Sunday, August 24, 2014

Workout of the Day: Vince Gironda

One classic bodybuilder I always admired but never really knew much about is Vince Gironda, the Iron Guru and owner/operator of Vince's Gym in North Hollywood.  A fitness competitor and professional back in the 1950's, Gironda employed various unorthodox exercises such as bench press to the neck, the drag curl, V-Bar dip and a huge dislike for squats.  Gironda also preached the importance of nutrition, claiming that training was 85% eating and suggested consuming up to 3 dozen fertile hen eggs a day, raw cream or milk and liver tablets on a high protein, low carb diet.  Mr. Olympia Larry Scott was a disciple and fellow bodybuilding luminaries like Frank Zane, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno put in time at Vince's Gym.  Movie stars Clint Eastwood, Carl Weathers, James Garner and Denzel Washington all trained at his famed gym before its doors were closed in 1995.  Gironda would pass away 2 years later.

Gironda believed in high volume training but did exercises in straight sets and employed an 8x8 set and rep scheme with lighter weight and little rest time.  After reading up on Gironda's method, I employed some of them this past week in an upper body routine.  I couldn't quite get to 8 straight sets my first time out but hit 6 with many of the following:

1) Incline Dumbell Bench - This gave me a nice pump but also made my shoulder sore
2) Drag Curl - 6 sets with a 45 lb barbell had my arms screaming
3) Tricep Extension - On a machine and my horseshoe started to spasm
4) Cable Row - Done leaning far forward and head down to start then pulling back and up had my lats cramping up
5) Wide Dips - Elbows wide to work chest versus tight for triceps, again a little hard on my shoulders
6) Lateral Shoulder Raises - Bent forward a bit to take the trapezius out with pinkies up like pouring a pitcher of water
7) Reverse Preacher Curl - Elbows in tight with hands wide
8) Seated Calf - Gironda believed in higher reps for calves so I pumped out 15-20

It was an interesting experiment but I don't think my shoulders would be able to take all of the straight sets.  Super Sets that work opposing muscle groups let the delicate joints and hinges rest between exertion which just seems to suit me better.  But I'll definitely keep reading up on Gironda's method and will have to look up some liver tablets...

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