will then be able to "bomb" them, so as to bring them up to par with your other muscles. Hence, you will specialize (on arms of course, oh yeah). You might want to add extra exercises for this one muscle group, or you may want to work these muscles on your free days, or you may want to work these muscles first in your workout, when the body is fresh and energy is high, so that they will receive even greater benefit and will be forced into growth. This last method is called the "Weider Muscle Priority System" ah-hem. There are many ways to specialize, including "splitting" the routine, that is, working your upper body three days a week, and your lower on alternate days. This permits you to do more each workout day, for greater bombing - and greater growth. All these specialization techniques and others are discussed in the Weider ah-hem Championship Muscle Building Course, which comes free with Weider weight sets, and also in MUSCLE BUILDER magazine monthly. Remember - you will not be ready for specialization until at least 3 months after your first workout.
What About Strict Style and Cheating?
In the beginning, perform all the exercises "strict style." That is, perform every movement correctly - to assure proper development and learn exercise technique. Later on you can "cheat." That is, use parts of the body not being exercised to aid those parts being exercised. This will permit you to use heavier weights, and force the muscles into greater strength and size. For example, in performing the two arm Barbell Curl, start off the exercise by bending slightly forward from the waist, and start the exercise by swinging the hands up slightly and bend slightly backwards from the waist at the end of the exercise. If you cheat a bit in getting the barbell moving at the beginning of the movement, you will be able to handle heavier poundages - for greater growth.
Eat good foods. As usual I'll skip the supplement ads written in here and leave it at that.
Eat good foods.
Sleep at least 8 hours every night. Sleep is good, m'kay.
What About Daily Hygiene?
What About the Danger of Over-Training?
When you are getting just the right amount of exercise, eating properly, and resting sufficiently, you will feel great, and your muscles will grow and strength increase. If you feel tired and your muscles refuse to budge, you may be "under-training" or "over-training." Check out everything. Make certain your diet is in order, and that you are getting sufficient rest. If you find that your exercises are a "snap" then correct this by increasing poundages so that the last few reps of the last set are very difficult. On the other hand, "over-training" should be avoided. If necessary, lower poundages. If necessary, take a week off to recuperate. If necessary, eliminate an exercise or two. BALANCE is what makes muscles grow - neither under-training nor over-training will muscles respond properly. Yes. The Necessary Ifs.
The Exercise Program
Note: The order of bodyparts here is pretty freaking strange, to say the least. But then, it reflects the bodybuilding goals of the era pretty clearly.
Arms / Shoulders / Chest / Back / Abs / Legs.
Barbell Curl x 12
Concentration Curl x 10
French Press x 10
Side Lateral x 12
Seated BB Press x 12
Bench Press x 12
Flyes x 10
Pullover x 10
BB Row x 12
Deadlift x 12
Situp x 30
Leg Raise x 30
Full Squat x 12
Calf Raise x 18.