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Vince Gironda's Secrets To Building The Perfect Physique!

Remember the awesome physiques of the past? The ones that had the classic look of big arms, wide shoulders, chests and backs tapering down to small waists and hips, then sweeping big thighs and awesome calves. Find out how Vince Gironda did it!

By: Paul Becker

Bodybuilding is not weightlifting or powerlifting, but many people that want to be bodybuilders train too much like weightlifters or powerlifters.

A bodybuilder's goal should be to build a perfect physique, not to lift as much weight as possible in weightlifting or powerlifting exercises.

What Is The Perfect Physique?

Remember the awesome physiques of the past - the ones that had the classic look of big arms, wide shoulders, chests and backs tapering down to small waists, and hips and then sweeping out to big thighs and awesome calves? They had the perfect package of shapely mass and cuts.

To get that kind of look you have to train like a bodybuilder or even better think of you self as a body sculptor.

Body Sculpting

Vince called this "Creating an Illusion" but I think that confused people, what Vince really meant was you don't just look big you will be big, but you will look even bigger because you will have built muscle in the right places and avoided building up areas that will take away from the look you want and may actually make you look smaller overall.

You need to use barbells and dumbbells to sculpt you body, not just train with out bothering to thinking about what you are doing.

The right way to do this is to work the portion of each muscle that the average bodybuilder neglects, and to work those portions within your own individual recuperative abilities, along with proper nutrition or course.

In order to proportion each muscle properly, you will workout only one exercise per muscle and this will be the exercise that will bring out the right part of the muscle we want to build. This allows you to put all your energy into building that one exercise, this along with 100% recuperation will bring about fast growth.

Shoulders

Most bodybuilders have over developed front delts from doing the bench press, and overoverhead press, but it's the side or lateral part of the delt that really creates shoulder width. The lateral raise builds the side delt and sculpts wide shoulders.

Here is the right way to do lateral raises to build very wide shoulders. Standing, take two dumbbells and hold them in front of your hips with the palms facing each other. The plates of the dumbbells should be touching. From this position raise out to the sides with the elbows unlocked and slightly bent. Travel upwards until the bells have reached the level of the top of your ears. The palms are down and knuckles are in the up position. Never let the front of the bells raise higher than the back. It is important you keep the front of the bells lower than the back when you reach the upper position. Do not let the bells swing back and keep them slightly in front of the body at all times.

Do not jerk swing the dumbbells up and do not let them simply drop down. You must keep total control throughout the entire movement and make the delts do the work. Swinging the dumbbells up due to excessive weight will not produce results. level.

Chest

Dips on a parallel bar that is 33 inches wide, if it is not you will not receive the intended benefit from this movement. Anything wider or narrower will not work the pecs as desired. The most important execution of the movement is in the elbows: They must be wide and straight out from the shoulders. The head has to be in a down position with the chin resting on the upper chest and the back should be rounded forward.

Cross your feet and make certain they are slightly in front of your face, not back. Dip down as far as possible and return as high as you can. Never change this position as it isolates the pectoral muscles and limits the involvement of the triceps. Performing the movement with the elbows in will emphasize more triceps than pecs.

Very few bodybuilders perform this movement as described. It is perhaps one of the best movements for building and shaping the pecs there is. But, it must be performed correctly in order to obtain the results it is capable of providing. Do not rush the movement, which seems to be a natural tendency. Take your time and get a full stretch at the bottom and contact the pecs forcefully at the top of the movement. Do not begin the movement with the triceps, concentrate on the pecs and allow them to begin the upward motion.

Back

Lat Pulls. In order for this movement to produce the intended results you must use a pulley that is 6 feet off the ground. Most lat machines and triceps machines are too high to get the desired results. If you do not have access to a machine or facility with a pulley 6 feet off the ground you can use a regular lat machine but it will not be the same

For the purpose of providing a description, I will assume you are using a seated lat row apparatus. Hands must be spaced close together. Grasp the handle and lean forward as far as you can with your knees slightly bent and let your head travel between your arms. From this position, start pulling the handle back and sit back at the same time.

As you pull and sit back the chest should travel up until you reach a perpendicular position. At this point the chest is high and the shoulders are drawn back and down for a full contraction of the lats. Keep your knees in the slightly bent position throughout the movement.

Triceps

Triceps rope pulldown. This is one of those Gironda specials. Although you are able to get results from performing this movement without the two pieces of equipment I will mention, the results will not be the same. It is imperative you either have or design these two for the best results. Item one is the pulley 6 feet off the floor mentioned in the lat movement. Item two is a small bench 16 inches high.

Vince had a "V" bench in his gym for this movement. When I had a gym I also had one built for this movement. The "V" allows you to put your head down between your elbows and places a unique stress on the triceps. If you do not have a "V" bench you can use any flat bench. If you do not have access to a pulley 6 feet off the floor nothing you do will work the same. The pulley cable must be 10 feet long and once again, 6 feet off the floor.

Reach back over your head and grab the ends of a knotted rope attached to the pulley and cable. With the elbows and head resting on the bench, pull to arms length and lockout. When you let the rope back to the starting position make certain your hands touch the upper back.

Biceps

Barbell curl. Not your normal barbell curl and definitely not performed as the majority of people perform it, which by the way in addition to being wrong does not provide the maximum benefit in the manner they execute the movement.

Performing the barbell curl as described, you will work the lower, belly and high part of the biceps with just this one movement. Consider it to be the perfect curl; in fact that is exactly what Vince called it. I'll tell you right up front this is a difficult movement to master. I will also tell you that if you continue to practice until you get it down pat you will never, I mean never, regret it. For all those wanting large shapely biceps, this is it.

Start by resting your elbows on your pelvis or hip bones and your body inclined with head and shoulders in back of the hips. As the barbell is curled the first 10 or 12 inches start moving the body, head and shoulders, forward until your body is in erect position. Then as you continue to curl the barbell incline your body, head and shoulders, forward and complete the movement with a forceful contraction of the biceps. Now reverse the sequence as you lower the barbell to the starting position. It should take you about 6 seconds to perform one curl.

I strongly suggest you begin by using about 50% of your maximum barbell curl to begin with. I also would suggest you practice using only a bar with no weights to get the movement down pat. It does take a great deal of getting use to and must be performed as outlined in order to provide the results it can.

Thighs

Thigh squat. "But I thought Vince was opposed to squats?" He was, at least the way one would normally perform the movement. This is why so many people want to disregard some of what Vince said. They did not fully grasp what he was actually saying. Vince was talking about the back squat used by power lifters. He was right in his assessment concerning that type of squat. This one however, is different.

Start the movement as you would a front squat, with the bar high on the chest resting on the front of the delts. Place your heels about 12 inches wide and on a 2 x 4. From this position begin your descent but keep your hips forward and under your shoulders at all times. As you rise up, the hips move forward until they are well out in front of the body. In the top position your knees should remain bent and your hips out in front of your shoulders and your shoulders over your heels.

As with the barbell curl mentioned earlier, this movement requires a great amount of practice to perfect. It is extremely difficult to perform. Leave your ego at home when attempting this movement; the weight you use is not important.

Calves

Calf raise. For this movement, it will be assumed you have access to a standing calf machine. If you do not you can use a belt and chain and hang a dumbbell between your knees. Place the ball of your feet and toes on a block 3 incehs tall. Feet are to be placed parallel, 4 inches apart. Keep your knees slightly bent throughout the movement. As you rise up on your toes, bring your heels together and place the full load of the weight on your big toe and the toe next to it. Contract forcefully and lower all the way down for a full stretch.

Abdominals

Frog sit ups. Lie flat on your back and draw your heels up under your hips wide and out to the sides like a frog. Place your hands with a barbell plate behind your head. Curl the head down with the chin to the chest as the shoulders round forward curling the upper body until only the small of the back remains in contact with the floor.

This movement is not a stiff back sit up, it is a roll movement and you must perform it as such for it to produce results. Vince did not advocate performing any more sets and reps for the abs than you would do for any other muscle group.

The Routine

Front Lateral Raise - 3 sets of 8 reps
Chest Dips - 3 sets of 8 reps
Front Lat Pulldowns - 3 sets of 8 reps
Tricep Rope Pulldown - 3 sets of 8 reps
Barbell Curls - 3 sets of 8 reps
Hack Squat - 3 sets of 8 reps
Seated Calf Raise - 3 sets of 8 reps
Frog Sit-ups - 3 sets of 8 reps

Click Here For A Printable Version Of This Routine!

Be Sure To ...

Do this routine for a month then, starting on the second month this should be increased to 5 sets of 5 reps, the third month 6 sets of 6 reps and the fourth month on 8 sets of 8 reps.

As always, if you have any questions or comments feel free to e-mail me at muscle@relaypoint.net and be sure to visit my website at http://www.trulyhuge.com.

This article is dedicated to the memory of Vince Gironda.
Copyright © 2002 by Paul Becker. All rights reserved.

Best,

Vince Gironda's Secrets To Building The Perfect Physique!
muscle@relaypoint.net

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MaudP

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Great article helped a lot

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kirucosmin

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kirucosmin

Vince is my idol and now I am on his "Steak and eggs diet" and 8X8 training program and I feel awsome

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