The Training Methods of Vince Gironda

Cardio and Bodybuilding Mass

Vince Gironda was so anti-cardio, that he would literally remove you from his gym if he even heard the word "running" mentioned. No joke!

At that time, running was just becoming popular, and to Vince this was simply unthinkable for someone wanting to burn off fat and build muscle at the same time.

There are many today that would echo Vince’s sentiments...more than you may believe.

The Dumb Barbell

The barbell was part of the old bodybuilding culture; the machine was the future - although, as Vince Gironda once told me, the barbell looks dumb, but you have to be smart to use it.

Vince Gironda's Raw Beginner’s Program

Vince Gironda’s Raw Beginner's Program

Gironda’s influence on the iron game is almost unsurpassed. He trained, at some stage in their careers, most of the all-time greats, including Larry Scott, Sergio Oliva and Arnold, just to name three.

Gironda invented the preacher curl, and we know how well that worked for Scott. Some of Gironda’s greatest legacies, though, were his “crazy” theories. He challenged everything about the iron game.

In fact, he altered some of today’s most popular exercises with slight variations that improved the result. For example, Gironda never used or prescribed regular bench presses or barbell curls, instead opting for neck presses and body drag curls. He felt that the more common mass builders recruited too much front delt and not enough of the target muscle group.

He was also 100 percent against drugs and believed training each muscle group just once a week worked only for “juiced” athletes.

Even Vince’s beginning programs were controversial, but they were designed to transform a trainee’s body in the shortest amount of time. Vince’s programs worked. Movie stars—including Denzel Washington, James Garner and David Carradine—trained under Vince for roles, and most used his beginning routine. By today’s standards, like most of his theories, it is controversial.

Vince Gironda’s Raw Beginner’s Program

Decline pulley hugs 12 reps

Also known as decline cable flyes. Because most beginners are weak, Vince believed this was the only exercise that successfully hit the lower-pec line to improve the overall chest appearance.

Seated cable rows 12 reps

Lateral raises 10 reps

Triceps pushdowns 10 reps

Barbell body drag curls 10 reps

Barbell body drag curls are just like barbell curls, only you keep the bar in contact with your body and drag it up to your neck. That removes front-delt recruitment.

Seated wrist curls 12 reps

Leg extensions 12 reps

Leg curls 12 reps

Standing calf raises 20 reps

Now the really crazy part: Do the above six days a week.

Remember, this is a month long program for getting in the best shape in the shortest time. The progression is as follows:

Week 1: One set of each exercise, six days a week.

Week 2: Two sets per exercise, six days a week.

Week 3: Three sets, six days.

Week 4: Three sets, six days.

After one month, for those who aren’t preparing for a movie role, Vince recommended dropping back to a three- or four-days-a-week schedule—but the choice is yours.

Don’t dismiss this routine—it’s worked for hundreds, perhaps thousands of people.

Training to Failure for Muscular Growth

Muscle tissue does not grow unless taxed 85 percent but beware, never work to 100 percent because maximum energy output will stop all muscular growth.

The Art of Bodybuilding Posing

The Art of Bodybuilding PosingThe idea behind bodybuilding posing is to create effect and illusion.

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.

The 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.

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.

I cannot over-emphasize how important these (seemingly) little things are. They all add up to winning.

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