Muscle RamblingBy Alan Palmieri
Don't look to this article for any news about present day so called bodybuilding champions. Maybe that's putting it a little harsh. It almost sounds like I am discounting their worth in bodybuilding and not giving them a fair shake for all the work and sweat they put into building themselves up. I honestly know it's hard and they do put forth a gigantic effort but steroids and drugs in the sport has left me with such a bitter taste in my mouth that its hard for me to really look upon any of today's top contenders with the respect and admiration of those from yesteryear. Boy! Talk about winning friends and influencing people; that should just about do it.
Anyone who knows me or has read anything I have written knows I am a product of the 60's bodybuilding era. A time when steroids were just coming onto the scene, few were into taking them. Hard work, good quality protein, sunshine, and supplements were the order of the day. Working out 'til we dropped. Having clean fun; like seeing a pretty girl and rating her beauty by the reduction in arm size we thought she was worth. "Boy, there goes one I would give a ¼" for. Or, how about one worth giving up ¾" of an inch for. Man, for me I couldn't afford to lose a 1/16" of an inch. Today some might think that little game was tacky, maybe, but it was all in clean fun.
Although many can make the same claim, I remember when three or four of us use to pick up small cars like VW's parked along the street and move them up on the sidewalk, or turn them sideways. That could be a little risky. I mean what if we scratched the car or put a dent into it? Never happened but it could. I recall working out at this one gym and a guy no one liked, came in every day like clock work. He was a real pest. Always bragging about everything he had and how great it was. For about two months every day we would go out to his car while he was working out, talking out I should say, and would fill his gas tank with gasoline. He would brag about all the great mileage he was getting and how smart he was to purchase such a great car. This went on and one, for about two months.
Well, you know what comes next! That's right; we began siphoning gas out of his car.
I'll never forget the first time he admitted something was wrong with his car. "I just don't know what has happened". "My gas mileage has gotten so bad it's unbelievable." He worried himself sick over the poor gas mileage he was getting and no, we never told him what was going on. After about three weeks we let it go and stopped bragging on his car. The last I remember he never discovered what we were doing and he never bragged on the dumb car again.
Some of you may remember a promoted arm routine designed to add 1" to your arm in one day. All you had to do is a set of curls and a set of triceps extensions every hour on the hour for one full day, at least for 18 hours. Take two desiccated liver tablets after each session and your arms were going to grow one full inch. Well, I tried this, not once mind you but three or four times in my career. Results; well, it became very difficult after about the sixth hour and by my last set I had lost not gained any size. The next day I lost even more. I still hear and read about this routine today and pity the one who gives it a try.
Remember in the 60's how bodybuilders looked like super humans and not super monsters?
I'm a realist and I know you can never go back in time but honestly, there was something so special about the 60's and bodybuilding that it deserves to always be remembered. Just look at some old magazines; Mr. America, Muscle Builder. Iron Man, Muscular Development: what a great time. The champions of the day were numerous, or so it seemed. When you counted them up there were not that many but they were always featured in every month's magazine. Think of some of the greats in the sport that will live on forever that made a splash in the 60's. Joe and Ben Weider, Bob Hoffman, Dan Lurie, Dick Tyler, Zeller, Caruso, Draper, Sipes, Poole, Wayne, Schwarzenegger, Pearl, Gironda, Gold, Scott, Zane, Columbu, Katz, Ortiz, Howorth, Stonewall, Peters, The list goes on and on. Sure some of these guys were around before the 60's but they came into real prominence in the 60's even though they were at it long before.
I just finished reading a new book; "West Coast Bodybuilding Scene" The Golden Era, by Dick Tyler and Dave Draper. It is published by OTP, On Target Publishing. That's Dave and Laree Drapers operation. People know that I am not a writer even though I pen a lot of material that does not make me a writer. I can't spell, I have never grasped the Kings English, and I can never get my point across like I want it. Anyway, I thought I would provide you with my take on the book. GO BUY IT!!
Anyone interested in bodybuilding from the 60's will enjoy Dicks writing. It contains more photos then any other book it's type I have seen. The information is priceless. I suggest you log onto Big Dave's site and order your copy today.
Just a little self promotion here, if you don't mind. I am really deep into the update for my book "Vince Gironda Legend and Myth" and at this point thrilled with what is taking shape. Interviews with people Like Bill Pearl, Don Howorth, and Larry Scott will be included. I already have Bill and Don's finished and next week scheduled to do one with Larry. I am hopeful I will be able to get a few more interviews in. Ron Kosloff has contributed a ton of new information that most fans of the Iron Guru have not read before. Bob Kennedy of MuscleMag has contributed a lot of photographs, some rare ones I had not seen published before. A section will contain some of the best Q&A's to and from Vince. The update will be added on to the back of the present book. It should be perhaps the most complete work on Vince anywhere up to this point.
As a closer, how about a tip on gym manners!
I was at the gym this week performing reverse curls with the E-Z bar. The bar has a rack all its own and is positioned in the corner of the gym. I had just added another whopping nickel plate on each side, bringing my total to thirty-five pounds, (heavy day workout). This guy comes up and takes the collar off one side and takes the five pound plate off. I said, "Hey, your taking my weight!" "Oh, excuse me." Then instead of replacing it back the dummy handed it to me. Where do these people come from? Lucky for him my forearms were so pumped from the heavy reverse curls I couldn't grab him. Doing heavy twenty-five and thirty-five pound reverse curls can be rough on you. Especially if you do three sets of six reps. Now don't be like the dummy that tried to take my plate, the story is true but I'm joking about the poundage, sets and reps. Anyone should know that it takes four sets of six reps not three.