Wednesday, July 13, 2022

My Favorite Exercise -- Steve Reeves (1950 )

While looking for an article to follow, this one jumped out of an S & H mag that featured Reeves on the cover after winning Mr. Universe. It's a nice addition to that earlier Reeves Arm Training article. 

From This Issue, August 1950. 

Frequently I've been asked by enthusiastic bodybuilders whether I have any favorite exercises. I suppose we all have our favorite exercise and my favorite one happens to be the two arm curl done while sitting on an incline bench. 

There were two things I've always desired; broad shoulders and a husky pair of arms. Fortunately for me I was inclined to be broad from the start, but while my arms responded to some extent, they never quite satisfied me. 

After spending years of intensive training my arms finally reached to point where they measured 17 inches and there they stuck. No amount of training, no matter what I did or how I would perform arm exercises nothing would make them grow. I became discouraged after all this effort and began to think my arms would never grow any larger, no matter what I did. 

It was then that I hit upon the idea of doing my curls while sitting in an incline bench. I was training at Yarkick's gym at the time and he encouraged me to try it. I would sit back on the bench while holding a dumbbell in each hand and BRACE THE BACK OF MY ARMS AGAINST A BAR THAT RAN THROUGH THE BACK OF AN INCLINE BENCH [Cool idea!]. This solid position would permit me to concentrate more intensely on my biceps. 

The weights would be curled close to the body instead of sideways as so many fellows curl. I found that by curling them so close it affected my biceps just where I wanted it and, in a matter of weeks, my arms were now past my former "sticking point" of 17 inches, and later they taped a snug 18 under  any circumstances. I suppose other exercises contributed to their growth, but it was this exercise which finally made them grow to over 18 inches.

In my opinion I consider this exercise, at least in my own individual case, far superior to the regular curls. I can concentrate better and work the biceps more completely because my arms are braced against the bar in back of me. Sometimes when I work on an incline bench which doesn't have any bar where I can brace my arms, I place the bench against a wall or some other place where I can brace my arms. This always permits me to concentrate on doing the exercise correctly and work them harder.

My schedule works out something like this: I begin with a pair of 75 pounders which I curl in pretty rapid succession 5 times. Immediately I take a pair of 70's and do 5 more, then the same with 65 pounders, etc., and keep working down in 5 pound jumps until I've completed 8 sets of these curls. Anyone up for running the rack drop sets in 1950? Oh Hell, Hackenschmidt and others before him used to regularly "run the chain" both ways with graduated kettlebells. That sun, and what's under it. 

Another question I've been asked concerning this type of curling: whether I find it easier or harder to perform than regular curling. In my own case I find it easier but I know others who find it much harder than the regular curl. Maybe it's because I've done do many of them that my arms are stronger in this position. However, I do not practice this form of curling because I find it easier, but rather because it had brought me the desired results -- that of increasing my arms, and so long as an exercise is productive, I'll keep doing it. 

Enjoy Your Lifting!    

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