Pre-Steroid Bodybuilding

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When most people think about bodybuilding, their minds are filled with images of larger than life men with physiques that look like they could never belong to a fellow human being. These athletes face a heap of health problems and often find themselves at the doctors on a weekly or monthly basis. What allows these men to sculpt these freakishly large, unhealthy physiques? The answer is simple: steroids. However, it was not always like this. Bodybuilding, which started as a sport focused around health and wellness, has hopped on a downward slope to its demise, and steroids are the sled. The pre-steroid era of bodybuilding dates from the 1890’s to the 1940’s and contains many tips and tricks useful for trainees who want to stay away from…show more content…
Training has transformed over the years and became less of an art and more of a war. Lee Haney tells us to, “Stimulate don’t annihilate.” Pre-steroid bodybuilders were not seen in the gym every day hammering away at their away at their muscles until they could take no more. Instead, they visited the gym two to three times a week and trained full-body rather than training one muscle group a day. By doing this, they stimulated each muscle two to three times a week rather than once. These full-body workouts focused on basic training concepts such as compound exercises, volume, and progressive overload. Compound exercises are simple lifts such as the squat, bench, deadlift, and row that focus on strengthening large muscle groups. Reg Park believe that a common misconception was, “Far too many bodybuilders spend too much time exercising the smaller muscle groups such as the biceps at the expense of the larger muscle groups such as the thighs, and then they wonder why it is that they never make gains in overall size and strength.” Early bodybuilders would utilize these simple exercises to increase strength and size through progressive overload. Progressive overload is essentially increasing volume over time by increasing weight in small increments. For example, if John Doe did an exercise for five repetitions with 200 pounds on week one, he would try to do the same amount of…show more content…
They are built through continuous commitment and discipline. Shape, size, and dryness are the main points of creating a classic physique. Steve Reeves once said, “Today’s bodybuilders are carrying too much muscle for their frames, which distorts and obscures the natural lines of the body. Why these men would aspire to deform themselves at such tremendous sacrifice is incomprehensible.” The physiques that were built by pre-steroid bodybuilders were crafted for perfect balance and symmetry. Everything from head size to ankle size was considered. Lagging body parts were monitored through frequent measurements and visual checks in order to obtain their idea of perfection. Through this, athletes aimed to create an “illusion” that made them look much bigger than they actually were. Shoulders were broad and waists were thin. Muscles had even separation. It was less of a size game and more of a competition to see who could create the most visually pleasing body. Weight is probably the biggest visual factor that sets the bodybuilders of the early 1900’s from today’s bodybuilders. The largest natural bodybuilders were 220 pounds as compared to today’s “mass monsters” who weigh in well above 300 pounds. This dryer, healthier bodyweight was maintained year-round. The term dryness refers to how lean a body is. Before steroids, many bodybuilders did not do drastic weight cuts in order to showcase every vein and striation. Instead,

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