As Joe Weider and many others have noted, Gold's Gym in Venice Beach wasn't much too look at on the inside. By today's standards, it was somewhere between a prison gym and a warehouse. But the work being done there was stunning to behold—particularly on heavy chest-and-back days like today, and particularly when Arnold was in the house. Here's how author Charles Gaines recalled the scene in the book "Pumping Iron:"
"There is a quality of festiveness, a strong sense of celebration, at Gold's that you don't find other gyms. It has to do with pride. Many of the biggest names in bodybuilding are regulars&mdashFranco Colombu, Frank Zane, Dave Draper, Ken Waller. And hotshots from all over the world make annual pilgrimages here. More than half the winners of the big three September contests in New York will come from this one gym, and the people here know it. They know Gold's is where it's at. And they know why. It is mostly because of the 6-foot-2, 235-pound Austrian over there doing bench presses. He attracts the best because he states their case. They come from all over to follow his training, and also because he is the embodied articulation of what they do.
"The people standing around now watching his chest are looking at an idea made fact—a chest carried out of mind to absolute and final form. And there is another thing. Because he is a natural, cleaving as closely to this strange sport-art as a piece of Saran Wrap to a table, to watch him train is to glimpse immediately and vividly what is most real about the development of a body for exhibition. Other bodybuilders can read the true train of their commitment through him as easily as they can count the divisions of muscle beneath the skin on his chest."
If you've made it this far, your commitment isn't in doubt. Use it to power through this chest and back workout straight from bodybuilding's golden age!