Old School Strength

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I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I watched movies like Commando, Terminator, Predator, or Conan the Barbarian growing up.

You had explosions, guns, sword fights, time travel, and a litany of other factors – cheesy dialogue, aliens, epic handshakes, and did I mention explosions? –  which could easily hold the attention of any 13 year old kid for two hours.

The common denominator in all those film, of course, was the one and only Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Ask any guy my age what “inspired” him to start working out in the first place and you’re bound to hear something along the lines of “Arnold’s biceps.” You could argue that no one person in the history of the world inspired a generation of pimply faced, rail thin, “girly men” to pick up a barbell more so than Arnold.

But lets not forget the other golden era bodybuilders like Franco Columbo, Dave Draper, Lou Ferrigno, Frank Zane, and Sergio Olivia (to name a few), who were equally as responsible.

These guys are referenced endlessly in the realm of bodybuilding for their unparalleled aesthetics, especially with regards to the balance they were able to establish between muscularity AND symmetry.

Books have been written, DVDs have been made, and countless websites have been created to highlight their training and how they were able to build those Adonis-like physiques.

One aspect or detail that’s often glossed over is the notion that these guys – for all intents and purposes – were strong as oxen (<— look at me using proper grammar!!).

For as much as we dissect their training – What was their ideal training split?, How often did they do drop sets?, Did they like to train to failure consistently? Which was better: training biceps with back or on shoulder day? Favorite color?  – we forget that almost all of them went out of their way to build a foundation of STRENGTH before they ever thought about competing in bodybuilding, let along step foot on stage.

As I note in my latest article on BodyBuilding.com, many of these guys had a history of competing in powerlifting, Olympic lifting (or both!), before they ever became well-known in their respective body-building careers.

Furthermore, where I feel many newbie and intermediate lifters miss the mark is not recognizing how important strength is when it comes to building an impressive physique. What’s the point in having an “arms day” if you can’t even perform a chin-up?

For more insight on the topic and more of my thoughts, you can go HERE.

Click on the link.  Do it. DO IT!!! I’ll be your BFF.

NOTE:  Of interest is the comments section in the article.  Not surprisingly the “steroid police” took over completely missing the point of the entire article.  Sigh……..

NOTE #2:  I realize that one of my comments in the article regarding chin-ups should be clarified.  Obviously this is an exercise that favors the lighter guys, and it’s going to be challenging for anyone who weighs over 200+ lbs to crank out ten straight reps.

That said, the main point is this:  if you’re a newbie, and performing 17 different variations of bicep curls in one training session to work on your “peak,” you need to stop. Now.

Did what you just read make your day? Ruin it? Either way, you should share it with your friends and/or comment below.

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Plus, get a copy of Tony’s Pick Things Up, a quick-tip guide to everything deadlift-related. See his butt? Yeah. It’s good. You should probably listen to him if you have any hope of getting a butt that good.

I don’t share email information. Ever. Because I’m not a jerk.

Comments for This Entry

  • Barath

    It is sad how every discussion gets side tracked by the steroid issue. "You deadlifted 315 yesterday? Roids!" "You have a six pack? Roids!" "You weigh 200 lbs with 10% bf? Roids!" "You pleasured your lady five times last night? Test!" Well technically the last one is true.

    June 2, 2014 at 11:53 am | Reply to this comment

  • Brian

    No, I'm not on steroids. But thanks for asking. :-)

    June 2, 2014 at 1:21 pm | Reply to this comment

  • M'fongo

    I'm not so sure, I actually talked to Arnold and he told me that when he was young he started a regiment of 10000 ez bar curls and 10000 tricep extensions every other day. Thanks, m'fongo

    June 2, 2014 at 8:56 pm | Reply to this comment

  • John J Brooks

    Love how the avatar of every dude crying "OMG ROIDS!" is a skinny guy showing off his abzz. It's not their fault, they don't know what they don't know.

    June 3, 2014 at 12:23 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Michael

    Just flicked through the comments, it makes me sad that that is all people can take away from a legitimate article pushing the value of strength.

    June 3, 2014 at 3:41 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Paul

    I just read your article on Bodybuilding.com and you've convinced me. I am in my final 3 weeks of Jim Stopanis "Shortcut to Size". Body building is all new to me, and this is the first program I've ever done and I am addicted and love it. I've done p90x and insanity at home, loved both, but didn't really see what I wanted, dropped a ton of weight but was always starving. I got lazy again and packed on 30 pounds:( then decided to do something different - weight train, with the treadmill after weights. I haven't lost a pound but I've lost inches and BF%) I said all that to ask, what should I do next. I loved what you wrote and I believe what your saying. I want to be as strong as a 42 year old man can be and then exceed it. I also want to look better than any 42 year old on earth then 43, 44 and so on...you get the point. So, please point the way - please, and I'll be your BFF! (I clicked the link...lol) - Paul

    June 8, 2014 at 6:02 pm | Reply to this comment

    • TonyGentilcore

      Paul - So happy to hear that you've crossed lines to the dark side...;o) Lifting heavy shit not only offers a TON of benefits (increased muscle mass, better body compostion (assuming diet is on point), improved bone density, yada yada yada), but it's a heckuva lot more exciting. That said, I'd suggest a few things: Eric Cressey's High Performance Handbook: http://bit.ly/1bq9V5I Or my own Premium Workout Group: http://www.weighttraining.com/groups/tony-gentilcore

      June 10, 2014 at 10:39 am | Reply to this comment

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