John Grimek was no ordinary bodybuilder, on 25th August 1940 John entered both the Mr. America contest AND the Senior National Weightlifting Championships on the same day. He missed breaking a world Military Press weight by only one pound, but went on to beat 60 well-built competitors to win the overall Mr. America title.
In those early days of bodybuilding, which many bodybuilders now call the Golden Age, the true meaning of getting "big" was very different to what we mean today. In those days, aesthetics, balance and proportion where the foundation of bodybuilding, not the depressing parade we now see onstage these days with chemical mutants showing us all how disproportionate too much muscle looks like.
There was a camaraderie of showmanship in those days, celebrating the beauty of the human body. John Grimek is one of the very few bodybuilders that has NEVER lost a bodybuilding contest. With a chest as wide as a highway and a huge set of biceps together with his tiny waist, critics said John set a precedent for the human form.
John inspired millions of fans because he was not only very good looking with perfect body proportions, but he was immensely strong and competed as a weightlifter at the 1936 Olympic games. But John was more than just strong, he was flexible with amazing dexterity and would often do the back-flip or the splits when competing at a show.
He was born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey to Hungarian parents on June 17th 1910. When John beat Steve Reeves 38 years later at the NABBA Mr. Universe in 1948, Steve said that John was the best bodybuilder in history. John actually beat the great Steve Reeves again a year later at the 1949 AAU Mr. USA, before he retired.
There was nothing complicated about John's training. He would use heavy dumbbells a lot and would do an enormous about of squats. In his words John says that he never trains on a split routine isolating one muscle group one day and another muscle group the next day.
John says that the ONLY isolation work he would ever do was after his 2 or more hour grueling high intensity workouts; he might do more back or chest to failure if he felt that body-part did not get enough. But John would do that same crazy workouts, doing 100s of reps and squat up to 5 and sometimes even 6 times a week.
In his opinion if you want to add muscle you just need to train with this kind of intensity 2 or 3 times a week and ALWAYS try to push more weight than you can, eat good food plus drink lots water and get plenty rest. John could deadlift over 600lbs, squat with 700lbs and bench-press 480lbs, he was super strong.
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