A note on my desk
I arrived home on a Friday after a week of garnering interviews, or at least trying to get them. On my desk was a note that Vince Gironda had called Wednesday. Before I even had the chance to finish reading all my mail, the 'ol ESP went off and so did the phone - it was Vince.
Needless to say, he was very enthusiastic and really wanted to get something across. "Green", he started immediately, "I want to do something I've never done before. I'd like you to write it up in the magazines. Send it to Kennedy. It'll give the readers a DIRECT INSIGHT into the "kinds" of instruction I would give an ADVANCED GUY ... a champion, for instance."
"I want to show folks some of the things I do and/or suggest to people in my private, personalized programs. The same kind Makkawy and Roy Duval have been doing since last year. Look at the results these guys are getting and they're already contest winners!"
"Well, I've just been contacted by another one. A guy whose placed in the top three at the NABBA Mr. Universe - IAN LAWRENCE. The guy's gotta be one of the top 3 or 4 guys in the world for solid muscular mass! Zero Fat!!! I mean...the guy is a phenomenon and he wants me to train him.
"I want to write it up as an OPEN LETTER. First we'll send him the beginning or first installment of a private course, then we'll do an article in "open letter-style" to ILLUSTRATE the main points and the direction I would go with a guy who is truly advanced."
I admit - he had me going. I'd seen some shots in Iron Man a couple of years ago on Ian Lawrence of Scotland. Truly massive. One of the most impressive, indeed. But so are Makkawy and Roy Duval and I'd seen their recent improvement under Vince's guidance. Sure, I'd love to do it.
I got to Vince's in the morning and he quickly produced a detailed, 5-page letter and several 8 x 10's of Ian. Chris Lund shots taken during a contest, but close-up. As I perused them in wonderment, Vince eased back in his chair and started right in.
VINCE ... "The guy is such a GENETIC SUPERIOR, yet he did something with it. But he's not winning the Universe! Why? He's already incredible. The shows are just getting that tough. I started working on a few things: Outer delt / Anterior Aspect of Lateral Head, Outer or lateral aspect of the Biceps, tricep improvement...in his letter, you'll notice he complains about a nagging Triceps problem; probably concentrate on the Outer Tricep profile first. (Author's note: meanwhile, this guy's arm is around the 19" category with a high, full peaked biceps!)
"Most of all ... I have to get him to concentrate on the WIDE aspect of the Pectoral; to provide an unbroken line (shadow) under his pecs and delts to create more of the illusion of width.
"Posing and general appearance are so very, very important when you're a top-caliber physique competitor. EVERY LITTLE THING IS IMPORTANT.
Look at how many guys with incredible development that are losing contests THEY SHOULD HAVE WON.
"I perceived this with Roy Duval. Other than two factors (a problem with dieting and a different APPROACH to training), it HAD TO BE HIS PRESENTATION. You will see a "new" Roy Duval in the next world championships. Improved posing with charisma and arrogance."
BOB GREEN ... "Charisma means so much. Some that don't have it naturally (and so many don't; that indefinable element). But I agree that it can be developed ... to an extent at least... I mean, at least for their performance. Is that why you included the word "arrogance"? To get Roy and some of these others to project more confidence, strength, etc.?
"I've been going back to contests lately and I've seen some shows where guys like Robby Robinson, Roy Callender, Casey Viator and a few others -should have won hands down. They were so much more well-developed. They just simply should have won. I know that the aforementioned gentlemen, since they've greatly improved their presentations, have won more and more contests. Aren't you working with Dennis Tinerino on this, too? It shows.
~They're scaring the pants off the lesser-developed athletes who've been getting by with slightly superior 'acts'."
VINCE... "That's what I'm getting at. Sure, I can make some training observations that will enhance outer deltoid, outer triceps, more upper lat width, etc. But there's more!
"Now this guy (Ian), his diet isn't all that bad. In fact, it's pretty good. He complains of Low Pecs, this and that and then right into an energy problem towards the end of the week. He needs liver tabs and a couple of other supplements. Like Glandulars. They're great!
"The one supplement he IS taking has changed in the nature of its usefulness: it has become COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE. You'll notice the slight puffiness in the abs, even though they stand out. These things can be corrected in a decent amount of time. The hard thing will be his posing. As you know, I've been working with Makkawy. You saw him pose a few months ago when he came down with Bob
Kennedy and Chris Lund. Ken Wheeler arranged for Makkawy to get over here.
"His posing is becoming masterful. He has new "stage presence" which I had to teach him in two weeks before his last show. He is now even better! He rocked 'em in Atlantic City last year.
"Very few could hit poses that COMPLIMENTED their physique while DE-EMPHASIZING THEIR WEAK POINTS. Grimek, Ross, Sandow... I worked very hard in this area. I was lucky to have BOTH an athletic back-ground AND a show business one. It makes a difference. I think too many physique competitors and promoters forget that the contest they're in or doing is also a 'show'; . a performance. Personally, I practiced posing a 1/2 hour every day!
"No amount of development will overshadow a real pro that has SIMILAR development and KNOWS HOW TO MOVE - HOW TO DISPLAY, TANTALIZE AND CONFOUND THE AUDIENCE. Remember, too, that the judges (in a large way) are the audience.
"Once you learn to develop the various aspects (inner, lower, outer contour, belly, etc.) of your weak points... you may still find that genetic structure has dealt you some (relative) limitations.
All can be overcome and improved.
"The next thing you do, if you want to compete, is to tailor your poses to fit your physique. Then learn how to present it in a dramatic and entertaining way.
"If Ian would work on his posing and bring up the few developmental aspects he needs, he could place higher."
The following is an open letter from Vince Gironda to one of his top-flight students and the latest of many to seek his help - Ian Lawrence of Scotland:
Thank you for writing. I thoroughly enjoy working with professional attitudes as displayed by your in-depth letter and the background you sent me.
Most of the time I have been commissioned to work with movie stars, entertainers and television personalities. All the while working with championship bodybuilders to be in this category. This is my first love. Personally, I work all aspects, but to work with a dedicated athlete of your obvious calibre...ahhh, this is truly "get up for".
It seems that the "new breed" of bodybuilders has suddenly re-discovered this "laboratory of thought and application" called my gym, Roy Duval, Mohamed Makkawy most recently and others, who have come to me "quietly" before major contests. The latter individuals because they were in trouble - not finely tuned enough, but were either under contract to someone or trained at another gym.
I must commend you on the incredible amount of mass you've developed. Moreover, your absence of bodyfat makes it all the more impressive. I can't think of anybody, off-hand and now competing, who is bigger. You are right up there with the top two or three guys in the world.
First of all, I think we have a classic case here of "bigger is not always better." Obviously! or you would've won the Universe a long time ago. You are the Farnese Hercules incarnate. But like this type of physique, you may have a tendency to be somewhat "blocky" in certain shots. SO DON'T POINT THAT UP!!!!
You're on the right track with your training: the Double Split, the number of reps you do etc., but some modification should be done with your back training.
The thing that HAS to be worked on immediately is your posing. Then, maybe some aspects of your overall appearance. For example: your Most Muscular shot is BASIC CRUDE! it will only make your waist look wider and your physique blockier to the judges AND the audience. The leg shouldn't be pointed straight out, but bent (slightly) into a serpentine "S" and the hands fixed slightly BEHIND the waist - while the body is twisted a bit at an angle to DIMINISH waist size.
The idea behind posing is to create effect and illusion. Also, NEVER LOOK THE CAMERA STRAIGHT IN THE EYE. The same goes for the audience. Look just above them or a little off to the side. lift the head a little more. Learn to be more dramatic. Your posing should be approached like a PERFORMANCE. Contests are shows. It's showbiz, Ian, whether you like it or not. Promoters today are just starting to pick up on this again.
Be dramatic, heroic..even slightly arrogant in some of your side and three-quarter poses. Tilting the chin up creates better lighting for the face and the upper tie-in of the TOP of your body. For instance, on a three-quarter shot, the head looks up at a slight tilt and then over the shoulder - DRAMATICALLY - and it SLENDERIZES the Sternocleido Mastoids of the neck to make your shoulders appear broader. I repeat: what's going on up there on stage IS drama. Play it up.
Another thing: the mustache doesn't compliment your marvelously broad grin. In person I'm sure it's fine and we all like to see a smile once in awhile, but onstage, with the lighting, the mustache makes your smile look like a wide grin on a Cheshire cat. You may want to ditch the mustache...just for the next contest.
Your hairstyle is another item. Remember, I'm only making these observations to help you. Your general appearance has a bearing on the outcome of your next contest. Either style your hair differently or let it get slightly longer. Find a competent hair stylist that will shape your cut to fit your head shape, hairline.
I cannot over-emphasize how important these (seemingly) little things are. They all add up to winning. Please send me some more photos to further help your posing.