Here is some interesting information about one of the old time greats: Reg Park!
Keep in mind this was before steroids, and Bench and Squat suits.
"In the course of his training, Reg broke a great number of British records, including the dumbbell press record by lifting 258 lbs in 1953. I asked him to quote some other poundages and he replied, ?In the early 1950?s I would regularly use 185 lbs dumbbells for reps on an incline and flat bench. I couldn?t fit any more weight onto the rods.
I could rep out with 510 lbs for squats (authors note: I know the top guys of today can do that or more but during that period a good squat was between 300-400 lbs. With the time scale involved it would be akin to squatting 1,000 lbs. or more) and did a 605 lbs bench press for 2 reps at Buster McShane and Ivan Dunbar?s gym in Belfast.
I also bench 500 lbs in March 1953, again in Belfast. I also benched 500 lbs in March 1953, again in Belfast. As well, I could press behind neck with 300 lbs, and also performed alternate presses with 120 lbs of dumbbells and curled 100 lbs. dumbbells. ?I?d ask you to reread those weights and consider just how far ahead they were above most of Reg?s contemporaries.
Prior to the influence of Reg Park most UK trainees would use comparatively light weights for just one set happily squatting with their own bodyweight. Following Reg?s example, top lifters soon raised their standards with bench presses going from 200 to 400 or more.
Reg, along with his father, had their own company selling weights, equipment, books and courses, all to promote bodybuilding for the masses.
Traveling extensively and doing exhibitions, Reg met his wife, Mareon, in South Africa. By 1958, he had emigrated to Johannesburg, where he owned and ran several large gyms and sponsored the Mr. Republic South Africa contests. For most of these shows he flew guest stars in especially in 1963 it was Len Sell, then Joe Abbenda, Bill Pearl in 1965 and also Larry Scott in 1966.
Another great star and personal guest of Reg?s was the one and only Arnold Schwarzenegger, who had developed what he himself admits was an intense desire to be the world?s best bodybuilder at the tender age of 15 and always cites his idol as one Reg Park. Reg recalls, ?I first met Arnold at a show put on by Wag Bennett during one of my visits to the United Kingdom from South Africa.
He had just come second to Chet Yorton in his first ever NABBA Universe show. It was obvious to me even then that he had lots of talent and I brought him over to South Africa as a guest posers, which he enjoyed immensely?.
In the same way Reg followed Steve Reeves in winning the Universe title, so he also entered the world of movies, by becoming famous for his role as Hercules. Unlike Steve though, Reg insisted on retaining his full muscularity and really did look the part. His first film, of several in which he also proved to be a good actor, was called Hercules and the Conquest of Atlantis, made at Cinecitta near Rome.
For reasons of his own he insists he never even watched his screen test for Hercules when offered the part. He said, ?I never concerned myself with watching movies in which I starred.? After a successful screen career, and Spa Cinema Rome offered Reg a great deal of money to continue, but he refused, he returned to his South African gym business.
He later returned once more to the UK to enter the Universe contest at the NABBA Silver Jubilee in 1973, coming 4th in the pro class aged 45 years, with a younger Boyer Coe taking top place. Reg has stayed with bodybuilding for most of his life and has received many accolades. Reg was presented with a commemorative plaque for his ?Outstanding Contributions to the Sport of Bodybuilding? via the American Bodybuilding Hall of Fame, in 1986, Atlantic City, New Jersey USA.
The Association of Oldetime Barbell and Strongmen awarded Reg their 1990 Highest Achievement Award in New York, and in 1993 he was awarded the Oscar Heidenstam Foundation Hall of Fame Award. An exceptional event in itself, made even more unforgettable by a tribute paid to Reg by his son, Jon Jon Park, and Reg?s own acceptance speech. As recently as 1996, Joe Weider, who?s seen them all over the years, said these kind words, ?Reg Park was, and is, a man of culture and a true gentleman.?
Today, Reg commutes form South Africa to California on a fairly regular basis to be with his family, his wife Mareon, daughter Jeunese, grandchildren Tamarac, Lana and Kaya. His son Jon Jon, married to Michelle, has a son of his own called Trent. Jon Jon trains, as does Reg sometimes, on a one-to-one basis often at World Gym in Santa Monica. Reg trains six or seven days a week for about an hour a day, usually in the morning, and says he still really enjoys training.
Finally, I asked Reg his opinion towards hardcore, drug taking bodybuilding. He answered, ?I think the guys who sell drugs to young bodybuilders especially females, should be jailed for life and the key thrown away. Youngsters who are taking drugs are advised to stop at once. The full effects are not yet known but those that are, and the deaths that have resulted, should say enough. It is not the quality of mind and body at age twenty-five you should consider, but how well you ill function when at seventy five?.
Ovid, the ancient Roman poet, once said, ?It is not wealth nor ancestry but honourable conduct and noble disposition that make men great.? I with many others think that Reg Park is one of the true greats of bodybuilding.
CHECK OUT THE WORKOUT--He performed this routine three times per week!
A classic Reg Park workout, with one of his training partners, Spencer Churchill, circa 1951, was:
Squats: 5 x 10 x 400 lbs.
Bench Press: 3 x 10 x 320 lbs., 2 x 10 x 350 lbs.
Dumbbell Bench Presses: 5 x 10 x 140 lbs.
Dips Between Chairs: 5 x 12 (with resistance added)
Cheat Barbell Curls: 5 x 10 x 190 lbs.
Swing Bell Curls: 4 x 10 x 170 lbs.
Triceps Extensions on Bench: 5 x 10 x 170 lbs.
French Presses: 5 x 10 x 170 lbs.
Calf Exercises - Donkey Raises: 5 sets
Chins with Extra 60 Lbs. Attached to his Waist
Reg usually trained from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., 3 days a week. He gained 25 lbs of muscle in just 10 months on the above schedule. Sleeping 10 hours a night, and taking protein mixes of honey, milk and cream six times a day.
Reg, like all good champions, must have trained on a million different routines and training schedules and soon discovered what exercises and routines gave him the best results. When asked what the secret of his success was Reg replied, "You must have the right mental attitude when working out and drive yourself hard through dedication and some real rough training."