as we know it today began some sixty years ago when men like John
Grimek and Steve Reeves lifted weights in preparation for the first
Mr. America title in the late 30's. The famed Muscle Beach emerged
in Santa Monica, California in the 40's. And, as I recollect, it
was in the mellow mid-50's when I lifted my first set of barbells.
Little did I know the reps and sets, moans and groans that lay before
was just a kid and virtually nobody was doing that sort of thing.
Weightlifting and muscle building didn't have wide public appeal
or approval and 99 out of 100 athletic coaches gave it the thumbs
down. There wasn't a whole bunch of encouragement or inspiration
from a society which considered you either stupid or egotistical
and probably a sissy. The two guys who inspired me to lift in those
days were Anthony Petrowski and Tony Nepeerski, local dock workers
with powerful arms from hard work, meat and potatoes and some knarly
arranged a makeshift set of weights and within a month I was fully
hooked on lifting. By the age of twelve, barbells and dumbbells
had become very important to me. They were my solid steel friends
that I could trust. When the going got tough, when I kept missing
the baseball, and when girls were far too cute to talk to, the weights
were there and they spoke my language. I loved the resistance they
offered and without coaching, gymnasiums or teams of players, I
could enjoy a basic oneness of the activity where you were in control
of being controlled.
wrestled with those little monsters for hours on end, pushing and
pulling randomly to exhaustion until patterns of exercises formed.
Slowly and surely my body took shape and muscle power and size became
evident. It's interesting to note here that these things took place
almost by accident. I knew of no muscle magazines, looked toward
no competitive rewards, idols or flimsy self-gratification. Simply,
the play and pleasure of painfully pressing on was my stimulus.
And, too, I admit that the exclusiveness and loneness of the adventure
had and still has a quality that reaches to the marrow of my bones.
high school I wrestled a bit, worked on the high bar and swam competitively,
but it was the weights that buoyed me up. A job with Weider Barbell
Company lured me to Santa Monica, California after winning the Mr.
New Jersey title in 1962. There at Muscle Beach, as it faded off
into the beautiful California sunset, I met and shared with the
last of the true erectors of the bodybuilding foundations - the
cornerstones such as Joe Gold, Zabo, George Eifferman, Bill Pearl,
Armand Tanny, Clancy Ross and Steve Reeves. A handful of mighty
men - heroes - that formed the nucleus of bodybuilding and lived
those golden, carefree days gone by.
men with instincts intact felt their way around the weights and
equipment, lifting more and intellectualizing less. And to them
I attribute a certain quality of creativity in my training and an
appreciation of the fundamentals. The late 60's have been referred
to as the "Golden Years of Bodybuilding", when big men
pressed on methodically and with great concentration. During those
years the various training principles were set down and stand distinctly
today - sound, tried and true.
went on to win the Mr. America title in 1965 and the Mr. Universe
in '66. In 1970, after winning the Mr. World in Columbus, Ohio,
I sensed a sifting of the gears in bodybuilding and stepped out
of competition. The sport took off like a rocket to the moon, soaring
into the 80's with ever increasing momentum.
Photos are thumbnails - click for enlarged view.)
bodybuilding has gained amazing popularity worldwide, both as a
participant sport and as a spectator sport. At last the image associated
with muscles has been appropriately lifted and the respect and appreciation
a bodybuilder deserves is clear. Furthermore, big muscles have become
live in a crowded and intense world where computers spit out information
faster that we can use it and the media has us confused as to who
we are and what to expect of ourselves. We've arranged a hi-tech
world and often find ourselves trailing far behind, frantically
trying to keep the pace. And the world of bodybuilding has not escaped
this dilemma. We want results and we want them now - lean hard bodies
from QuickStop bodybuilding and fast food appetites. And from this
hurried attitude the only sure results are stress, injury and frustration.
are researchers and scientists, a people hungry for information,
details and data. And
in our quest we have made things far too complicated. In publishing
this website, I hope to pass on some thoughts that are basic and
simple; thoughts that have occurred to me before, during and after
my 40+ years of training sessions.
Jeff Everson once said to me, "There are no secrets. You simply
have basic God-given genetics, body chemistry and bone structure.
And provided the attributes of discipline and determination, you
apply yourself full bore, and your body potential emerges - slow
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We 'Mirin Vol. 61: 20 Shredded Physiques
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Remembering A Fitness Icon: Greg Plitt (1977-2015)