HIT in the Golden Age of Bodybuilding....

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HIT in the Golden Age of Bodybuilding....

Post  sgsims1 on Fri Jul 23, 2010 3:48 pm

From Classic Physique Builder:

Here is some more food for thought! You might be familiar with H.I.T. - High Intensity Training. This is the all-out, one set training approach that was popularized in the 1970's by Arthur Jones - the inventor of the Nautilus machines. Although most people think that Jones invented HIT style workouts, that is really not the case. Actually, one-set per exercise training was the standard before and during the early years of the pre-roid, Golden Age of the 1940s and 50s!


In the early Golden Age (early 1940s), set series training (doing multiple sets per exercise) was even considered a specialized form of training for advanced trainers! But by the mid-1940s, set training became more standard and set series training was introduced for intermediate trainers.


However, all throughout the Golden Age, it was the rule that ALL beginners would train for up to 6 months on one set per exercise (using full body workouts, 3 times per week)! Nearly all the CPB Champs of that era had a strong foundation in HIT training as beginners! This really helped them get started on the right foot in terms of building a classic physique quickly and is very different from today, where beginners start with set training and split routines right off the bat, never do one-set, full body training, and quickly start over-working causing all gains to cease after some initial beginner's results.


You can see for yourself the one-set training in the York muscle building courses, Weider's Muscle Building Courses of the Champions, and even in Steve Reeves' training when he first began! Again, this type of training was pretty universal for beginners in the Golden Age.


What were the benefits of such training? A lot! It produced very good gains for beginners, prevented overworking, taught them how to use the principle of progressive resistance properly, allowed them to use heavier weights which promoted better growth, didn't overtax the nervous system, and ramped up the body's muscle recovery abilities.


Because of this type of training, the Golden Agers, as intermediate and advanced trainers, were able to get much more out of fewer sets than most people do today. Steve Reeves once said that if you can't completely stimulate a muscle in 3 sets per exercise, then you are doing something wrong! And, in his own muscle building course system (see his book Dynamic Muscle Building), Steve had beginners train on one set per exercise for 6 months (the Golden Age standard)!


Now, Joe Weider, in his 1954 and later versions of his "Muscle Building Courses of the Champions" updated his beginners course and introduced set series training earlier. But he still had beginners train for 3 months on 1 set per exercise. But prior to that (prior to 1954), he had beginners train for 6 months on 1 set per exercise (Golden Age HIT training).


It was in the later half of the 1950s, that Weider introduced high volume training - but this was for advanced trainers - not for beginners. And by that time, all the great physiques had already been produced (like those of Grimek, Ross, Stephan, Reeves, Eiferman, Delinger, etc), so it is not clear that high volume training really added anything at all to the building of classic physiques. Now Joe was always looking for a marketing angle in order to be "new and different" from his competition. So he may have promoted high volume training as a marketing ploy (to be "different" and appear "cutting edge") - not because it really provided anything of real value.


Now, you might ask "This is fine, but I've been training for a while. I'm not a beginner and I've never done one-set training. Is it too late for me to benefit from this kind of training?" I would say "no!" You can still benefit!


Most people you see in the gym today are overtraining their muscles and getting nowhere fast! How many times have you seen some guy in the gym, week and week, pounding out set after set, using the same weights, and still looking the same? No real gains to speak of. You see this quite often.


If this describes your training, then try this. Take a one to two week layoff. Then come back, select 6-8 compound exercises covering the major muscle groups of the entire body (e.g., bench press, bent over rows, military press, barbell curls, squats, calf raises). Do one set per exercise. Go all out and use all the weight you can handle for 6-8 reps! When you can do 8 complete reps (and fail on the 9th rep), then increase your weight at the next workout and work up to 8 reps again. Keep pushing the weights up in this manner. Do this workout 3 times a week for 6 weeks. Eat and rest properly and see what happens! Chances are good, you will surprise yourself and see some unexpected results and improved muscle recovery ability!


After 6 weeks, take a one week layoff and then resume the same program! Keep this pattern until you see no more results. Then take a week layoff and after do the same routine using 2 sets for each exercise instead of 1 for another 6 weeks. Doing this will definitely teach you how to get the most out of each set. Then, one day, as an advanced trainer, like Steve Reeves, you will know how to stimulate a muscle using 3 sets per exercise (with no more than 3 exercises per body part). But don't jump to advanced training routines before you are ready - if you do, they won't work for you. Lay a good, solid foundation of Golden Age HIT training and then proceed from there!


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And more....

Post  sgsims1 on Fri Jul 23, 2010 3:52 pm

With all of the misinformation in the modern, roid-based, muscle mags of today, we have quite a challenge in sorting through all the "conventional wisdom" that just doesn't work for us non-roid users - who just want to build a great looking, classic physique! In our last post, we touched on the subject of all the modern hype regarding supplements. In this post, let's touch on the subject of workout frequency.


Remember, with all the modern "advice" - much of which is hype - you must always ask yourself "Who is this advice really good for - me or the supplement companies or fitness centers?" If you ask this question frequently, you might begin to see through all the hype.


With that said, it is pretty much the "conventional wisdom" these days that beginners should be put on a 4-5 day (even 6 day) splits - exercising each part of the body one day a week. You see this advice in the modern, roid-based muscle mags. You hear it from the "personal/certified trainers" at the modern gyms/fitness centers. In fact, if you are a classic physique builder and tell the personal trainers at the fitness center that you are doing 3 full body workouts each week, they would probably think you are crazy! If you get this reaction from them, then this is a sure sign that they don't know anything about the pre-roid Golden Age! They probably have no idea who Steve Reeves is or any of the other CPB Champs!


Well...here is the truth about workout frequency in the pre-roid Golden Age: the standard that all beginners and almost everyone else followed was to do 3 full body workouts per week! Yes...that is right! Each muscle was being exercised 3 times per week - not just once! And people were in the gym 3 days a week, not 4-6 days. If you don't believe this, then just look at practically any issue of the muscle mags of the pre-roid Golden Age (the 1940s and 50s) like Your Physique, Muscle Power, Muscle Builder, Iron Man, Strenth & Health, etc.


Let's put it this way....the practice of doing 4-6 day splits, working each muscle once a week, was largely UNKOWN during the pre-roid Golden Age - certainly for beginners! None of the classic physiques of the CPB Champs were produced by following this kind of advice. Yes...there was some (repeat "some") split training done for very specialized reasons by advanced trainers (e.g., a couple of weeks right before a contest). But split training was not the norm. Yet, clearly, with their 3 full body workouts per week approach, those of the Golden Age were able to produce classic physiques just fine! So don't let anyone tell you that your muscles can only take being stimulated once a week! And don't let anyone tell you that you need to be in the gym 4-6 days a week either!


In fact, it was pretty standard in the Golden Age that a person could build a classic physique, usually, within two years. So Golden Age methods work and they work really well! How many classic physiques have been built today on the modern advice of doing 4-6 day splits and working each muscle once a week?!


Now, there is a lot to say on this subject, but let's come back to our earlier questions. Who benefits the most from the prevailing "conventional wisdom" - you or the supplement companies & gyms?


Let's take the gyms first. It is no suprise that their "trainers" will tell you that you should be in the gym 4-6 days a week. Why? Because if you are in the gym that often, then you will be far less likely to drop your gym membership. Also, a lot of the gyms sell other products that you are more likely to buy if you are there - such as supplements, workout clothes & accessories, workout drinks, etc. The gyms/fitness centers have a monetary "bottom line." They are a business. They must maintain a certain number of paying memberships to cover all their "overhead" (expenses) and make a profit. Nothing wrong with that - except when they start tailoring their workout advice for their benefit and not yours!!! So who is really benefitting from a 4-6 day split - the beginner or the gym/fitness center?


What about the supplement companies? They also love the 4-6 day split training each muscle only once a week approach! Why? Because if you are working out practically every day, you are more likely to think you need more supplements! Take a look at all those pre- and post workout drinks that they push. If you work out only 3 times a week (or even twice) then you are talking about 4 - 6 drinks. If you are working out 4-6 times per week (and buying pre- and post workout drinks) then we are talking about 8-12 drinks! They can sell you twice as many drinks and double their profit! That's not to mention all the other supplements you will be tempted to buy since you are working out so much! AND since working each muscle once a week will lead to slow progress, you will be all the more tempted to buy supplements to "speed up your results!"


So the "conventional wisdom" of 4-6 day splits and working muscles once a week is great for the gyms/fitness centers and the supplement companies! But what about you?


Don't you think it is funny that men were able to build classic physiques in the 1940s and 50s on 3 (or even 2) full body workouts per week with no problem (and no supplements) and yet now the modern muscle mags seem to have forgotten this? In fact, they seem to have "conveniently" forgotten all about the pre-roid Golden Age haven't they? Doesn't it seem as though their sense of history begins with Arnold (and other 1st generation roid users)??? Well...I guess the truth of history would hurt their "bottom line," wouldn't it?


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Re: HIT in the Golden Age of Bodybuilding....

Post  Merc on Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:21 am

Thanks for posting this I learned a few things. I always thought it was Arthur Jones who started HIT. I admit to being ignorant and not really giving old school training much thought. I think it was because of the outdated and bizarre training course that came with my first York barbell set. For some reason leg workouts were eliminated when you reached course 4 which was the advanced course.

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Re: HIT in the Golden Age of Bodybuilding....

Post  fantombe on Tue Jul 27, 2010 9:00 am

Merc wrote:For some reason leg workouts were eliminated when you reached course 4 which was the advanced course.

That's interesting. Was there a reason given, do you remember?

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Re: HIT in the Golden Age of Bodybuilding....

Post  Merc on Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:38 am

No reason given. I still have the booklet if you want me to post the 4 different full body workouts. This is probably a "newer" version than the one mentioned in the article because it resembles more the high volume training approach and it suggests that you must workout for up to 2 hours every workout if you want to get big. Razz

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Re: HIT in the Golden Age of Bodybuilding....

Post  fantombe on Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:48 am

Sounds like fairly common bodybuilding advice! (The 2 hours bit, rather than the stopping leg work bit).

I'd be interested to see it if you wouldn't mind posting it. I've no doubt most of it could be guessed, but I'd be interested to see the type of progression they used through the courses.

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Re: HIT in the Golden Age of Bodybuilding....

Post  Merc on Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:41 pm

I looked around and found the original York Barbell bodybuilding routines. Now this must be the course that was mentioned in the article not the nonsense that came with my barbell set.

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York Barbell Course No. 1

(The first of the famous York Barbell Courses designed by Bob Hoffman)

Curls 1 x 6
Overhead Press 1 x 6
Squats 1 x 8-12
Pullovers 1 x 6
Deadlifts 1 x 8-12
Bench Press 1 x 6
Side Bends 1 x 6
Jefferson Lift 1 x 8-12
Calf Raises 1 x 8-12
Shrugs 1 x 6

York Barbell Course No. 2

Reverse Curl 1 x 6
Overhead Press 1 x 6
Squats 1 x 8-12
Deadlift 1 x 8-12
Sit-Ups 1 x 8-12
Bent-Over Rows 1 x 6
Leg Press or Front Squats 1 x 8-12
Goose Step with Barbell (walking in place with barbell on shoulders) 1 x 8-12
Bench Press 1 x 6

York Barbell Course No. 3

One-Arm Jerk with Barbell 1 x 6
One-Arm Snatch with Barbell 1 x 8-12
Bench Press 1 x 6
Squats 1 x 8-12
Overhead Squats 1 x 8-12
High Pull (to belt) 1 x 6
Overhead Press 1 x 6
Two-Arm Snatch 1 x 8-12
Two-Arm Jerk 1 x 6
Cleans 1 x 6

Simplified Barbell Training - York Barbell Course No. 4

Curls 1 x 15
Overhead Press 1 x 15
Rows 1 x 15
Side Bends 1 x 15
Clean & Jerk 1 x 15
High Pulls 1 x 15
Overhead Squats 1 x 15
Snatches 1 x 15
Deadlift 1 x 15
Squats 1 x 15

//////////////////////////////////////////////

the course I got with my York Barbell set:

Course 1 (9 weeks): 3 Workouts per week.

1. Barbell Swing: 2 sets of 12 reps
2. Squat: 2 sets of 9 reps
3. Pullovers: 2 sets of 12 reps
4. Bench Press: 2 sets of 8 reps
5. Press Behind Neck: 2 sets of 8 reps
6. Bent Over Rowing: 2 sets of 10 reps
7. Barbell Curls: 2 sets of 10 reps
8. Bent Legged Dead Lift: 2 sets of 7 reps
9. Sit-ups: 2 sets of 10 reps
10. Leg Raise: 2 sets of 10 reps


Course 2 (9 weeks): 3 Workouts per week

1. Squat: 3 sets of 9 reps
2. Pullover: 3 sets of 10 reps
3. Bent Arm Laterals: 2 sets of 10 reps
4. Bench Press: 3 sets of 8 reps
5. Press Behind Neck: 3 sets of 10 reps
6. Upright Rowing: 2 sets of 8 reps
7. Alternate Dumbbell Press (Standing): 2 sets of 8 reps
8. Standing Dumbbell Curl: 3 sets of 8 reps
9. Lying Triceps Curl (Extension): 3 sets of 8 reps
10. Sit-ups: 3 sets of 12 reps
11. Leg Raise: 3 sets of 10 reps


Course 3 (6 weeks) 3 Workouts per week

1. Squat: 4 sets of 8 reps (Superset, alternate with exercise #2.)
2. Pullover: 4 sets of 10 reps
3. Bent Arm Pullover: 3 sets of 8 reps
4. Bench Press: 4 sets of 8 reps
5. Dips: 3 sets of 10 reps
6. Dumbbell Bench Press: 4 sets of 8 reps
7. Barbell Curl: 4 sets of 8 reps
8. Two Hands Dumbbell Curl: 4 sets of 10 reps


Course 4 (6 weeks): 3 Workouts per week

1. Bent Arm Pullover: 3 sets of 12 reps
2. Bench Press: 6 sets of 6 reps ( 2 minutes rest between each)
3. Incline Dumbbell Press: 5 sets of 10 reps
4. Seated Barbell Press Behind Neck: 5 sets of 6 reps
5. Upright Rowing: 4 sets of 8 reps
6. Lying Triceps Curl (*extension): 5 sets of 10 reps
7. Barbell Curl: 5 sets of 8 reps (Superset: alternate with exercise #6.)


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Re: HIT in the Golden Age of Bodybuilding....

Post  fantombe on Wed Jul 28, 2010 10:58 am

Thank you for those. An interesting historical insight. Those routines are like night and day! The first lot would definitely be much more productive.

I particularly like this:

Merc wrote:Goose Step with Barbell (walking in place with barbell on shoulders) 1 x 8-12

Farmers Walk for the space impaired? Wink

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Re: HIT in the Golden Age of Bodybuilding....

Post  Merc on Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:15 pm

Yeah, that's a strange exercise. The other exercise for which I've never heard of is the Jefferson Lift so I looked for a demonstration on youtube and I don't think I'll be trying that one. It looks a little too risky for your package. Smile

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Re: HIT in the Golden Age of Bodybuilding....

Post  fantombe on Thu Jul 29, 2010 1:18 am

Yeah, the Jefferson lift is quite common in western strength training to accompany some of the classical Martial Arts, such as Judo or Karate. It's still used by some of the older instructors. Not sure I'd want to risk my Misters doing that one.

These days of course it's all medicine ball throws, punching with cables, and plyo for MA training. Not sure which one I'd consider more risky... Wink

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