The Training Methods of Vince Gironda

The Gironda Perfect Curl

The late, Vince Gironda, the originator of the Perfect Curl (or complete curl) described how to do it in the following manner.

The first part of "The Perfect Curl" (using a straight bar and a shoulder width hand spacing) begins with the elbows resting on the pelvis or hip bones with the arms hanging straight and the upper torso inclined with the head and shoulders just back of the hips.

This particular starting position will actively stimulate the lower insertion of the biceps as the barbell is curled upward the first 10-12 inches.

The second part of "The Perfect Curl" kicks in as the barbell is continuing to be curled upward and the upper torso (head and shoulders) begins to travel forward to an erect (or vertical) position. This part of the curl involves the belly of the
biceps.

The third part of "The Perfect Curl" concludes with the upper torso (head and shoulders) moving slightly forward from an erect (or vertical) position and the bar is curled upward to completion. When the torso is slightly forward from vertical at the completion of the upward phase of the curl it creates a maximum peak contraction in the biceps.

Cramp the barbell into the top curl position and contract the biceps for all they are worth for a second and then reverse the procedure as you lower the barbell to the starting position.

This completes one rep!

Each rep should take approximately 6 seconds to complete.

Always use poundage that you can handle in the form described above, perhaps with about 60 percent of your maximum single barbell curl.

Vince suggested doing one of the following sets and reps schemes; 6 sets of 6 reps, or 8 sets of 8 reps and finally 10 sets of 10 reps.

Rest-pause, 20-30 seconds between each set of the chosen set and rep scheme.

Ditch The Shoes For Bigger Calves

I ditched my thickly cushioned basketball shoes for the new minimalist running shoes - even less padding. And I noticed better leg workouts immediately due to firing the extensor reflex.

Then I remembered that legendary trainer Vince Gironda used to demand that people at his gym train calves barefoot. (We heard he even threw some people out for not taking his advice, so he was serious!) He knew it made a striking difference in results, although he probably didn’t know about the extensor reflex. He chalked up his knowledge to decades of experience, saying it was a waste of time to train calves wearing shoes.

Well, unfortunately it’s taken me decades to figure it out also. I always thought Vince was just being a little eccentric (or that maybe he had a foot fetish). I didn’t think that such a small detail could make such a striking difference - till I actually tried it, inadvertently.

Now we’re both sold on the idea, and we’re both suddenly building more calf size - and it appears our quad size is improving as well.

The minimalist shoes I switched to were Nike Free running shoes, advertised as “like running barefoot.” They are the new breed of running shoe, almost slipper-like with minimalist bottoms—the soles are lighter and heavily corrugated for more freedom of foot movement. That’s as close to barefoot as I want to go when tossing around 45-pound plates (not to mention the sharp edges on some calf blocks).

The reason those shoes are helping me build calf muscle may be because I have to grip the calf block with my toes, which creates extra pressure on the inner side of my feet. Trainees are usually advised to “come up on the big toe” for inner calf development.

I noticed immediately that the new shoes allowed that to happen more naturally, which is no doubt why I now have more inner-calf flare.

Another reason the lighter-soled shoes build calves: minimal rebound effect at the key semistretched point, or X Spot, near the bottom of the stroke. End-of-set X Reps are much more intense and calf specific, as there’s no recoil from thick soles near the stretch point.

The Nike Free shoes have slices all along the soles, so it’s very close to training barefoot—just like the Iron Guru suggested, er um demanded.

Vince Gironda Heavy Training and Warming Up

How heavy should you train and do you warmup?

Always train over your head. Always pick up more weight than you think you can use. Don't ever be sure you can do it. You'll do it. It just depends on how badly you want to do it.

Once you've done it you'll never go back. You get stronger on the first three sets by the way. I don't believe in warming up.

I used to be a dancer and I wondered why some of the girls had big legs. They said they didn't warmup long enough.

You cause VISCOSITY or LUBRICATION off the muscle by warming up and you can't tear tissue down. That's why belly dancers legs stay slimmer. I warmup during the confines of the first three sets!

Vince Gironda Running, Sprinting & Muscle



The average man cannot build muscle and jog at the same time!

If you must run, short fast sprinting would be better than jogging.

- Vince Gironda

Train To Gain: Iron Guru Turns Up The Heat

Train To Gain: Iron Guru Turns Up The Heat

I'm often asked what burns are since I recommend them. They're the addition of three to four half or quarter reps at the end of a set.

The motion involved is usually only two to three inches. The idea is to maximize the pump before ending the set.

Actually, not every exercise should be concluded with burns. You have to work it out for yourself.

Go by the feel of the movement. Ideal exercises to use burns on are Scott curls, calf raises, chins and dips.

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