T Nation

'Golden Age' of Bodybuilding


Hm, I might have had a misconception brought to my attention the other day when I was rereading through an old copy of Bill Pearl's Getting Stronger, that came out in the 80s.

Within Pearl's section on steroids he reminisces about his experiences and the culture which he participated in, in the late 50s into the early 70s. According to him steroids appeared on the bodybuilding scene in 1958, around which time he began taking (though apparently stopped). Though roids were primitive and limited (he mentions only one) he reports his strength and mass gains significantly improved, even too much so.

He acknowledges that by the 60s the drug culture was already well developed within competitive bodybuilding.

I always thought that, apparently incorrectly, that the Golden Age referred not just to an aesthetic but to an ethic, that of drug-free fitness and development.


No. It implies drugs. But with that implication comes the fact that the drugs were used more judiciously instead of trying to build to monstrous size irregardless of proportion. It also refers to when bodybuilders and powerlifters often trained the same instead of this crap about two different methods.


Here come the grammar police...regardless =P



I'm not sure those are in the dictionary. But I think they're used correctly.


Golden age is before the late 50's. Golden age is early 1900's.


http://www.eugensandow.com/story1.html here's a link to Sandow the king of the golden age


The Golden Age usually refers to the late 50's and 60's.


Go teach yourself something.

Sandow was considered "early age bodybuilding" especially since they focused much more on acrobatic feats.



He trained with Vince Gironda, another well-known bodybuilder of the golden age.


Why would they care back then about being "drug free"? The social stigma was not attached the way it is now. No one even talked about it openly. It was never the primary focus back then even though many used them.


Did you think Arnold never took steroids?

Imo the Golden 'era' of bodybuilding is the 60's and 70's. Possibly starting in the 50's as X stated. Its when Arnold was winning all of his Olympia's and bodybuilding started to become popular.

Before then, men who lifted weights were considered 'gay' etc. Going to the gym was an odd thing to do.

After the Golden 'age' or 'era', whichever you prefer, going to the gym was accepted as normal, common, and cool. :stuck_out_tongue:

Triple-10-sets I'm sorry but your incorrect.

To answer the OP original question, the Golden era was more a time when bodybuilding was first popularized and the gods or legends that we know of today (Arnold, Zane, Sergio, Nubret, etc) became noticed.

It was more a time where sculpting an aesthetic physique was more important than just flat out mass like Ronnie, Jay, and gang. I do believe, IMO, that bodybuilding is taking a turn for aesthetics again. MASS aesthetics, but definitely still aesthetics.

And yes, Steroids will still be involved...



I remember reading an article, I think here on Tnation recently, where Gironda talked about the use of the steroid Dianabol with many of the Golden era bodybuilders. That they thought it to be a way to increase protein consumption through the gut.

I also think he mentioned that back then the common belief, or secret to getting big, was to find a way to allow your digestive system to absorb more protein.



busting out in a Bruce song, "glory daaays, they'll pass you by, glory days.


People used drugs in the 60's? :stuck_out_tongue: