The Training Methods of Vince Gironda

Building Muscular Calves

Calves must be worked in a different way, as Vince quickly found this out since the calves are the only muscle that is directly worked every time you take a step and walk.

Initially, his 3 sets of six, 6 sets of six, 8 sets of eight wasn’t quite working and he didn’t know why and after awhile he realized that the calves should be really overworked or worked more than the biceps, triceps, delts, chest or back and low and behold, it worked.

So Vince always called calves a high rep muscle and you use as much weight as you possibly can to stimulate growth. Vince found out that anything less than 15 - 20 reps per set are not going to stimulate the calves. And Vince also found out in order to stimulate the calves even further, to induce growth, what you would have to do on your off-days is to perform 100 to 150 reps with no weight just to induce circulation. He then discovered that the calves would respond and this of course was through trial and error.

Vince was big on trial and error. He used to spend a tremendous amount of time testing his theories, whether they were right or wrong, and after awhile he found his theory about calves was true.

Now some people, like me, never had to work the calves in this method. And Vince would always tell you, do what works for you. Know the "Golden Rule"; know your body.

My calves would become stimulated with 8 sets of eight reps or 4 sets of twelve reps and sometimes a little extra work. But for a lot of people, this doesn’t seem to work. You have to know your body.

My calves are easy but I wish other parts of my body would grow just as fast as my calves and I had decent calves to begin with so that helped me.

But with calves, do what Vince tells you to do; high rep, as much weight as you can handle, and on your off days, do 100-150 reps with no weight just to induce circulation and you will find out this will really help your calves.

Invoking Nerve Force for Muscle Development

I observe many people at the gym doing one arm exercises, one leg exercises, and one back exercises where they just work one side of the body or the other.

These are not bad exercises but, simply doing one arm or one leg or one side of the chest or one side of the body doesn’t implement nerve force.

And of course, this is why Vince was so far ahead of everyone else, he knew that in order to activate nerve force, both sides of the body must be worked simultaneously.

One arm exercises or one calf exercises or one shoulder exercises are just shaping movements to shape the muscle. They don’t invoke nerve force and when you don’t invoke nerve force then you can’t have growth.

Keep that in mind because I see a lot of people doing that and it is very difficult to tell them the exercises they are performing are erroneous and they’re not going to produce any growth, just shape.

An Effective Bodybuilding Training Split

Monday & Thursday – Upper body workout (Chest, Back, Shoulders, Biceps & Triceps)

Tuesday & Friday – Lower body workout (Forearms, Thighs, Inner Thighs, Hamstrings, & Calves)

6 sets of 6 reps or 8 sets of 8 reps or 4 sets of 12 reps

- Workout for 30 – 40 minutes

- One exercise per body part

- Change exercise every 2 to 3 weeks

- 15 seconds rest between each set

- Muscles worked with intensity should be rested for 72 hours

For those who cannot do a split routine or are pushed for time, you can try working out the whole body for one hour twice a week.

Bodybuilding Posing

The idea behind posing is to create effect and illusion.

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, 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.

Overcoming Bodybuilding Sticking Points

I well know that none can train exclusively on a concentrated program for too long because the time will surely come when it will cease to get further results.

Some term this the "sticking-point" others call it "staleness" whereas I term it over-taxing the nerves and muscles.

I have found three weeks of concentrated training to be about enough, and the point at which most bodybuilders become bored and stale. And at this point, after three weeks of hard training, I find that one week of rest to be much better than would a change of program, because the softening up of muscle tissue allows for renewed energy by the storing up of vitality and re-stimulation to muscles for the resumption of training.

Rest is nature's method of restoring the nerves and whole body. Surely, this is logical. If anyone robs himself of needed rest and allows his enthusiasm to govern him, he then continues on nerve force which will soon prove detrimental for muscle-growth.

And if one cares to go into precise physiological technicalities he will readily find that the nerves need rest more than do the muscles.

Muscles over bad nerves soon become weaker under the power of mis-directed nerve force. Far too many gymnasium instructors fail to recognize the need of relaxation for the central nervous system, which I feel controls either growth or shrinkage of musculature.

That is why I emphatically advice the application of real hard training, three times or oftener every week for three weeks, only and to then follow with a lay-off of one whole week so as to recuperate and give the muscles and tissues a chance to grow – and they will grow!

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