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

Vince Gironda Muscle Mass

Vince Gironda Muscle Mass

Quality muscle mass and aesthetic shape displayed by Vince Gironda.

Larry Scott The First Mr Olympia

Larry ScottPeople who witnessed Larry Scott's two Mr. Olympia victories are still talking about them. Rick Wayne has written that "Years after he had transformed a normally well-behaved bodybuilding audience at the Brooklyn Academy of Music into a whirling-churling heaving mass of crazy humantiy, those who had witnessed the event would speak of it in tones usually reserved for accounting biblical miracles." I've haven't heard such stories about any other contest in the history of bodybuilding other than the 1948 Mr. Universe that John Grimek won.

Born in Blackfoot, Idaho, on November 12, 1938, Larry was the typical 120 lb. adolescent with no hints of future bodybuilding stardom. He saw hope, though, in a magazine he found in Pocatello's city dump where he read, "You. Too, Can Have an Arm Like This in 30 Days." The picture of George Payne was all he needed to inspire him to join the Pocatello YMCA at 16. 

After winning the Mr. Idaho, he moved to Los Angeles and the rest is history. Eventually winning the first two Mr. Olympia contests, the first victory is seen by many as one of the foundation stones of modern bodybuilding, Larry Scott became one of the greatest legends in the history of the sport.

We're pleased to stock a number of classic Larry Scott courses in the shop.

Training Methods of Larry Scott

Irvin Johnson had just asked Larry Scott about his training programs and exercise schedules. Larry had already talked at length about his background and brought us up to date on his progress in training over the past 9 years. Contrary to what many would have you believe, Larry has never performed any miracles of progress. Every pound, every inch he has gained has been through hard work and good nutrition.

If you are looking for secrets of overnight success you will be disappointed, but if you are willing to work as hard as Larry has and if you're willing to deny yourself other pleasures and activities as Larry has over a period of 9 or more years, then you can expect progress of a satisfactory nature. You may not become the best built man in the world for you may not have inherited the correct muscle shape, bone structure, skin texture and you may not have come from sturdy ancestors, but you can make great improvement and develop a good physique for your own type.

You must recognize the direction in which your talents lay and then work in this direction for perfection. There has been much speculation that Scott has a magic and secret formula of exercise. Such is not so. The following interview tells you essentially how Larry trains.

Larry Scott

IRVIN JOHNSON: Larry, we would like to know how you trained over the years and how you train now. Have you varied your training or have you trained the same over the years?

LARRY SCOTT: Well, Irvin, the type of exercise I and the other fellows use varies a great deal from time to time. We generally use an exercise until we cease to progress on it and then change to another. This generally lasts a couple of months. Thus the workout program is in a constant state of flux. You reach stale periods after a certain length of time in which you experience no growth. Then you change your exercise or exercises or your routine. So over the period of 9 years I have been training, I have used many different routines and exercises. I experienced results from all of them but there is no one perfect or permanent exercise nor no best or permanent routine. My routines in the past have probably been the same as those used by other top bodybuilders.

IRVIN: Can you tell us something about your present routines, exercises, repetitions, sets, frequency of training etc. ?

LARRY: At present I'm on what you might call a Split-Routine system--not in the commonly accepted term but one I have worked out which seems to suit me best. It might not be the best for anyone else but it works very well for me.

First, I train 6 days per week on this type of routine. Here is how I work. This is important. I work approximately 2 or 3 muscles or muscle groups per day. I do 3 to 4 exercises for each muscle or muscle group 2 or 21/2 times per week.

Keeping in mind the above routine, I do 8 to 10 repetitions for each set and from 6 to 8 and sometimes even 10 sets. This holds true of all muscle areas but the calves and forearms. Because of the nature of their muscle fibers I use higher rep's (up to 20 repetitions).

I finish many of my sets with the "burns" (rapid, short movements to give an intense, aching, burning feeling).

Considering the above you will find that I do about 20 to 30 sets per body part, muscle or muscle group.

Let me use the biceps as an illustration. I would probably use about 4 different exercises for the biceps and 5 to 6 sets for each exercise of 8 to 10 repetitions. This would make a total of 24 sets for the biceps. If I were working the Biceps, Triceps, and Deltoids today. I would have 4 exercises for each and say 5 sets of each exercise or a total of 60 sets for my workout today. This type of workout takes me about 2 hours. I do not rest too much between exercises or between sets but try to keep moving along pretty well.

Tomorrow I would work another body part or group of muscle, perhaps two or three groups or single muscles as the case might be. So each day I change body parts, groups of muscles or individual muscles. I get back to these muscles about twice per week. Each workout takes me about 2 hours each night or 12 hours work per week.

I try to do the next set of exercise as soon as I can after the previous set in order to keep as much blood as possible in the muscle and maintain the pump and achieve a "burn".

This system might not be good for everyone but it works well for me.

IRVIN: Could you tell us whether you try to use heavy weights in all your exercises or do you prefer medium or light poundages?

LARRY: I never have used extremely heavy weights for my exercises. In the curl for instance it is pretty rare if I ever go over 150 lbs.

Probably much of the reason for my not using heavier weights is the type of gym I work out in. I do all my workouts in Vince's (Vince Gironda) gym and this gym is not oriented towards heavy weights. It is aimed more at training for shape and definition I guess this is because Vince himself has this type of physique.

Much of the exercise done is of the isolation nature--that is certain muscles are exercised alone rather than in groups and in this type of exercise you do not and can not use as heavy a poundage.

Vince's gym has many pieces of specialized equipment for doing isolated muscle movements. There are several pieces of equipment just for doing specialized biceps and triceps movements. We do not do exercises like cheating curls, cheating presses etc.

IRVIN: Thank you Larry for telling us the details of your training. Now would you care to tell us something about your diet. I understand that you feel most bodybuilders fail to achieve their goals because of poor nutrition than for any other reason. I believe you once told me that you felt nutrition was more important than exercise.

LARRY: Basically I eat a lot of meat, cheese, and eggs. I like cottage cheese and meat--mostly beef in various forms. I eat almost no carbohydrates and very few vegetables. I supplement my diet with Johnson's Protein. That is about it. It's a rather bland diet but it seems to work best for me at the present time anyhow.

IRVIN: I understand that during your big gains-that is from approximately 170 or 175 to your top 210, you used large amounts of protein supplement. Would you care to tell us how much you did use and how you used it?

LARRY: I was using from 11/2 to 2 cups of Johnson's Protein (Rheo H. Blair's Protein) per day. I would mix it with cream and milk. I used about 2/3 of a quart of cream a day in mixing this along with the milk to make it the desired consistency. I took this protein-cream mix three times per day. I would eat 6 to 8 times per day. I would have breakfast, then a snack at 10 A. M. and then lunch at noon, then another snack at 2:30 P.M., then dinner plus the Protein-Cream drink. My evening meal is eaten after I work out.

COMMENTS BY JOHNSON: Larry Scott is not a big eater -- that is he does not like to eat big meals, therefore he has to eat more often and he needs the concentrate food such as protein supplements etc. Larry has also taken other supplements just before contests to help in his improvement, even tho it is too expensive for him to take regularly. He takes B complex and a special Liver Formula. He also takes special Hydrochloric acid tablets. These assist in the digestion of protein. Larry has told me that he feels that proper nutrition is 85% of the battle of bodybuilding.

Larry is the hardest worker I have seen in all my years of association with bodybuilding. He is a slow and hard gainer and so he has to work hard. He should be an inspiration to others who also find it hard to gain, illustrating that success will come from persistence, hard work, and good nutrition.

Larry Scott - A Story Of Hard Work and Perserverance To Success

To get the story of the great Larry Scott, whom many consider the top physique of the day, we asked Irvin Johnson to interview Larry on tape and send the tape to us. The following article is a transcription of this tape, and in Larry's own words, telling his story and how he trains.

Larry is a great practical joker and the tape is filled with humorous remarks. These are not exactly pertinent to this article and so we have deleted these but have not changed his answers to Irvin's questions.

Irvin Johnson, as most of you know, is the leading nutritionist in the bodybuilding field. It was Irvin Johnson who introduced protein supplements to the bodybuilding field many years ago. He subsequently used and developed many other supplements and has worked such miracles in bodies that they are unbelievable. He is presently performing this service in Los Angeles. As mentioned before and also in Larry's interview, Larry uses Johnson's protein and other supplements as do many other top bodybuilders. Johnson seems to have an ability to prescribe correct nutrition that no one else has. As one top supplement manufacturer described him, Irvin seems to have a sixth sense about what a man or woman needs to give them the physical transformation they usually receive." Chances are this is just a knowledge of nutrition needs and how to meet them that he has developed over the years, but it does seem uncanny. The following interview was recorded on tape with Johnson's Ampex tape recorder in the apartment of Larry Scott.

Larry Scott

Johnson: Larry, where were you born; where did you start training and at what age?

Scott: I was born in Blackfoot, Idaho, a small town near Pocatello. I lived in Blackfoot a few years, then moved to Pocatello where I went to grade school and high school. 1 started training in my senior year at 17 years of age.

Johnson: What did you weigh when you started and how did you happen to start barbell training?

Scott: I weighed 120 lbs. I did not gain anything for the first three months. This is because I had been training only my triceps and pectorals. I had picked up a muscle magazine and seen a picture of a fellow showing his triceps development. This magazine said, "You can have a triceps like this in 30 days training," I decided that I would get an old tractor axel or something for resistance and proceed to get me a triceps like that. I've been at it 9 years now and still haven't succeeded. (Editor's note -- Larry is being modest, since he now has one of the finest triceps developments to be found.)

Johnson: You said you weighed 120 lbs. when you started. Did you have any problem gaining weight and muscle? How fast did you gain?

Scott: As a matter of fact, there was never a time when I gained weight rapidly. Every pound came slowly and I had to exercise correctly and hard and follow the correct diet and eat the right proteins to gain weight at all.

Johnson: What was the first contest you won?

Scott: I believe it was the Mr. Idaho in 1959, a contest in which only 12 men were entered. I also won the most muscular, I weighed only 171 at the time. I had then migrated to the land of the eternal sun, California, and the next contest I entered was the Mr. Los Angeles, Hugo Labra won this and I took third and believe I still weighed about the same. I had found it very difficult to gain any more weight in the intervening 1½ years.

It was about this time that I met you, Mr. Johnson, and you introduced me to your protein. I ate almost nothing else but your protein for the next two months and put on 9 pounds of solid muscle during this time and entered the Mr. California contest. Due to this added bodyweight I was able to win this title and feel I owe it to taking the protein supplement. Hugo Labra was second in this contest and Franklin Jones third. I also won Most Muscular again.

Johnson: Larry, we would like to know something of your background to See if your ancestors had anything to do with your fine physique. Were your parents strong and healthy to an unusual degree?

Larry: Yes, I come from a large and healthy family. I had five brothers and sisters. I was second oldest. My father was medium boned and about 6 feet in height. My mother was rather heavy boned and 5'6" ill height. My father had a thin and smooth skin. This, you know, is very important to a bodybuilder and aids him in getting definition. A man with a thick, hairy skin has a difficult time. My mother also had a good skin. I inherited these advantages.

Dad had a very good physique and was very strong. I am left handed and dad is right handed. By using my stronger left hand and his weaker left hand I have never been able to defeat him in arm wrestling to this day. He always had a tremendous forearm and a pretty good build. My mother was always pretty strong too. My parents are now living in San Jose, California.

Irvin: Have your parents approved of your activities in bodybuilding?

Larry: They were never really against my training but neither were they very enthusiastic about it. They did not approve if it was going to interfere with my other activities and duties. On the other hand I was very enthusiastic about training and felt that if I were to succeed I should devote every energy to it and I devoted myself to this completely in my earlier years. I'm sure this made me seem like a rather ungracious person and probably made me a bit hard to live with. It was because of my enthusiasm for bodybuilding that I left home and came to California.

Irvin: Now that you have won the IFBB Mr. Universe and Mr. America titles and become quite famous do they feel the same?

Larry: Well, since I'm no longer living at home and they do not have to put up with the idiosyncrasies of a bodybuilder they can look at it a little mOre objectively and they seem pretty enthusiastic about my having won these titles.

Irvin: Larry, could you tell us anything about your measurements when you won the Mr. Universe title?

Larry: At the timeI entered the above mentioned contest I had trained down from 210 pounds (my heaviest-ever bodyweight) to 200 to try for all the "cuts" and definition I could get, and felt a little like a walking whip. At that time my measurements cold were about 50 for chest, 19 for arms, 30 waist, 25 thighs and 17 calves. When weighing 210 I of course had somewhat larger than this but I would rather not mention them just now. At 210 my arm was about 20 inches.

Irvin: Larry, what are your plans for the future in the physique field. Do you plan to get bigger and enter other contests or will you just relax and get soft and fat?

Larry: Contests are a great incentive to train harder to get bigger, heavier and for better balance and shape. I don't know if I will enter more contests or not but I plan to continue training. I want to get heavier and see how large I can become, develop better shape and improve my weak points.

Irvin: Larry, what do you do for a living? Do you just train, eat, sleep, and lie around all day like some fellows, or do you have to work for a living?

Larry: I work at Foxboro Engineering as a technician. I work 5 days a week from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and then I go to engineering school from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. That is my day and I have to work my two hours a day training into this. You can see I'm quite busy. I'm studying to be an Electronics Engineer and my goal is to go as far as possible in this field which I like very much.

Irvin: Do you have any hobbies, Larry?

Larry: Well, I have many hobbies that I'd like to pursue but due to their incompatibility with bodybuilding I have given up most of them. I like to play golf and did play considerable in the past but have given it up as well as swimming and surfing which I used to do a lot of. I bowl occasionally and like billiards and gymnastics but all hobbies must be secondary to my bodybuilding if I am to become my best. I also enjoy music and it is a vital part of my life. I would hate to give it up. I like classical music and jazz.

Irvin: Would you mind telling us something of your religious background?

Larry: I am by birth a Mormon due to my parents belonging to this church and in recent years I've been able to look at it more objectively and have found it a very good and satisfying religion and have stuck with it.

Irvin: Larry, are you married and do you believe in marriage?

Larry: Yes, I am married so I must believe in it. I've been married about three years.

Irvin: Is your wife a physical culturist and is she enthusiastic about your training?

Larry: My wife isn't particularly interested in physical culture but she is a good helpmate and is enthusiastic over my winning the titles and prepares good meals for me and watches over my training schedule. She is a big help to me.

Remarks of Johnson: As I sit here in Larry Scott's apartment in North Hollywood, across from me is a huge collection of trophies that Larry has won, dominated by the great 8 foot trophy that he won at the IFBB Mr. Universe contest. Larry is an intelligent, well educated man with a good vocabulary. He is a well balanced personality who is constantly trying to improve himself. He is living a full and productive life.

Miss USA 1950 Lynn Roebuck

The preliminaries of the Miss USA contest were run off this evening. We did not get an exact count of all the entries but there must have been at least 50. This first night they were cut down to 35 of the best. Many of these girls used weights regularly to develop themselves and the girl who eventually won third place in a close three way contest is a hard worker with the weights at Vince Gironda's gym.

The "Miss USA" finals presented the best of the contestants in a beautiful setting. The judges had a very difficult decision to make, as all the girls were outstandingly beautiful and well built. The final winner was a beautiful blonde, Evelyn Lovequist, and second place went to Hazel Shaw, third to blonde Lynn Roebuck, a pupil of Vince Gironda.

Lynn Roebuck

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