The History of Vince's Gym & The Stars He Trained

The Golden Age of Bodybuilding

Left to Right: Irvin Zabo Koszewski, Lyle Fox, Chuck Mahoney and Vince Gironda

Jim Morris

Jim Morris

Did you ever train with Pearl or with Gironda or any of the other guys who came on the scene before you?

No. Pearl invited me to train with him, but there was no way I was going to get up at 3 a.m. in order to be ready to train by 4. Arnold invited me to train with him, and I would go over to Gold’s to watch him work out, after which we would sometimes go for breakfast. I was doing so well with Pearl’s routines, I felt no need to change.

Once in a while I’d visit Gironda’s just to talk diet with him, but he never extended an invitation to train with him. He did give me a lot of exercise advice, some of which I incorporated into my training. The desiccated liver was a Gironda suggestion, and although it was not tasty, it did improve my physique.

I have heard of the Arnold-Franco training partnership, and I watched Arnold train with Ed Corney, but top bodybuilders rarely are able to benefit from the same routine or subordinate their own ego and progress enough to come to a compromise workout that benefits both.

You’ve talked about three people who influenced your training: Lon Hanagan, Bill Pearl and Vince Gironda. What did each of those guys teach you, and what were some of the training routines like?

Pearl was the only one who made up my routines. Lon taught me that the absolute first law of symmetry is to match the amount of muscle mass to the skeletal framework. Once the muscle mass exceeds the limit imposed by the frame, there can be no symmetry.

Gironda taught me how to work with gravity on the free weights. He was able to coax a lot of response using very little weight with his knowledge of how the pulleys and levers of the skeletal muscles work. He taught me to think for myself, to question all of the methods and systems being used and pushed by the magazines and current stars. He taught me to do my own thing.

Salvador Ruiz and Vince Gironda

Salvador Ruiz and Vince Gironda in 1983.

Salvador Ruiz and Vince Gironda in 1983

Welcome to the Bert Goodrich Show of 1957

Welcome to the Bert Goodrich Show of 1957May we extend a hearty welcome to all of you. It is our pleasure to present a show that will not only entertain you, but one which will be both inspirational as well as educational.

We are actively engaged in a gigantic move that is destined to create a far-reaching effect on the health of the Nation. Our Shows, being held in cities from Coast to Coast, will revolve around the accrued benefits of proper exercise and health, with appropriate displays of physical culture achievements fur inspirational and educational purpose. In addition, lectures will he given on proper care of the body.

It is a well known fact that only a few short years ago only a handful of people were aware of the tremendous benefits derived from this type of physical culture conditioning and training. Today, it is estimated that there are more than seven million or men, women and children participating in sytematic and progressive exercises.

In touring the country with this type of show, we will be able to reach thpusands of people who have never been familiar with the relative value of this type of training for the effective improvement of health and the body. We feel that much can be accomplished through the presentation of our Shows throughout the Nation. We have available all new scientific equipment for systematic training, and qualified instructors who will he able to start people of any age to a better way of life.

Our plan will stimulate a trend that will continue to raise the physical standards of the United States far beyond the remotest expectations of most of the prominent health authorities. Our primary objective is to create and build a more health and body conscious Nation.

Welcome to the Bert Goodrich Show of 1957

Welcome to the Bert Goodrich Show of 1957

Vince Gironda in 1982

Vince GymI was in the Valley on two occasions, once in 1982 and again in 1989.

The 1982 experience held more memories for me as I was younger.

As you entered the gym Vince was seated to the right behind a huge wooden desk the likes of which I have never seen before. Almost something that would have been constructed by Leonardo DaVinci - ironically he and Vince not being so far removed in character, spirit, and iconoclasm.

Vince himself was a very piercing figure of a man with eyes that looked right through you, the look of someones who's confidence and belief system was unshakable - a rare look really.

Behind him were his many manuals and books that he had written over the years, mostly all soft covered. The place had a look and feel of the mid sixties - a golden era of bodybuilding frozen in time, and likely by no accident. It was also very quiet, with no music ever playing.

Tank tops hung on the wall behind the desk that explained this; something along the lines of "no frills, no music, just sweat" - I can't remember exactly.

The machines were all of a dark wood and dark metal. Many machines were never seen before; 32 inch V-bars for dips, a moon box, an incline bench with a hole in it for the face to sink into, and of course the famous "Scott bench" that had more padding than I had ever seen before or since.

A doctor was always in there in the morning and he and Vince seemed to be very good friends. I saw a picture of the doctor outside of the gym on the Iron guru site.

Vince was obviously friends with both the famous and the not so famous. At one point I paid for personal training with Vince and he demonstrated the Sissy Squat to me with a little apparatus on the floor that help you from falling over. This was clearly Vince's signature exercise and he abhored the squatters build.

He also loved the vertical dumbell grip bench press for chest.

His machines, many hand made, were designed to reshape the body in more aesthetically pleasing ways. He had said that if all the standard exercises were working, then how come so few people were still not well built.

Passing into the locker room, the Larry Scott sign was still hanging above the door and somehow this connected me to the bygone era. The locker room itself was fairly small and was built right into the mountain. The door was often cracked open in the back and a tremendous smell of eucalyptus permeated the whole room.

This smell is one of my most lasting memories of the gym.

- Jim Samar

In The Store

Ultra Amino Pure Amino Acids
Ultra Amino Pure Amino Acids
The Vince Gironda File II
The Vince Gironda File II
The Fat Of The Land
The Fat Of The Land
Larry Scott Secrets of Bulking Up and Adding Muscle Size
Larry Scott Secrets of Bulking Up and Adding Muscle Size
How I Train The Movie Stars
How I Train The Movie Stars
Amino Pure Amino Acids
Amino Pure Amino Acids

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