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Old 08-13-2009, 05:12 AM
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Arnold Schwarzenegger and Reg Park

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Reg Park

At age 15 Arnold glanced in a store room window and saw what was a cover of a magazine depicting the new Hercules movie starring none other than Reg Park. Arnold was not a man to learn from books or abstract ideas but by identifying with what he considered to be admirable individuals. "Reg Park became my idol," Arnold said in 1976. "In time I would base my whole bodybuilding future on Reg."
-Fantastic: The Life of Arnold Schwarzenegger

I was a 15-year-old farm kid growing up in Austria when I was first inspired by a bodybuilding magazine with a picture of him on the cover from one of his Hercules movies. My life was never the same. He was so powerful and rugged-looking that I decided right then and there I wanted to be a bodybuilder, another Reg Park. I could not have picked a better hero to inspire me. Reg went from bodybuilding to the movies. He became a smart and successful businessman, and he was the first person who gave me a glimpse of what my life could someday become if I dreamed big and worked hard.
-Arnold Schwarzenegger, A Tribute to Reg Park

I knew that would be me. I would look like Reg Park. I studied every move he made, every gesture. From that point on my life was utterly dominated by Reg Park. His image was my ideal. It was fixed indeliably in my mind. All my friends were more impressed by Steve Reeves, but I didn't like him. Reg Park had more of a rough look, a powerful look, while Steeve Reeves seemed elegant, smooth, polished. I knew in my mind that I was not geared for elegance. I wanted to be massive. It was the difference between cologne and sweat.
I found out everything I could about Reg Park. I bought all the magazines that published his programs. I learned how he started training, what he ate, how he lived, and how he did his workouts. I became obsessed with Reg Park; he was the image in front of me from the time I started training. The more I focused in on this image and worked and grew, the more I saw it was real and possible for me to be like him.
-Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder

From the beginning I was a big believer in the basic movements, because that was Reg Park's preference. He would stay with the basic exercises--bench presses, chin-ups, squats, rowing, barbell curls, wrist curls, pullovers, leg extensions, calf raises. These were the movements that worked most directly on all body parts. I was following his example to the letter. And as it turned out, I could hardly have chosen more wisely. The basic exercises were creating for me a rugged foundation, a core of muscle I could later build upon for a winning body. Reg Park's theory was that first you have to build the mass and then chisel it down to get the quality.
-Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder

The basic exercises will appear throughout the entire training program. There are no alternatives to these exercises. For example, every bodybuilder has to do squats from the time he starts until he finishes. You can't build your legs without the squat.
-Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder




Reg Park and Arnold Schwarzenegger


Reg Park

An athlete from the start, he dedicated his teenage years excelling in soccer. He had no interest in bodybuilding until, at age 16, Park met a muscleman named David Cohen. Upon learning that Cohen lifted weights at his friend's house, Reg Park joined in with curiosity. Park's legendary physique would grow from barbells, dumbbells and a simple chinning bar.

Upon discharge from the military in 1948, he saw his very first physique contest. This was the inaugural NABBA Mr. Universe contest, in which John Grimek edged out over Steve Reeves in controversial fashion. It was this contest that inspired Reg Park to compete himself.
After one year of hard training, Reg Park earned the title of Mr. Britain in 1949. He then subsequently spent six months in the United States (thanks to a gift from his parents). There, he met up with famed publisher Joe Weider, who began to feature the Englishman prominently in his muscle magazines. The next year, Park was runner-up to Steve Reeves in the 1950 NABBA Amateur Mr. Universe in London (also a close contest).

After a second full year of training, Reg Park broke what had been an American monopoly on bodybuilding titles by winning the 1951 National Amateur Bodybuilders Association (NABBA) Amateur Mr. Universe. He cemented his superstar status by winning the 1958 AND 1965 NABBA Pro Mr. Universe titles. Standing 6'1" and with a top weight of 250 pounds, Park was known for his muscular mass that was the forerunner to modern bodybuilding today. Park was also renowned for his strength, which he often demonstrated in contests and strongman exhibitions. It is on record that he was the first bodybuilder to bench press 500 lbs.

Reg Park Stats


Training like Reg Park

If you're a beginner and you want to train like Arnold Schwarzenegger, then you have to train like Arnold Schwarzenegger trained as a beginner. When Arnold first began training he trained 3 days a week, so you'll train three days a week. When Arnold first began training he followed a Reg Parks routine, so you'll follow a Reg Parks routine. When Arnold first began training, he focused on the big heavy compound lifts, so you'll focus on the big heavy compound lifts. This is how Arnold got his start on the road to being the best that there ever was and it's my hope that this could be your start as well. Let's take a look at some of the programs advocated by Reg Parks, all of which Arnie would have used at some point. Try to imagine Arnold at 15, 16 and 17 doing the exact same things that you'll be doing. Try to recreate for yourself some of the same excitement, determination and raw power that Arnie did, and ultimately, success.



Reg Park and 5x5

The 5x5 model was Reg Park's choice du jour for packing on slabs of muscle and producing hundreds of pounds of strength. This is also the model that Arnie came to know and love during his formative years. But this isn't Bill Starr's 5x5, this is Reg Park's 5x5 and it's a little different. The first two sets of five are actually used as warm-up sets. So let's say we're going to work our way up to a 150 lb bench, the first set of five would be about 60% or 90 lbs, and the second set of five would be about 80% or 120lbs. After that you would get down to the grit, what Reg liked to call Stabilizer Sets; 3 sets of 5 at 150lbs. So it would end up looking like:

5x90 (Warm-up @ 60%)
5x120 (Warm-up @ 80%)
5x150 (3 stabilizer sets)
5x150
5x150

When you can get all your reps of 5 at 150 lbs, you add 5 lbs. So next time your bench it would be:

5x95
5x125
5x155
5x155
5x155

Reg liked to use about 3-5 minutes to rest in between sets.

One more thing: When you're first starting any 5x5 program you never want to start with your max. Typically you start 30-45 lbs below what you think you can do and work your way back up. Starting anywhere near your maximum capacity is a good way to stall out, so give yourself a running start. If that means starting with an empty barbell, well, just consider that Arnold and Reg both started at the same place you will.

Onto the programs...



The Reg Park Beginner Routine

Here is a workout that he and Arnold used with great success (provided by Kaya Park, Reg's grandson)

Workout A

Back Squats 5x5
Chin-Ups or Pull-Ups 5x5
Dips or Bench Press 5x5
Wrist Work 2x10
Calves 2x15-20

Workout B

Front Squats 5x5
Rows 5x5
Standing Press 5x5
Deadlifts 3x5 (2 warm-up sets and 1 "stabilizer set")
Wrist Work 2x10
Calves 2x15-20

Week 1: A, B, A
Week 2: B, A, B
Week 3: A, B, etc



Reg Park's Power Training

Schedule 1 - To be performed 3x/week for 5 weeks before continuing onto Schedule 2

Back Squat - 5x5
Bench Press - 5x5
Power Clean - 8x2
Standing Press - 5x5
Barbell Curl - 3x5 strict, add 20-30lbs then 2x5 cheat curls
Deadlift - 5x1, working up to a top weight (Only performed on Day 3) Beginners should do 1x5

Schedule 2 - To be performed 3x/week for 5 weeks.

Front Squat - 5x5
Clean and Press, warmup w/ 2 sets of 2, 5x2 Stabilizing sets. Optionally perform 2 more sets of 3 Push Jerks
Upright Row - 5x5
Dips - 5x8
Dumbbell Curls - 5x5
Deadlift - 5x1, working up to a top weight (Only performed on Day 3) Beginners should do 1x5



Hard Work On Basic Exercises
by Bradley J. Steiner- 1971

I happen to believe that Reg Park is the best example and single representative of what proper training with weights can do for a man. He's got everything: huge, almost superhuman muscles, the strength of the most powerful competitive lifter, and the perfect, well-balanced physique that one sees on Greek statues in museums. Whether or not you agree that Park is the Greatest -- if you've seen him, then you've GOT to admit that he's good, to say the very least. OK. so who cares about my opinion anyway, and what in heck does this have to do with how you can get the Herculean build you're after?

The best physiques (and Park's is one of 'em), were all built by hard work on the basic, heavy duty exercises. There are NO exceptions to this statement. Even easy-gainers who (like Park) build up very easily, never get to the Hercules stage without the ultimate in effort. Park worked up to squats with 600 pounds, behind the neck presses with 300 pounds, and bench presses with 500 pounds! Hereditary advantages or not, Park sweated blood to earn the massive excellent physique that he has. And so did every other human Superman whose muscles aren't merely bloated, pumped-up tissue. The problem of WHAT these basic exercisers are, and HOW HARD one must work on them for satisfactory, or even startling results, is one that every bodybuilder, at one time or another during his career, is confronted with. This month we're going to solve the problem.

To begin, let's sift through the thousands of possible exercises, and variations of exercises that confront every barbell man, and set down a principle by which the trainee can determine the BEST among them; those upon which he should be concentrating his best efforts. Here's the principle: An exercise is worthwhile if it allows you to use very heavy weights -- brings into play the BIG muscle groups -- and causes lots of puffing and panting.

From the simple formula stated above, it is quite easy to see that fully eighty or ninety percent of the exercises followed by most barbell trainees do not come up to the standards required for maximum physical development. Concentration curls, Hack squats, lateral raises, thigh extensions, triceps "kickback" movements, etc., all followed slavishly by thousands of misinformed bodybuilders, are a waste of time. My very bitter apologies to the high-pressure ad-men, and the authors of all the super Space-age courses, but their stuff is strictly form hunger. If you've been sucked into following any such routines, drop 'em! In all honesty, fellows, that garbage won't do a thing for you, aside from bringing discouragement and disillusionment. Save your time and money, and put your effort into THESE exercises:
The Squat - Regular, parallel, breathing style, or front style
The Press - Military or behind neck, seated or standing, barbell or heavy dumbbells
Rowing - Bent over, barbell or dumbbells, one or two arm
Power cleans and High pulls
Bench pressing - barbell or heavy dumbbells, Incline or flat bench style
Stiff-legged dead lifting and heavy barbell bendovers





In essence, those are the exercises that you ought to be killing yourself on. We're concerned with the development of SIZE, POWER and SHAPELY BULK, so we've eliminated all supplementary abdominal and calf work. This you can do at your leisure, or you can omit it entirely, with no consequences to your overall development. The stuff we've enumerated above is what you need in order to turn yourself into a Human Hercules. And, lest you believe that this writer has a vested interest in this, let me say that he HAS. I derive personal, private, selfish satisfaction pushing the truth about sensible barbell training, and seeing those guys who are willing to work for their goals, achieving the builds they desire. The muscle heads, the "muscle-spinners," the drug-takers, etc, are no concern of mine. They can go their own way; I'm concerned about the rest of you.

Honest muscles, like honest men, are rare. But they can be attained, and the only way to do it is through HARD, HARD work, and an honest approach to training programs. So if you're willing, you can get the physique you're after; if you train as I have discussed on the Basic Movements.

There are reasons why these basic exercises are best. Let's talk about them.

It isn't generally understood, but the easiest way to build the small muscle groups is by exercise on the big ones! For example, it's impossible to build a broad, powerful back, and thick pectorals, along with terrific shoulders via the heavy cleaning, pressing, rowing and bench work that I advocate, without building enormous arm size and strength. You couldn't do it if you wanted to! Yet, aside from weight-gaining, building big arms is a giant headache for most barbell men. How simple a matter it would become if only they would forget about the ridiculous pumping, cramping and spinning-type isolation exercises, and just train hard on the basics! The big arms would come naturally.

John Grimek once had arms that taped close to 19". They were so big and powerful that they didn't look real! Grimek at the time was an Olympic weight-lifting contender, and he had trained for a long period without doing a single curl or triceps "pumper." His big arms got the way they did from the Heavy Lifting Training. You can do the same by working hard and heavy. And you don't have to enter Olympic competition!

The trapezius and neck muscles are impressive and too often neglected by many weight-trainees. But your traps will grow like crazy if you push your cleans hard, and if you get your presses up to really impressive standards.

Ditto for your neck muscles. The huffing, puffing, and muscular work and exertion caused by ALL heavy work will make your neck muscles grow.

Forearms - "stubborn forearms" will respond like obedient, trained seals to heavy rowing, cleaning and pressing. And just try to keep your grip on a super heavy barbell while doing a set of stiff-leg deadlifts, without forcing the forearm muscles to ache and grow beyond belief!

Heavy squatting will build heavier calves. Sounds impossible? Well, just try working your squats like you're supposed to, and you'll see your calves begin to grow no matter how they've refused to respond to toe raises.

Power cleans are fine for the calf muscles too. Incredible as this statement may sound, it's absolutely true. The coordinated effort of leg and back movement in heavy cleaning DOES work the calves! Try it for a few months and find out for yourself.

Nobody wants to be fat around the middle. Yet, unless you're drastically overweight, you don't need more than one set of one abdominal exercise (done in high reps, with resistance) to keep a rock-hard, muscular mid-section. The hard work on squatting, cleaning, and ALL heavy exercises will inevitably keep you trim and hard. And make no mistake about this: you are far, far better off with a thick, powerful waist than you are with a "wasp-waist pretty body." A man should be BIG. He should be strong and powerful. And he can't be if he tries to blow his biceps up to 20" and keep his waist down to 30". Use your head! If there are any real supermen around who have waistlines below 33" or 34", then they've got 'em only because they're SHORT, and, the small waist is proportionate tot he rest of their husky muscles.

Training on the big exercises builds HEALTH and LASTING muscle size. These two factors are very important. Today, men like John Grimek, Reg Park, Bill Pearl, and another lesser-known Hercules, Maurice HOnes of Canada, all possess builds and physical power comparable to that which they had during their prime. The reason? They built REAL MUSCLE, Sig Klein must be around seventy, yet he's got the build of a twenty-five year old athlete. The reason? He built REAL MUSCLE. The same holds for scores of others in the weight game who got their physical development by hard, hard work with heavy weights on the best exercises.

If you're a young man now, then you're probably more interested in what you can look like on a posing platform, and in how fast you can get piles of muscle - but don't, no matter how great the temptation for an "easy way out" via pumping routines or muscle drugs, follow any system of training except the good, heavy, teeth-gritting type routines that build pure, strong, big muscles. I say this as a sincere warning against charlatans who would rob you of your money and your health - and do it gladly - to sell you on their own private "miracle systems' or methods'. Keep clear of them, and remember, please, that you've got a long life ahead of you after any physique competitions you might enter or win within the next few years. You want health, well-being AND big muscles that will stay with you for the rest of your life. You will only get them if you train HARD and HEAVY!

Here's a sample program that you can follow. It will give you every desirable physical quality. IF you work to your limit on it.
Warm up with one set of twenty prone hyperextensions.
Do two progressively heavier warm up sets in the squat, using five reps in each set. Then load on weight until the bar bends, and do three sets of five reps each with this limit poundage. Push! Fight! Drive! the SQUAT is THE builder of SUPERMEN!
Go to your flat bench and do two warm up sets, as you did for your squats, of five reps each in the bench press. Then do a final 3 sets with all the weight you can properly handle. In this, and in every other exercise in the program, REST WELL BETWEEN SETS!
Now do power cleans, stiff--legged dead lifts, or barbell bendovers. Same sets., same reps and the same forced poundage attempts as in the preceding exercises. Your lower back is a vital body area. Turn it into a SUPER POWER ZONE by intensive back work!
Do heavy, bent-over barbell rowing. Two warm up sets - then three limit sets - five reps in each set you do. Reg Park (I always seem to come back to mentioning him, don't I!) used this exercise along with the power clean in order to build the unbelievable back that he possesses. He considers this bent-over rowing exercise the best single upper back movement a man can do.
Do some form of HEAVY pressing, If you read my stuff then you already know that I practically sneer at any shoulder exercise but the press behind the neck! But of course you can old military barbell presses, dumbbell presses, or any form of heavy seated pressing with excellent results sure to follow - IF YOU WORK HARD. Same set-rep scheme for your pressing as for the other exercises, and a tip: May guys have complained to me that I don't understand (a-hem!) their difficulties when it comes to heavy pressing behind the neck. It seems that the effort of cleaning the bar up and behind their necks before each set tires their poor little bodies out. What to do? Do your presses right off the squat racks! Load the bar up. Get set comfortably under it. Get a good, solid grip on the bar and set your feet firmly. Now go to it. Press the weight right off the racks. Then, after each set, return the bar to the squat racks. Simple? you'll get wonderful results this way - since you'll be saving your energy and concentration exclusively for the pressing action, and all of the work will be thrown directly on your deltoids...so, better and bigger muscles!
End your workout with an abdominal exercise. Do any one that you happen to like. I prefer leg raises off the end of a flat bench, with iron boots on my feet, but it's really only a personal preference, and you can work your midsection with any 'ab" exercise that you happen to like. Just do one set, and run the reps at around twenty or thirty.

The Hard Work 5x5 Routine

Hyperextension Warm-up - 1 x 20
Squat - 5 x 5
Bench press - 5 x 5
Stiff-leg dead lift - 5 x 5
Bent-over rowing - 5 x 5
Standing Press - 5 x 5
Leg raises 1 x 25

Do that routine - or a similar one - as described in this article, and your muscles will bulge through your clothing after a year or so of training!

The watchwords are BASIC EXERCISES and HARD WORK. Remember them when you walk into the gym next time. You'll be grateful for the rest of your life that you did!





Reg Park's 9 Month 5x5 Program

As far as the popularity of beginner's training programs go, five sets of five reps is right up there with 3x10, 10x3, and the ever-lasting 1x20 squat program, which inspired the weight room battle-cry, "Squats and milk!"

A few years ago, Dan John wrote an in-depth explanation of several versions of the 5x5 program. Bill Starr also created a popular 5x5 plan that focused primarily on the power clean, bench press, and back squat.

We're going to take a look at one of the very first 5x5 routines to be published, originally written in 1960 by Reg Park in his manual Strength & Bulk Training for Weight Lifters and Body Builders. The late Reg Park was a three-time Mr. Universe winner and he was one of the first bodybuilders to really push the size envelope by competing at a massive 225 pounds in the 1950s and '60s.

Oh yeah, Park is also the number one bodybuilder that little Arnie from Austria admired, respected, and hoped to someday look like. Upon seeing Park on a magazine cover for the first time, Schwarzenegger has said, "He was so powerful and rugged-looking that I decided right then and there I wanted to be a bodybuilder, another Reg Park."

Reg Park's Three Phase 5x5 Program

Phase One

45-degree back extension 3x10
Back squat 5x5
Bench press 5x5
Deadlift 5x5

Rest 3-5 minutes between the last 3 sets of each exercise.

Train three days per week for three months

Phase Two for Bodybuilders*

45-degree back extension 3-4x10
Front squat 5x5
Back squat 5x5
Bench press 5x5
Standing barbell shoulder press 5x5
High pull 5x5
Deadlift 5x5
Standing barbell calf raise 5x25

Rest 2 minutes between sets.

Train three days per week for three months.

* After the basic Phase One, Park had a different set of recommended exercises for aspiring Olympic weightlifters. It used a few different sets and reps, and included lunges and power cleans.

Phase Three for Bodybuilders

45-degree back extension 4x10
Front squat 5x5
Back squat 5x5
Standing barbell shoulder press 5x5
Bench press 5x5
Bent-over barbell row 5x5
Deadlift 5x3
Behind-the-neck press or one-arm dumbbell press 5x5
Barbell curl 5x5
Lying triceps extension 5x8
Standing barbell calf raise 5x25

Rest 2 minutes between sets.

Train three days per week for three months.

As Park explained it, 5x5 includes two progressively heavier warm-up sets and three sets at the same weight. He suggested increasing weights at approximately the same interval, for example:

Back squat: first set 135x5, second set 185x5, followed by three sets of 225x5.

When you can complete the last 3x5 at a given weight, increase the weight on all five sets 5-10 pounds. Also, he was strongly against training to failure, saying that it encouraged a negative mindset when attempting other heavy, near-maximal lifts.

You are, however, allowed to test for one-rep max at the end of each phase. Park recommends two warm-up sets (1x5 and 1x3), followed by three progressively heavier attempts at a one-rep max. So the max testing day would be: 1x5, 1x3, and 3x1 (for each lift). Take the next four days off from the gym, and then begin the next phase of training.

For the 45-degree back extensions, begin without added weight. Once you can complete all sets, increase your poundage each set while still getting all sets and reps. Park and his training partner often used 135 for the first set, 175 for the second, and 215 for the third, and 235-255 for the fourth.

That's the entire plan, and it's a doozy. Talk about volume training? Mike Mentzer just rolled over in his grave... once. Notice, there really aren't any isolation exercises until the third phase, when you've been training consistently for six months. Only then can you break out some curls for the girls.

As far as recovery goes, Park recommended plenty of sleep and plenty of food. His main sources of nutrition would include whole milk, whole eggs, steak, orange juice, salad, protein powders, wheat germ, and liver tablets. Interestingly, the foods would remain the same when cutting, but the portions would be reduced.

With such a high volume of work, it wasn't uncommon for these workouts to last two to three hours. That's typical of the training in that era, and it's a far cry from the, "get out of the gym in 60 minutes, or you'll sacrifice growth hormone levels!" warnings of today.

Does that make it much worse than programs designed today? Is this absurdly busy training day dangerous, guaranteed to break you emotionally and scare you out of the gym? Not necessarily.

While it might not be ideal, or even fun, to do for the long term, when was the last time you had a juggernaut session and really tried to destroy yourself in the gym? Once in a while, it's okay to break the rules, especially if you have a free Saturday with nothing else to do... and a free Sunday to lie in bed, eat steak, and curse us for daring you to try this plan.





Reg Park's 1951 Mr. Universe Workout

This is the same workout that Reg Park trained with to win the 1951 Mr. Universe title. He won Mr. Universe again in 1958, becoming the first to win the prestigious event twice. Park, who later went on to replace Steve Reeves as Hercules in the mid sixties, gained 25 pounds of muscle on an already solid frame in 10 months with this program.

Reg trained three days a week on this routine. He ate 3-4 meals per day and had a protein drink that was made up of milk, cream and honey, which he drank six times a day. Proof that you don't need to buy expensive supplements.

Grab any photo of Reg Park and you'll see what can be done with hard work and determination. Remember, Park was a pre-steroid bodybuilder, all natural. And to me he looks a lot better and more powerful than the drug induced bodybuilders of today.

The Reg Park Classic 1951 Workout

Squats 5 x 10
Bench Press 5 x 10
Weighted Dips 5 x 12
Barbell Curls 5 x 10
French Presses 5 x 10
Chins 5 x 10
Donkey Raises 5 sets
Abs 5 sets

Notes: There was no rep scheme for his abs and calves, he'd work them until they had enough. Park, like all the old timers, lifted heavy weights and didn't use many isolation exercises in his routine. If you decide to follow this program and feel wiped out on three days a week, knock it down to two. Park had exceptional genetics and recovery ability that most don't have.

Understand that to be successful in any weight training program - hard work is a must! Half-hearted effort does nothing for you. If you're new to weight training or grossly out of shape, consult a physician first and get on a beginners program. End of disclaimer.

Brian Carson is a writer and workout enthusiast who write and edits the Workout Routine blog, the site devoted to workout routines by bodybuilders, powerlifters, strength trainers and strongmen from the past to the present.




Reg Park Muscle Magazine

Check it out, here's 2 actual articles that Arnie read as a teenager in Austria in their original format! Includes more old school Reg Park muscle programs, illustrations and explanations of the big muscle movements, and diet advice that Arnold actually followed as a teen!

the original Reg Park Muscle Magazine


Reg Park - A Hercules for Our Time
An Interview by Osmo Kiiha

Reg Park - A Hercules for Our Time
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Old 04-29-2011, 01:06 PM
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Great post! This is a very effective routine. I followed this routine when I was in high school. At the time I had no idea who Reg Park was. Russ Hodge, who did the decathlon in the olympics back in the day, set me up with this very routine. I got great results with it. I have lifted on and off since then and I have tried countless routines from HST, HIT, GVT, high volume, ect. I have used many different rep/set combinations with varying rest periods but I have ended up coming back to 5x5. I dont know why I ever stopped using it. Everyone is different but this routine is what by body responds best to. Hard work, heavy weight with compound movements, and dedication will never let you down.
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Old 05-11-2011, 06:10 PM
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yup...I love the 5x5 ....Wes(Iron Addict) had me on it and I grew the most
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Old 05-11-2011, 06:35 PM
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good read! 2 true bodybuilding heroes
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Old 05-11-2011, 06:56 PM
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great great post! TY
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Old 05-11-2011, 10:30 PM
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Reg Park stats
Whereas Steve Reeves was known for his classic symmetry, Reg Park was the example of strength, size and power. Reg Appeared on more magazine covers than any bodybuilder in history.

Over the course of his career he won the following titles:


•1949 - Mr. Britain - (Health and Strength League)


•1950 - Best Developed Athlete in America - (IFBB)


•1950 - Mr. Europe


•1951 - Mr. Universe - (NABBA)


•1958 - Mr. Universe - (NABBA)


•1965 - Mr. Universe - (NABBA)
Reg Park
He narrowly missed becoming the only bodybuilder we know of to win a contest in four decades, with two second-place finishes in the 1970 and 1973 Mr. Universe contests.

Reg Park was as strong as he looked, here's his best lifts (all performed in the 1950's):
- Behind the Neck Press - 300 Lbs. For one rep.
- Behind the Neck Press - 260 Lbs. For four reps.
- Behind the Neck Press - 240 Lbs. For eight reps.
- One Arm Dumbbell Press - 165 Lbs. For two reps.
- Front Squat - 405 for a single.
- Lying Triceps Extension - 300 Lbs. For three reps. This was done at Muscle Beach in 1957.
- Standing Dumbbell Press - Two 120 Lb. Dumbbells for five reps.
- Standing Dumbbell Press - Two 140 Lb. Dumbbells for one rep.
- Dumbbell Bench Press - Two 185 Lb. Dumbbells for five reps.
- Squat - 605 for two reps at Buster McShane and Ivan Dunbar's Gym in Belfast.
- Strict Barbell Curl - 200 Lbs. For one rep.
- Incline Dumbbell Press - Two 185 Lb. Dumbbells for five reps.

Reg also played Hercules in several movies and once owned the Thomas Inch Dumbbell.
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Old 05-11-2011, 11:03 PM
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How I Trained for the 1958 Mr Universe by Reg Park

Here is just one of the actual articles that Arnie read as a teenager in Austria in it's original format! Includes more old school Reg Park muscle programs, illustrations and explanations of the big muscle movements, and diet advice that Arnold actually followed as a teen!
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Old 05-11-2011, 11:06 PM
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Reg Park - A Hercules for Our Time

Reg Park was one of the greatest bodybuilders Britain ever produced. Until Reg appeared on the scene, as far as international standards were concerned, the British were "also rans." Reg was the first British bodybuilder to compare with, compete with, and finally surpass the long time American champions.

Reg Park won the NABBA Mr. Universe title three times in 1951, 1958 and 1965 - an outstanding achievement for anyone. No one could rival Park in the early 60's. He developed muscle size not seen before him, with sharp definition and muscularity. With the Park physique, we entered a new era, moving from bulk alone to a realization of what refined development could really look like.

He established training instructional courses and became a leading figure in British and world bodybuilding long before he moved onto the silver screen.

A shrewd businessman, Reg used his earnings to firmly establish himself in South Africa with a chain of gyms that have had a profound effect in producing some of the most superlative physiques in that part of the world.

It is not saying too much to acknowledge that Reg brought physical development to a new high by his work.

Today, Reg is retired from the gym business, having sold all of his health clubs. Reg still does one on one training in South Africa. I caught up with Reg in Santa Monica when he was visiting with his son Jon-Jon and his family for Christmas. What follows is an interview with one of the true gentlemen of the sport, Reg Park. I hope you enjoy it...

IM: Tell us about your personal background.

Reg: I was born June 17, 1928 in Leeds, England and currently reside in South Africa. I have a wife, two children and five grandchildren.

IM: I read that you were quite a sprinter in your younger days and also played soccer.

Reg: I competed in various amateur track events around Leeds and achieved a fair amount of success as a sprinter. When I was sixteen, I turned a 10.3 second time on the 100 yard dash. I also had a long jump of 21' 10" and competed in the discus throw. I loved soccer. BY the time I was fifteen, I was playing soccer for my school each Saturday morning and also played Leeds United Reserve Team in the evening.

IM: How did you get interested in weight training?

Reg: During one of our soccer games, I really wrenched my knee, which required a trip to the hospital. It also ended my aspirations of becoming a professional soccer start. At the hospital they rehabilitated my knee with weights. In those days, England had not discovered the leg extension machine, so they strapped an iron boot to my foot and I did extensions with my leg in an ever increasing number of repetitions. The whole thing was strictly therapy. Shortly after my release from the hospital, I started reading "Health & Strength." I never missed an issue of H & S, but it never occurred to me to try my hand at bodybuilding. At the time, I was much more interested in gymnastics. I was able to do one hundred pushups easily in those days. One day, I was thumbing through a new issue of H & S, when suddenly I had to stop. It was a picture of an American bodybuilder; a fellow named Vic Nicolette, who had just won the title of Mr. New York City.

Vic was standing in a sort of semi-lat spread pose. The picture took me by surprise. All at once I knew this was how I wanted to look. In those days, American bodybuilders were light years ahead of anything Britain had to offer. I decided I would emulate Vic Nicolette.

IM: Who else inspired you?

Reg: Grimek and Reeves both served to inspire me. Grimek for his mass, athletic ability and integrity; and Reeves for obvious handsome physical shape.

IM: Did any one person in particular start you out in weight training?

Reg: In 1946, while visiting a swimming pool in Leeds, I was struck by the impressive physique of Dave Cohen. He was a bodybuilder of considerable reputation and one of the world's best developed men. In those days, Dave had 17 inch arms, a 17 inch neck and 17 inch calves to boot. I walked over and spoke to him. We immediately became fast friends and it is Dave that I give full credit for my start in weight training.

IM: Where did your first training session take place?

Reg: Dave Cohen's training partner's mother had allowed the guys to set up a small gym in her front room. It comprised a bare room with a wooden floor on which stood a standard barbell and a pair of dumbells - no other equipment.

The first workout consisted of standing barbell presses, barbell curls, squats and pullovers and presses on the floor. We did three sets of each exercise with a rep scheme of 10-8-6. I remember pressing and curling with 40 pounds. It was not a great start, but at least it was a beginning.

IM: How long did you workout with Dave Cohen?

Reg: I was only able to train three months with Dave. I was called to serve my country in the Army National service for two years, most of it in Singapore. I had no weights, but I compensated with freestanding exercises.

I was a physical training instructor, which meant I was doing exercises with different classes from nine o' clock in the morning to five in the evening.

IM: What events brought you back to the bodybuilding scene?

Reg: During my national service, I kept up with the weight game by reading Weider mags "Your Physique" and "Muscle Power", thanks to the generosity of my friends back in Leeds, but it was the news that the 1948 Mr. Universe contest was to be staged in London at the time of the Olympic Games that got the old juices flowing.

IM: Did you make it to the Mr. Universe contest?

Reg: Not only did I make the contest, but it was there that I decided to make my fortune in bodybuilding and even told my friend that some day I would myself win the Mr. Universe contest even though I had only three months training behind me.

IM: Speaking of the '48 Mr. Universe, did you agree with the decision?

Reg: I was not totally satisfied with the way the contest turned out. John Grimek won the 1948 Mr. Universe, but in my book, Steve Reeves should have beaten him. When it came down to sheer physical beauty - which was what I thought the Mr. Universe contest was about - Reeves was way ahead of Grimek.

Grimek's posing routine won it for him. John started off with acrobatics and presses from the floor into handstands, that and his muscle control, well, the roof almost caved in from applause he received. But there you are, that is what mass hysteria can do at a muscle contest. Of course, I thought I was the better man in 1950, when Reeves beat me at the 1950 Mr. Universe in London, but that is another story...

IM: Reg, everyone I speak to is impressed with your culture and evident higher education. Just what formal schooling have you had?

Reg: I completed the usual grad school courses and then took two years of specialized study at the Leeds College of Commerce in Business Administration.

IM: How did you juggle going to school full time and training?

Reg: It was difficult at times. I went to school during the day and trained at night. My early training was done in my parent's back yard. I set up two poles in the ground with a bar across the top for chinning exercises. I had acquired a barbell and a pair of dumbbells and a flat wooden bench that I built according to the specs obtained from a muscle mag. Also, I set up a pulley machine that extended from my bedroom to the yard. Talk about cold, the temperatures dipped below zero in the winter. I took to training in three thick sweatshirts. Later, we were able to move to a more prestigious location - a three walled garage that had a tin roof and concrete floor, but no electricity. It was just as cold.

IM: When did you enter your first contest?

Reg: My first contest was the Mr. Northeast Britain, in March of 1949, which I easily won securing an invitation to the Mr. Britain contest. In the process, I defeated the 1948 Mr. Britain, Charlie Jarrett.

IM: When did you receive your invitation to the Mr. Britain contest?

Reg: The invitation came one month prior to the contest, in September 1949.

The contest was to be held October 28, 1949. Actually, it came at a bad time; I was in the process of completing my final business administration exams. After I successfully completed all my exams, less than a month was remaining to the Mr. Britain contest.

IM: Were you still training in the garage at that time?

Reg: No, I had joined Henry Atkin's Viking Gym for the express purpose of training for the Mr. Britain contest. With Henry's help, I was able to increase my bodyweight from 196 lbs. to 226 lbs. in a month. For the first time in my life, I trained twice a day, six times a week. In the morning, I trained the lower body with high repetition squats, hack lifts, calf exercises and sometimes heavy bench presses. In the evening, I worked the upper body. All the squat sets were done in 20 reps with very deep breathing. The upper body work consisted of heavy standing presses, curls, bench presses, both barbell and dumbbell rows at anywhere from 6 to 10 reps per set. At this time, I did no other activity and rested whenever I was away from the weights.

IM: How well was Henry Atkin's Gym stocked with equipment?

Reg: Henry had all the latest equipment of the day: pulley machines, incline benches, round yoga benches and tons of weight. The Viking Gym was equipped just like an American gym from the later 1940's. By the way, the Viking Olympic Barbell was used at the 1948 Olympic Games for Olympic lifting. It was designed personally by Henry Atkin.

IM: Did all of this extensive training pay off?

Reg: Yes, I became Mr. Britain for 1949. Paul Newington came in 2nd and John Lees, who in 1957 won the Mr. Universe contest, took third. Another interesting thing happened at the contest. John Grimek, who was flown from the USA to judge the contest, was asked to compare me with John Lees who weighed 200 pounds at 6' 2, Grimek noted, "Lee is a very big boy." And Park? "He's a very big man!" This statement pleased me a great deal. * [* Ed Note: Grimek thought Park had the most "Americanized" physique of all the contestants.]

IM: How about your parents? Did they encourage you in your training?

Reg: Had I been given the opportunity of selecting my parents, under no circumstances could I have done a better job than destiny. I am an only child and my mother and father have always, at all times, encouraged me to participate in athletic pastimes, undoubtedly a contribution in no small way to the winning of many trophies. My pal, the late Rueben Martin said that my mother spent all her time around Leeds scrounging food for her son and that my father chased around the country making sufficient money to pay for it. In all seriousness, my mother is a marvelous cook and has always fed me with the best food obtainable. My father was a very capable fixer and had the type of personality that makes friends. Whenever I wanted anything done I only had to say, and my father fixed it. A good example of that was when I said that I would like to live at the Viking Club for a month prior to the Mr. Britain contest. The next day he was in London arranging it with Henry Atkin.

IM: Did you receive any publicity for winning the Mr. Britain in any of the mainstream mags?

Reg: In those days, it was hard to get good publicity for weight training or for bodybuilders. I broke new ground by having a life size double spread of my arms flexed in the "respectable" Picture Port magazine.

IM: What kind of strength feats were you capable of in 1949?

Reg: I regularly benched around 325 and was capable of a correct curl with 175 pounds. In 1949, I met Reub Martin (for the first time) who was touring England in those days with Folies Bergere. It was Reub's dressing room that I first cleaned and pressed a pair of 100 pound dumbbells - a feat of which I was very proud.

IM: After winning the Mr. Britain contest, did you travel to the United States?

Reg: Yes, it was a gift from my parents for wining the Mr. Britain title. I had a great time in New York and trained at the old John Terlazzo gym with some of the greatest American bodybuilders as my training partners. My first American appearance was at the John Terlazzo show, Jan 27, 1950, at the St. Nicholas Arena, New York. I traveled extensively and although I lost a little weight on the trip, I did learn from the Americans, which was the main reason for my visit. I trained exceptionally hard while in America. I lived for bodybuilding in those days.

IM: On June 24, 1959, the NABBA Mr. Universe takes place in London at the Scala Theater. How did you fare?

Reg: I came in second to Steve Reeves and Juan Ferraro from France placed third. I felt I should've won the contest, not matter, I didn't win. Reeves won by a vote of four to two over me. I did win the Mr. Europe contest, which was held in conjunction with the Mr. Universe contest. I weighed only 215 as opposed to 225 for Reeves. I was much more muscular than Reeves and had good overall size. Apparently, the ten extra pounds Steve had over me made him look much heavier and larger to the judges.

IM: Did you return to the USA afterwards?

Reg: Yes, after the Mr. Universe contest, I traveled back to the states and entered the widely publicized "America's Best Developed Athlete" event, September 8, 1950, at the New York St. Nicholas Arena. I won the contest with Floyd Page placing second and Alan Stephan taking third. Also competing were Ed Thereault and Alan Paivio. Suddenly, I was making headlines all over the bodybuilding world press.

IM: How did you train during this time?

Reg: I devised a training system that would not tax my endurance too heavily. I began training on a system of five sets of reps for each exercise. I remember that I concentrated on presses behind the neck, bench presses, barbell presses and two arm dumbbell presses. My workouts lasted about an hour and thirty minutes, afterwhich I felt completely depleted. I tried increasing the poundages whenever possible. My clean and dumbbell press had increased to 110. I found I enjoyed this system and it paid off. I trained five days was week, working the same bodyparts each session.

IM: Who were some of the stronger bodybuilders you trained with?

Reg: Marvin Eder would have to be at the top of the list, at Abe Goldberg's gym in New York. We would sometimes work up to 450 lb. Bent over rows and seated dumbbell curls with a pair of 100 pounders. Clancy Ross was another man of immense power, who did inclines with 160 lb. Dumbbells. Floyd Page was no slouch in the strength department, either.

IM: Did you enter the Mr. World contest in Paris, France (October 15, 1950)?

Reg: I was barred from competing in the Mr. World because I had won the IFBB "America's Best Developed Athlete" in New York City. The IWF said the contest was a professional event because of the $500.00 offered in prize money. Anyway, I never received any of the money. John Farbotnik won the Mr. World contest.

IM: How did you prepare for the 1951 Mr. Universe contest?

Reg: Prior to the Mr. Universe contest in 1951, I worked out three hours every day. Legs one day and upper body the next day. I worked out fast and furiously - they were murderous workouts. I ate anything I fancied including one dozen eggs and eight pints of milk daily. Most of the contest preparations were done in South Africa and I returned home to England just one month prior to the contest to put on the finishing touches.

IM: You easily won the 1951 Mr. Universe contest (Sept. 1, 1951) in London.

You were the first Englishman to do so. Any comments?

Reg: I was clearly more massive and muscular in 1951 [than the year before] and won with no trouble whatsoever. With less than two years training, I had achieved the top of the bodybuilder ladder. By the way, Joe Weider placed 5th in class I out of twelve competitors. Since I had no more physique titles to strive for, I turned my attention to brute strength.

IM: When did you meet Ben Weider?

Reg: Ben Weider showed up at my parent's house in 1951 with a Weider contract.

IM: Did you go into business with the Weiders?

Reg: We established the Reg Park Equipment Co. and the Mr. Universe publishing company in England. My father was the business director of the company. [Ed. Note - The Mr. Universe magazine was published by Joe Weider with Reg Park as managing editor in Leeds, England. The first issue was published in March 1952 and the last issue in December 1952. There were eight issues in the collection.] My father and Joe Weider didn't see eye to eye in business matters, so the partnership was dissolved. I personally always liked Joe; he was a true bodybuilding enthusiast.

IM: How did the business fare?

Reg: We started a new magazine called "The Reg Park Journal of Physical Culture" in January of 1953; then in January 1954, "The Reg Park Journal." The last issue was December 1959. Also, during this time, we published a magazine called "Muscleman." [Ed Note - "Muscleman" was published from Sept. 1952 to Dec. 1953. Three were 16 issues in all.] "The Reg Park Journal" had over 60,000 readers in the 1950's. During the next decade, I spent most of my time working extremely hard running the business. We sold everything from barbell to food supplements and everything in between. I also flew all over the world at the invitation of many countries giving posing exhibitions in all corners of the globe. Almost weekly, I traveled all over England giving strength and posing exhibitions.

IM: When did you get married?

Reg: I fell in love with a beautiful South African girl, Mareon, and we were married 10/22/52 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Mareon is the sister of bodybuilder and film technician Johnny Isaacs, who almost took the Mr. Universe title in 1953.

IM: What about children?

Reg: My daughter, Jeunesse, was born in 1954 and today lives in South Africa with her three children. My son, Jon-Jon, was born in 1957. He lives in Santa Monica with his wife and two children. By the way, Jon-Jon owns the World Private exercise gym in Los Angeles. He can be contacted at (310) 478-1233.

IM: Earlier, you stated that you turned toward power type training after the 1951 Mr. Universe...

Reg: I always trained for power and size during my early competitive career. About the only time I did a pure bodybuilding program was for the May 11, 1957 Mr. USA contest where I guest posed. I believe that I was in my finest condition ever for that contest. I also bench pressed 445 during the show.

I hadn't done any benches for months prior to the USA.

IM: What type of diet did you follow?

Reg: I liked to eat like a king, but only food that was good for me. I ate prodigious amounts of food during the day, but adhered to a very balanced diet with everything in proper proportions. My favorite food is steak, which I sometimes eat twice a day. I also like salads, orange juice and wine. I have a wine cellar in my home. I also have used protein supplements and take vitamin and mineral tablets. [3. Earle Liederman once wrote in "Iron Man" about the gastronomical indulgences of bodybuilding starts, "Reg Park of England wins a good second to Mac Batchelor with his speed. Once, when dining with Reg, he gargled three large plates of vegetable soup, then gulped chucks from his extra large and thick steak without his teeth sinking into the meat once, apparently, next stuffed many side dishes of vegetables into his ever open mouth and these include an extra large pair of baked potatoes, a huge bowl of salad, three glasses of milk and the last, the piece de resistance, a big dish of ice cream with cake. And all this, mind you, in about ten minutes. Gee! I've seen hungry bloodhounds gobble down food, but Reg Park wins a can of fried grasshoppers as second place for amount, and first place for speed."]

IM: When did you make most of your records and what were they?

Reg: All of my top lifts were made in the 1950's as follows:
- Behind the Neck Press - 300 Lbs. For one rep.
- Behind the Neck Press - 260 Lbs. For four reps.
- Behind the Neck Press - 240 Lbs. For eight reps.
- One Arm Dumbbell Press - 165 Lbs. For two reps.
- Front Squat - 405 for a single.
- Lying Triceps Extension - 300 Lbs. For three reps. This was done at Muscle Beach in 1957.
- Standing Dumbbell Press - Two 120 Lb. Dumbbells for five reps.
- Standing Dumbbell Press - Two 140 Lb. Dumbbells for one rep.
- Dumbbell Bench Press - Two 185 Lb. Dumbbells for five reps.
- Squat - 605 for two reps at Buster McShane and Ivan Dunbar's Gym in Belfast.
- Strict Barbell Curl - 200 Lbs. For one rep.
- Incline Dumbbell Press - Two 185 Lb. Dumbbells for five reps.

I also bench pressed 500 Lbs., April 23, 1954, at around 225 bodyweight at a Health and Strength show in Bristol. I was the first in the UK and second in the world to bench over five hundred. [6. Ed Note - Doug Hepburn was the first person in the world to bench 500 pounds on May 28, 1953 at around 285 bodyweight.] I never cleaned my heavy barbell presses; they were taken off a squat stand. My only regret is that I never attempted a pair of 200 pound dumbbells in the incline or flat bench press. I believe I could have easily done both feats, since I was doing reps with 185. Also, when I made the 258 dumbbell press - A British Professional Heavyweight Record - I had to keep a strict military position, not the looser Olympic style, and I was forced to hold the dumbbells at my shoulders for almost half a minute before I pressed them to satisfy the referee's demand for a low enough position. The lift was made August 29, 1953, which beat the old record of 235 which was also held by me.

IM: At the Viking Club (10/26/49), I understand that you also tried to repeat Thomas Inch's three feats of strength.

Reg: I tried lifting Inch's "Challenge Dumbbell" (172 lbs. With a 2.47" diameter handle). It was impossible to move off the ground. In my mind, it is impossible to lift by anyone. [7. The Inch Dumbbell today is owned by David Prowse and is on display at his gym.] I made mince meat of his cable expanders. They were very easy. I was unable to close his grip machine, which supposedly took 580 pounds of force to close. I did; however, register 525 pounds on it, which was fairly close to Inch's record of 556 pounds; this was the second best attempt done to that time.

IM: How about a sample routine from the 1950s?

Reg: I didn't have a favorite workout routine. I have done every routine and every exercise in the book, but like most advanced trainers, I have found what exercises and what routines give me the best results. What is good for one man isn't necessarily good for somebody else. My bodyweight fluctuated between 230 and 245 during those years. Here is a routine I used around 1956-1957 with good results:

Deltoids and Upper Back
- Press Behind Neck 4-10 Sets, 5 Reps.
- Heavy Bent arm Lateral Raises 5-10 Sets, 10 Reps

Chest
- Bench Press 5-10 Sets, 2 Reps (That's Right 2 Reps!)

Thighs
- Squat 5 Sets, 5 Reps (of all exercises, this one was my favorite.)
- Hack Lift 5 Sets, 5 Reps

Biceps
- Barbell Curl 5 Sets, 5-8 Reps
- Incline Dumbbell Curls 5 Sets, 5-8 Reps

Triceps
- French Press - I did these standing and lying on the bench.

Calves
- Calf Machine 25 Reps, Many Sets.
- Donkey Calf Raises 25 Reps, Many Sets

Back
- High Pullups 5-8 Sets, 3 Reps.
- Power Clean 5-8 Sets, 3 Reps.
- Chins Behind Neck 5-8 Sets, 5-8 Reps (weights tied to waist.)

Waist and Trunk Area
- Leg Raises and Side Bends 100 or more Reps.

I alternated upper and lower body exercises on different days. I worked each muscle group for approximately one half hour. I also practiced forces breathing between sets. I also feel that one must have the right mental attitude when working out. You must drive yourself hard all of the time. Don't fool around, keep talk to a minimum, maybe a joke or wisecrack to ease the tension. Relax completely between exercises and concentrate only on the weight when exercising. Have one or two training partners to assist you, if possible. I also disliked working out in front of mirrors.

By Osmo Kiiha "The Iron Master"
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Old 05-11-2011, 11:47 PM
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The Reg Park Way To Serious Size And Strength

"Training is like life, you get your ups and downs, but if you think about your problems hard enough and logically enough, you'll either solve them or reach a compromise."
— Reg Park



If your goal is to develop a powerful physique that is every bit as strong as it looks, you can't do much better than to follow the example of three time Mr. Universe, Reg Park. Arnold Schwarzenegger often refers to Reg Park as his childhood idol and the greatest inspiration and influence on his own bodybuilding and life successes.
In this article we'll take a closer look at Reg's training philosophy and cover his very popular and highly effective 5x5 program as well. Even if you don't care about getting bigger, if you want to develop a lean and strong physique, Reg is the man to emulate.

Rule #1: If you want to get bigger, then get
stronger

Many people training today separate hypertrophy training from strength training. They think that when focusing on getting bigger, one should focus on the muscle not how much weight one is using. This explains why today's bodybuilders are nowhere near as strong as the old school bodybuilders like Reg Park.
Reg didn't separate strength training from bodybuilding. He believed that in order to get bigger, you must get
stronger. Heavy weight training equals more recruited muscle fibers, which equals more
muscular growth. The only difference, says Reg, is that the pure strength trainer shouldn't increase caloric intake to avoid putting on size, while the bodybuilder should ramp up high quality nutrition in order to pack on more size.

Rule #2: Focus on compound movements
Reg believed in spending time on exercises that produce the maximum return. The cornerstone of his training was a healthy diet of squats, deadlifts, and bench presses, which he called the
primary strength exercises. Secondary or supplementary exercises were cleans, high pulls, and clean and presses.

Personally, I'd replace the bench press with the standing military press, and throw in some pull-ups or bent over rows to balance the upper body. Regardless, Reg knew what he was doing, and had the results to back it up. Most trainees won't go wrong with a focus on the three primary lifts. Once you get your bench up to 300 pounds, and your squat and deadlift up to 400 pounds, you'll notice a big difference in how your physique looks.

The result of a healthy diet of squats, deadlifts, and bench presses.

If you don't want to get bigger, just keep your calories in check. For most trainees, worrying about getting too big is like worrying about making too much money. There are better problems to focus your attention on. Build a strong foundation on the three primary exercises, then add some supplementary exercises to round out your program and keep progress coming.

Rule #3 Don't let your lower back hold you back
If you've ever had a lower back injury, you know how important the lower back is to overall strength and power. We generate a lot of power from our backs and just because we can't see it in the mirror doesn't mean that it's not important.

Many trainees avoid doing any direct lower back work, because they don't want to strain their back. Then, ironically, they get lower back pains. The bottom line is if you have a weak back, you have a weak body. To avoid lower back pain and to build a strong and powerful physique, Reg believed that all training should include prone hyperextensions to keep the lower back strong and healthy.
Most gyms have hyperextension equipment, and if you're lucky your gym has Louie Simmons' reverse hyper machine. Start with a couple sets of ten with your bodyweight and then start adding weight. Progress slowly and carefully. You're not trying to set a PR on the hyperextension by seeing how much weight you can use for one rep, you're using it as a preventive measure to avoid lower back injuries and keep your back strong and healthy.
After a few weeks of lower back work, don't be surprised if you notice a strength increase on overhead presses, deadlifts, and squats. Especially if you haven't done any direct lower back before.

Rule 4: Confidence is critical for increased size and strength
According to Reg, an effective training program focuses on increasing confidence. You should feel strong, empowered, and ready to take on the world after each workout. If you feel weak and defeated, then you're doing something wrong.

Imagine having a job in which you progressively work harder each month to make the same amount of money. Most people would find this absurd, and change jobs. Working smart means making
more money for the same amount of effort, or better yet, working less and making more.
Training is no different. Rather than going overboard and burning out, focus on the minimum training dose that'll produce the maximum result. You can always add more if necessary.

Reg also believed that training to failure too often is a big mistake. If you train to failure too often, and miss a lot of lifts, your confidence will plummet, and so will your strength and size. Gradual progression is the way to go rather than having the illusion that strength and size will come in leaps and bounds. Have a long-term approach and enjoy the process.

Rule 5: You must know yourself to get the most out of training
Reg was a big believer in self-analysis. You must take the time to find out who you are, and what you're capable of. He stated that if you worry a lot, then you'll find great benefit from training, as it'll help remove stress, and help you get a better handle on your life. You learn a lot about yourself through training that can help you in other areas of your life.

Trainees who make the mistake of compartmentalizing their training lives from the rest of their lives miss out on these lessons. We learn the power of discipline, perseverance, patience, and hard work from training. Carry over these skills into your business or job, and you'll benefit tremendously.
If you're strong in the gym but weak in your personal and professional life, then you're weak overall. Carry over what you've learned from effective training to other areas of your life and you'll experience the full benefits of training.

Rule 6: Layoffs and restoration are critical
We live in a workaholic society, in which we think that more is better across the board. We feel it's critical to work longer hours to get ahead and make more money, thinking that we will be much happier only to want more after we make more.

Many serious trainees take this workaholic mentality into the training realm, not only training far too often, but also not recovering enough. The idea of taking an entire
week off would be unthinkable to them. Regardless, training must be balanced with adequate recovery.

Reg believed that layoffs are important to build up reserves, and to allow the body to rest. Moreover, when you take some time away from training you can't wait to get back at it and have a renewed enthusiasm to push forward. Just as it is beneficial to take time off from work and enjoy a vacation it is critical to take a training vacation periodically.

When you take a layoff, don't even
think about training. Immerse yourself in other activities and enjoy the time away from working out. Don't read training books and magazines all day and analyze your workouts. A mental break is just as important as a physical break.

Get a relaxation massage at the beginning of your layoff. Many trainees always ask for a deep tissue massage no matter what, but this generic approach isn't the way to go. Find a high quality bodyworker who can give you a personalized massage based on the state you're in. He or she will know what you need.

Rule 7: Start reaping the benefits of the 5x5 program
Most people think they know all about the 5x5 program, Reg's favorite strategy for packing on strength and size. Just pick a weight and use it for five sets. When you can do five reps on all five sets, add weight. Don't increase the weight until you can do five reps for all five sets. This allows for a gradual progression and an avoidance of burning out. Simple, right? Yes, but this isn't the 5x5 version that Reg used and recommended.
In Reg's 5x5 program, the first two sets are warm-ups, and the last three are the primary work sets. For example, if you're using 200 pounds for the primary sets on the military press, it would look like this: 160 x 5, 180 x 5, 200 x 3 x 5. When you can use 200 pounds for the last three sets of five, increase the poundage by five pounds on all five sets to take it to 165 x 5, 185 x 5, 205 x 3x5. Reg referred to the three primary sets as the stabilizer sets.

When you can do a given weight for three sets of five, you've locked that weight in, and are ready to move up. You can start with lighter weights for the first two warm-up sets, but make sure the poundage jumps from the first to the second set and from the second to the third set are the same. The first two sets are confidence-builders. Thus, if you feel tired on the first confidence-building sets, do one or two more to build up reassurance to attack the three primary sets.
Unlike many of today's bodybuilders that take very short breaks in between each set, Reg recommended 3-5 minute breaks to recover fully from each set. Also, focus on using as much weight as possible for each set, to acquire the greatest return on your effort.


Reg Park-Inspired 5x5 Programs
Option 1: (Two sessions per week, for busy people or trainees with poor recovery)

Monday
Hyperextensions 3x10 (one minute breaks)

A1) Standing barbell military press 5x5
A2) Barbell bent-over row 5x5

Take two-minute breaks in between each set of A1 and A2. Go back and forth until all of the sets have been completed.

Barbell squat 5x5 (three minute breaks in between each set)

Thursday
Hyperextensions 3x10 (one minute breaks)

A1) Weighted dip 5x5
A2) Weighted pull-up 5x5

Take two-minute breaks in between each set of A1 and A2. Go back and forth until all of the sets have been completed.

Barbell deadlift 5x5 (three minute breaks in between each set)


Option 2:
(three sessions per week, for trainees who have more time and adequate recovery)

Monday
Hyperextensions 3x10 (one minute breaks)

A1) Standing barbell military press 5x5
A2) Barbell bent-over row 5x5

Take two-minute breaks in between each set of A1 and A2. Go back and forth until all of the sets have been completed.

Barbell squat 5x5 (three minute breaks in between each set)


Wednesday
Hyperextensions 3x10 (one minute breaks)

A1) Weighted dip 5x5
A2) Weighted pull-up 5x5

Take two-minute breaks in between each set of A1 and A2. Repeat until all of the sets have been completed.

Barbell deadlift 5x5 (three minute breaks in between each set)


Friday
Hyperextensions 3x10 (one minute breaks)

A1) Incline barbell press 5x5
A2) Dumbbell renegade row 5x5

Take two-minute breaks in between each set of A1 and A2. Repeat until all of the sets have been completed.

Barbell squat 5x5 (three minute breaks in between each set)


Option 3:
(3x per week for advanced trainees who have great recovery abilities)


Monday
Hyperextensions 3x10 (one minute breaks)
Barbell military press 5x5
Weighted pull-ups 5x5
Barbell squat 5x5
Romanian deadlift 5x5
Barbell curl 2x5
Close-grip bench press 2x5
Calf raise 3x12

Wednesday
Hyperextensions 3x10 (one minute breaks)

Bench press 5x5
Barbell bent-over row 5x5
Power clean 5x3
Barbell deadlift 5x5
Dumbbell curl 2x5
Weighted dip 2x5
Calf Raise 3x12


Friday
Hyperextensions 3x10 (one minute breaks)

Dumbbell clean and press 5x5
Weighted pull-up 5x5
Barbell squat 5x5
Dumbbell lunge 5x5
Barbell curl 2x5
Close-grip bench press 2x5
Calf raise 3x12
Take one-minute breaks in between each exercise and three-minute breaks in between each set.


author Mike Mahler is a strength coach and fitness



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discount code for 30% OFF entire store WORLD30





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Remember... Any advice given on this board is just an opinion and not to be taken as medical advice. WCBB doesn't advocate or condone use of steroids. Check the laws in your country. WCBB just provides the platform in which to discuss such matters
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Old 05-12-2011, 03:57 PM
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arnolds book education of a bobybuilder is great

going back in time i wish i'd followed this type of routine, my problem i can't sit for 3-5 minutes
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