Chuck Sipes: The Epitome Of Old School Bodybuilding

muscle building, classic bodybuilders

Chuck Sipes was born on August 22, 1932 in Sterling, Illinois. He is widely regarded as on of the greatest bodybuilders of his time.

Early in his life, he moved with his family to Modesto, California. During high school, he was rejected for the school's football team for being underweight. Spurred by this rejection, he back lifting weight to build mass, under the tutelage of his neighbor Chuck Coker.

Bodybuilding Career

During the course of his long bodybuilding career, Chuck Sipes won an impressive number of prestigious titles. The AAU Mr. North California Content in 1958 was his first foray into competitive bodybuilding shows. He easily bested the field and took the first place. During the same year he also participated in a number of AAU contests, finishing 3rd AAU Junior Mr. America Contest, 9th in AAU Mr. America and 2nd in the AAU Mr. Pacific Coast.



John McCallum: Beginner and Intermediate Mass Gaining Program

There’s a young man down the street from me who trains with weights. He’s been at it for about three years now but you’d never know to look at him. He’s got no build at all. My grandmother’s been dead for twelve years and she probably still look better that he does.

hardgainerThese are the words that first drew me into the world of John McCallum – and what a world to be drawn in to. He was a bit of a mysterious figure in the strength world but wrote a series of compelling articles for “Strength and Health” in the Sixties and early Seventies that fuelled a generation of young bodybuilders and strength enthusiasts and defined the modern day strength article.



Dave Draper: The Blond Bomber

DaveDraper-FLX-ArtZeller-947It is nigh impossible to write articles on classic bodybuilders without mentioning the name, Dave Draper. Known as the Blond Bomber, Draper looked every bit the prototypical California bodybuilder of the Sixties even though he heralded from Secaucus, New Jersey.

Born in 1942, he began his weight training at the tender age of 10 and was well practiced and obsessed by the age of 12. In his book Iron On My Mind, Draper later described this experience: “The motive was survival, muscle and might and self against self prompted by wishful thinking and a kid’s hope and dream – a daring image of a well-muscled Dave-man bopping about in my morsel-sized mind.”




5×5: A Weight Training Program For Real Strength and Mass Gains

park5×5 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.



Reg Park: The Titan From Yorkshire

regclassic bodybuilders, muscle buildingA true product of the harsh Yorkshire environment, in the years of the depression, Reg Park was born in Leeds in 1928. A stark environment such as pre-war Northern England of the 1930’s served to shape Reg Park into one of bodybuilding’s strongest competitors of the 50’s and through to the early 70’s. The straightforward and pragmatic mindset of the typical Yorkshireman served to implement a simple yet effective training schedule that not only served to produce his Herculean physique, but has remained a bedrock of strength training today.

A natural athlete as a schoolboy, Reg dreamed of being a footballer through his school years and devoted this time to playing the “beautiful” game. At 16, Reg was introduced to bodybuilding by a local strength enthusiast, David Cohen. Training at a mutual friend’s house, Reg started to develop his renowned physique from the simplest of training equipment – barbells, dumbbells and a chinning bar.



Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle

tom_venuto_10It seems ever since I have been scouring the internet for nutritional advice, Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle, has been there. In fact, when it was released in 2003 it was one of the first diet and nutrition e-books ever published. Now there is such a plethora of e-books, supplements and weight loss programs online that it is easy to get lost in all the information on offer.

A lot of them promise all-to-easy solutions. Just "take the pill" or the take the "all-to-easy" advice and your body fat problems will just melt away. Clever copywriting pulls on your emotional heartstrings and you buy a product that nine times out of ten will not work.



John Grimek: Monarch of Muscledom

John GrimekJohn Grimek was probably the greatest bodybuilder of the 30’s and 40’s – and beyond! He was the only bodybuilder to the AAU Mr. America title twice in 1940 and 1941. So complete were his victories that the organization changed the entry rules excluding previous winners.

There is some confusion about the exact date when John Carrol Grimek was born. Some documents say that he was born on June the 17th 1910, but some of the documents say that he was born of June the 18th 1911. Some even claim that he was born on June the 17th 1909. Who knows? What we do know is that a legend was born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey at that time.



Bill Pearl: The World’s Best Built Man

muscle building, classic bodybuildersI often think of Bill Pearl as the best bodybuilder never to win a Mr. Olympia title. “Well,” I hear you say, “He was too old in ’65 to win the title”.

And my reply will always be, “Well he was young enough to win the NABBA Professional Mr. Universe in ’71 at age 41, beating Sergio Oliva, Frank Zane, and Chris Dickerson (both past and future Mr. Olympias). In addition there is a strong rumour that the ‘71 Mr. Olympia, Arnold Schwarzenegger was pulled from the competition after a conversation between Pearl’s mentor Leo Stern and Joe Weider because Stern thought Pearl looked good enough to beat Weider’s protégé”.

The fact of the matter was that Pearl was never part of the Weider empire, so he would never have stood a chance in that event. And to be fair it probably didn’t concern him too much.



Steve Reeves: Hercules Unchained

SteveReevesSteve Reeves was born in Glasgow, Montana, on January 21, 1926. By the age of ten, Reeves and his mother had moved to Oakland, California. As he entered his teenage years the future Mr. Universe had become deeply immersed in bodybuilding magazines and bodybuilders became his heroes. In particular, the muscular John Grimek was his source of inspiration. Steve Reeves fate as a champion bodybuilder was assured.

Reeves became an avid trainer, training in a home garage gym. Eventually however, he outgrew the garage and joined Ed Yarick’s gym in Oakland. Yarick , a bodybuilder himself, tutored Steve on a regime of full body workouts three times a week and packed a mighty forty pounds of muscle onto his frame. By 1944 Reeves weighed a mighty 203lbs and stood at a height of 6’ 1”.



Eugen Sandow: The Creator of Modern Bodybuilding


Although he would not have considered himself as such at the time, Eugen Sandow is often considered the father of modern bodybuilding. It is fair to say that he set up the foundations for the sport within the boundaries of the physical culture movement during the Victorian age.

He was born Friedrich Wilhelm Muller in Konigsberg, Prussia (now Kaliningrad, Russia) in 1867, the son of a jeweler. According to his own account, he ran away from home and earned his keep by being a circus strongman, wrestler and artist’s model in Belgium.