Unless you are a real fan of Seventies bodybuilding, you might not readily know the name Casey Viator. A true muscular behemoth and the youngest man to win a Mr. America title at the tender age of 19, Casey's legacy is not as iconic and memorable as someone called Arnold.
But there is one photo of him that still does the rounds of muscle blogs and forums that is iconic. The photo of his seemingly astounding physical transformation in the 1973 Colorado Experiment. Despite all Casey Viator’s lifelong accomplishments in bodybuilding, the first thing everyone associates with his name is the famous, or infamous depending on what side of the fence you sit, Colorado Experiment.
Sadly Casey passed away on September 4 of 2013, due to cardiac arrest. He was only 62 years old. And his life and career have been filtering through my thoughts and reflections ever since.
This is a guest post by Jason Ferruggia
If you don’t know who Mike Mentzer was I will give you some quick background. He was a famous bodybuilder who competed back in the seventies and eighties against none other than Arnold, himself.
He was known for being a huge proponent of extremely low volume training. Mike was either loved or hated; there was no in between.
He had some radical view points and an in-your-face way of expressing them. He even had the balls to call Arnold out about his high volume training protocols and say what a complete waste of time it all was.
Every teen whoever picked up a barbell has always wanted to know how to get bigger arms. I know I did.
The usual response to this was to go curl crazy in the gym in the pursuit of the mythical 20” arm.
The fact of the matter is even bodybuilding champs were a little loose in the measurement department and never really made this number.
In the HGH and anabolic steroid era the 20” benchmark has been exceeded at the expense of health.
But what does the average trainer do to seriously build up the size of their arms?
A lot of people (including myself) have been bandying the term “old school” when referring to strength training. But this term is not that definitive when it comes to what it actually refers to in our workouts. The phrase “old school” seems to bring to mind more of an emotional response than it does an actual way of training.
To me, when I hear the words “old school muscle building”, I get distinct images in my mind of 19th Century dudes in stripey one-pieces, bent pressing shot loaded barbells, while simultaneously twirling their handlebar moustaches. Or alternatively, mid-20th Century guys benching, squatting, dipping and posing down on Muscle Beach while the “ordinary” folks gawk at them like monkeys at the local zoo.
5×5 training is an age-old weight training program. Its greatest benefit is that it is a great balance between gaining real strength and building serious muscle.
The first person of significance who actively promoted this type of training was Reg Park. That he invented this form of training is unlikely, but he was certainly the man who first famously built a herculean physique by training in this way exclusively.
Since then a number of notable strength athletes and trainers have promoted this minimal but intense form of training to construct huge slabs of muscle on their frames. This type of training is perfect for building relative and total strength and you should be able to move from a beginning to an intermediate level of lifter in a linear way without any periodization factored in.