T Nation

The Classical Look


Found this pic- thought it was interesting. Don't know what year it is from- maybe late 40's or early 50's. Obviously, this was before roids and other drugs became widely used. While I am personally gratefeul to have the option of using steroids- I prefer the look of these guys over today's pro bodybuilders.


personally i also prefer those trunks over todays, would be interesting to see when the turning point was and people started making the change, than we should find them and shoot them...just my opinion:)


Those guys have pretty much the EXACT physique I'm looking after. It doesn't look as freaky as today's BB's or as skinny as Brad Pitt in Snatch, yet there is serious size and definition and above all, it looks healthy.

Let's not forget manly, too. Those guys are probably lumberjacks. That or pirates.


I think thats Steve Reeves on the left....his goal always was to acheieve a classic look...he did not like the current olympians..

he worked out 3 times a week whole body workouts.....


Yeah. The bodybuilders of that era look to me like your average well-muscled, lean guy on the beach. Just taken a little bit to the next level. As far as the bodybuilding's peak however, I would say it's the 70s. More mass than earlier body builders but not the bloated, GH, roid-ladden bodybuilders of today. I think most any guy would be happy to look like the bodybuilders of the 40s and 50s. A good amount would like to look like the bodybuilders of the 70s. And almost no one would like to look the current bodybuilders.


Have to agree, I think guys like Draper were about right, before the next decade when it went to extremes...


These were the times when D-bol became available and was called "the breakfast of champions"


There are three easy ways to help this to become the BB appearance of the future:

  1. Boycott all steroid-based BB shows and BB'ers.

  2. Boycott all glossy mags and that feature obvious steroid users in their articles or ads. Boycott these advertisers as well.

  3. Get a classic physique for yourself using the classical methodology--hard work and diet.


All this implies that the guys pictured above were "natural". It also implies that the current crop of pros know nothing about hard work and diet. I would argue against both, but yes these old school guys do look better and healthier.


Well, if the pic of the guys above was taken in the 40's - then indeed they were natural.

I believe that the first time roids were used to improve athletic performance was sometime during the mid-50s


Well, they look natural. Or at least their physiques are entirely achievable naturally. I don't think it implies that current pros don't know about hard work and diet either. Just that practically everyone today outside the very small community of pro bodybuilders deplores the current look that's favored and the drug regimen required to get it.


The first picture is (l. to r.) Steve Reeves, George Eifferman, Armand Tanny, I'm not sure of the last guy. Probably late 40's early 50's.

In my opinion, the best of times.


I think he looks about perfect. Of course it helps that he was extremely cute too.


This Steve Reeves pic is hilarious for some reason. All three looks are priceless. It's like a telepathic consention of a menage a trois.


Granted, he came but a bit later but check out Reg Park's routine for the 1958 Olympia.
Be patient--the site is a bit slow


Too many teeth to be pirates.


I like the info from Reg's workout for the 58 Olympia. I find is use of volume interesting. His strong points more sets than reps and probably higher weight and drastically more volume on weaker points. Ex.g: the reps for calves, try walking after that.

All in all I agree, the men from this era have the best physique, strong healthy and practical (I'm sure they could run if need be.)


I have a huge problem with todays pro bodybuilders, and its not the fact that they are 250+ lbs at 5% bf. It's that they are extremely unhealthy. The IFBB and others need to stand together and enforce judging criteria that does not reward those who ABUSE drugs. If your bodyfat is under 6% and you still dont have a six-pack something is seriously wrong, abusing GH to that level is a real shame, especially because the bloated, distended abdomen (a.k.a GH gut) is not visually appealing at all.

Winning a Mr.Olympia should be about hardwork, dedication and sacrifice obviously, but I dont think half killing yourself with a schmorgusboard of drugs and diuretics is the right kind of sacrifice. Drugs can build amazing physiques when used responsibly, and I think pro bodybuilders send an extremely distorted message by not being frank about the fact that they are SERIOUSLY damaging their bodies in order to win.


I wish it was still like that today! The 40's, 50's & 60's. Reeves bb book is a great one. Those guys were so impressive, healthy & functional too!


Another great pic.