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1950's Bodybuilding Routine



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1950's Bodybuilding Workout


As a modern day bodybuilder you will no doubt be very aware that any "old school" lifting routine did not have access to any of the fancy cam machines or supplements like creatine or whey powder. The great bodies that were built by bodybuilders like Arnold, Bill Pearl, Frank Zane and many others came from training with heavy weights using low reps.

Sports science over the last 50 years has changed everything about bodybuilding but it seems that the great old school bodybuilders knew the value of training correctly which probably came from trial and error. Simple training techniques like doing pumping movements with light weight along with heavy compound movements was something that all of them did.

Knowing the key variables when designing a workout is the effective management of volume, intensity and frequency. Today we know that intensity can be calculated by using a simple formula where Intensity= (Volume x Weight used)/Rest time).

The bodybuilders from the old school knew the value cycling their training in order to avoid the dreaded training plateau where no extra strength is gained. The example of Bill Pearl's workout listed below is just one example of the type of workout the old school bodybuilders would use.

The sensible combination of both volume and strength training is needed to gain muscle on a long-term basis. As you can see the routine below is just one example of how both these types of training can be used together so that all the muscle fibers in any body-part can be activated.

Often training the whole body in a workout instead of doing a split routine, these bodybuilders used to always make sure that they were getting a full days rest between these tough workouts. Please note that the workout listed below is split into two workouts with a day's rest before the next workout.

Day One:
Squat 3-5 sets of 5-15 reps
Stiff-legged deadlift 3 sets of 10-15 reps
Bench-press 3-5 sets of 5-15 reps
Pull-ups or Chins 3-5 sets of 5-15 reps
Calf Raises 2 sets of 5-20 reps
Crunches 2 sets of 5-20 reps

Day Two:
Deadlift 3-5 sets of 5-15 reps
Military Press 3-5 sets of 5-15 reps
Close-grip bench-press or Dips 2-3 sets of 5-15 reps
Barbell Curls 3-5 sets of 5-15 reps
Wrist Curls 2 sets of 15-20 reps
Reverse Crunches 2 sets of 5-15 reps


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Disclaimer: This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.

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