T Nation

Top Bodybuilding Mistakes: Gironda

i, personally, always get a good laugh when i hear someone attempt to trash gironda’s physique… i’d be genuinely interested to see how many people who read and post on this 'site have a comparable body build (i know i’m certainly not one of them!)

the guy simply had an amazing physique, especially when you consider the following two points: 1. he seemed to be ridiculously shredded most of the time and 2. he didn’t use steroids. hasn’t anyone seen pictures of bodybuilders who either didn’t use, or were around before, steroids came into play?

a physique like gironda’s, or sandow’s, for example, simply represents the upper limit of natural genetic development. if this level of natural muscularity and body composition is now considered pedestrian, i simply don’t know what to say about this whole thing…

Ok so:

  1. Protien and carbs bad together ? No.

  2. Don’t work upper/lower/abs every workout ? So those gosh-darn Olympic weightlifters have it all wrong eh ? Let’s just ignore the fact that they usually have incredible-look physiques and great athletic prowess. See: Pyros Dimas or any other non-SHW. Even some SHW look ok from a bodybuilding standpoint.

  3. No squats ? Well, at least he advocated front squats but I agree he had no ass.

  4. No cheat exercises ? Some power/cheat curls don’t hurt once in a while. See: strongmen.

However, he was smart enough to advocate supplementation. He also advocated a low-carb diet and his guys looked pretty shredded for their day. Enzymes at every meal ? I assume that means BCAAs and other nutrients.

In addition, leaning back and touching your sternum to the bar is very hard, but, I have never felt my lats quite so much in any other excersice. I can’t really see why anyone’s workout should take over an hour. So, I sort-of agree with that statment. Get into the gym, warm-up, and get cracking.

[quote]Hekk wrote:
6. Mixing carbohydrates and protein.

Has he ever heard about anabolism which is created by an insulin reaction to an ingestion of carbs…?[/quote]

idk if this was sarcasm but this was almost 50 years ago… not much scientific research was available to the iron community back then

Couldn’t agree more:

  1. Over training! (Anything over 45 minutes is over training.)
  2. Working out too slowly. [I think he means rest time, not rep speed]
  3. Full Sit Ups and Leg Raises.
  4. Working abdominals every workout.
  5. Underworking and overworking a muscle by performing too wide a variety of exercises on a given muscle.
  6. Skipping breakfast.
  7. Side Bends.
  8. Not selecting the proper exercise for deficient muscle areas.
  9. Not keeping chin on chest, feet under face and elbows wide on parallel dips for pecs.
  10. No knowledge of combining exercises.
  11. Not changing program often enough.
  12. No knowledge of breaking a rut.
  13. Not specializing on slow growing areas.
  14. Not taking supplements.
  15. Lack of concentration during workouts.
  16. Unwillingness to accept new or different concepts.
  17. Jogging.

These Need More Information:
11. Leg Presses [I think he’s talking about kidding yourself with a 6-inch ROM]
13. Cheating exercises [I think he means people that cheat all the time, from rep 1]
14. Presses for deltoid [Old idea: doing these unncessary if you do lots of bench and incline work. New Idea: Drop the benches for a while and concentrate on your overhead work (or alternate!)]
33. Not having an expert to answer your questions. [in the 21st century we have too many experts!]

A Bit Off Base Here:
5. Working upper body and legs on the same day [Not for everyone, but it has its place].
7. Not raising up on the big toe when doing Toe Raises (also pulling heels together at counteraction.) [Stretching is more important]
8. Bench Presses for Pecs. (90% Front Deltoid.) [varies from person toperson]
17. Behind neck Chins on Pull-down Machine (Rounded Back.)

Dead Wrong on These:
6. Not touching chest to bar and calling it chinning.
[A. clearing the bar with your chin is sufficient
B. With retracted scaps, bar-to-chest is nigh impossible and
C. Will definitely limit the weight you use]
9. Not touching all four bells together on dumbbell bench work. (90% Deltoid if not performed this way.) [the pecs work hardest if the lower 2/3 are emphasized. The top 1/3 is 75% triceps]
10. Deep Knee Bends. [been effectively disproven since Vinnie’s time]
22. Not arching back on lat work. [too much arch can fuck you up bad. Retracting your scapula much more important]
23. Leg Extensions. [invaluable for rehab]
24. Leg Curls on extension table.[ditto 23]
15. One arm exercises.
16. Mixing carbohydrates and protein.
18. Not working Hyperextensions and forearms on every upper body day. [MedX studies showed the lower back does best with less work than other muscle groups (1-2 times per week MAX). Forearms will vary from person to person]

Take 'it or Leave 'it:
21. Not ingesting enzymes at every meal.[Polquin’s HCL at every meal has been working wonders for my digestion!]

Conspicuously Missing - Vinnie’s #1 Fucktarded Advice of All Time:
Do Wide-Grip Bench Press to the Neck to build your pecs — Yow, my rotator cuffs are cringing just thinking about it!!!

[quote]simon-hecubus wrote:
Couldn’t agree more:

  1. Over training! (Anything over 45 minutes is over training.)
  2. Working out too slowly.
  3. Full Sit Ups and Leg Raises.
  4. Working abdominals every workout.
  5. Under working and over working a muscle by performing too wide a variety of exercises on a given muscle.
  6. Skipping breakfast.
  7. Side Bends.
  8. Not selecting the proper exercise for deficient muscle areas.
  9. Not keeping chin on chest, feet under face and elbows wide on parallel dips for pecs.
  10. No knowledge of combining exercises.
  11. Not changing program often enough.
  12. No knowledge of breaking a rut.
  13. Not specializing on slow growing areas.
  14. Not taking supplements.
  15. Lack of concentration during workouts.
  16. Unwillingness to accept new or different concepts.
  17. Jogging.

These Need More Information:
11. Leg Presses [I think he’s talking about kidding yourself with a 6-inch ROM]
13. Cheating exercises [I think he means people that cheat all the time, from rep 1]
14. Presses for deltoid [doing too many unncessary if you do lots of bench and incline work]
33. Not having an expert to answer your questions. [in the 21st century we have too many experts!]

A Bit Off Base Here:
5. Working upper body and legs on the same day [Has it’s place].
6. Not touching chest to bar and calling it chinning. [clearing the bar with your chin is sufficient]
7. Not raising up on the big toe when doing Toe Raises (also pulling heels together at counteraction.) [Stretching is more important]
8. Bench Presses for Pecs. (90% Front Deltoid.) [varies from person toperson]
17. Behind neck Chins on Pull-down Machine (Rounded Back.)

Dead Wrong on These:
9. Not touching all four bells together on dumbbell bench work. (90% Deltoid if not performed this way.) [the pecs work hardest if the lower 2/3 are emphasized. The top 1/3 is 75% triceps]
10. Deep Knee Bends. [been effectively disproven since Vinnie’s time]
22. Not arching back on lat work. [too much arch can fuck you up bad. Retracting your scapula much more important]
23. Leg Extensions. [invaluable for rehab]
24. Leg Curls on extension table.[ditto 23]
15. One arm exercises.
16. Mixing carbohydrates and protein.
18. Not working Hyperextensions and forearms on every upper body day. [MedX studies showed the lower back does best with less work than other muscle groups (1-2 times per week MAX). Forearms will vary from person to person]

Take 'em or Leave 'em:
21. Not ingesting enzymes at every meal.

Conspicuously missing is Vinnie’s #1 fucktarded advice of all time:
Do Wide-Grip Bench Press to the Neck to build your pecs — my rotator cuffs are cringing just thinking about it!

[/quote]

Have you tried wide grip neck presses?

I tore my rotator cuff from benchpressing, have had two surgeries, and find that they are one of the few pressing movements I can do that dont hurt like a bitch the next day.

Since Thibs started including these in his articles I have been doing them and feel that they are one of the most underrated lifts out there. I certainly wouldnt refer to them as “fucktarded”

[quote]Donut62 wrote:
Some good stuff in there, Gironda was definetely a thinker.[/quote]

Reminds me of Rodney Dangerfield and Sam Kinison on “Back to School”

Melvin/Rodney: “That guy’s a great teacher; he really cares! (aside) About what I DON’T know!”

[quote]Conspicuously missing is Vinnie’s #1 fucktarded advice of all time:
Do Wide-Grip Bench Press to the Neck to build your pecs — my rotator cuffs are cringing just thinking about it!

[/quote]

-actually, these are pretty good, you should give them a try. i have had things irritate my shoulders in the past, these dont at all. they are harder, meaning you cant take the same weight you “regular” press for 10 reps and do it to the neck for 10 reps…or at least i couldnt.

when i perform these there is a very very clear difference from a regular bench, its almost all put onto the upper portion of my chest. in fact, i think its place falls in being an alternative, if not a replacement, for incline work…again, personal experience, i feel this much more in my upper pecs than regular inclines.

Some of his ideas may be outdated but you can’t argue with results. He trained Larry Scott and several other high level champions with physiques most would die for.

This is a great example of “what works for me must work for everyone else!”

At least half of these contradict at least one of the expert authors on this site, and they don’t all agree with each other either.

Overtraining is more then just working out over 45 minutes. If you’re an experiences athlete, you can definately work out for longer periods of time without burning out.
Also, Berardi(I think) recently debunked this. If you utilize some fast digestable carbs during training you can very well train on.

Fucking gym-snails. You can overemphasize this one for sure.

Leg Raises are nice for the psoas.

Agreed, it’s pretty retarded unless you follow a very specialized routine for a specific sport.

not sure

Let’s call it cheat-chins and be friends again.

Ridiculous. Everyone is different. One benches with shoulders and triceps only, others can sqeeze the shit out of their pecs with BP.

[quote]9. Not touching all four bells together on dumbbell bench work. (90% Deltoid if not performed this way.)
10. Deep Knee Bends.
11. Leg Presses.[/quote]
???

I think some people have a different view what cheating actually is. Making an exercise a bit more dynamic and/or shortening the ROM is definetely OK here an now. Doing a standing Bench Press instead of a stricr military press is not OK.

???

???

Amen

Interesting…

I never quite understood nor liked this shitty exercise. Good to know Gironda didn’t either

Interesting

[quote]23. Leg Extensions.
24. Leg Curls on extension table.[/quote]
I thought Gironda avoided squats. So when Leg extensions are also banned, how did he build strong Quads?

AMEN

“Making notes”…

[quote]27. No knowledge of combining exercises.
28. Not changing program often enough.
29. No knowledge of breaking a rut.
30. Not specializing on slow growing areas.
31. Not taking supplements.
32. Lack of concentration during workouts.
33. Not having an expert to answer your questions.
34. Unwillingness to accept new or different concepts.[/quote]
Self explanatory

I disagree. You need some form of intense as well as moderate cardio.

[quote]Majin wrote:
Gironda was skinny, period.[/quote]

I wouldnt call him skinny. If you read any of his writings you would understand he hated the “huge” bodybuilder look that started around the 80’s where size was the most important thing. He believed in an aesthetic physique,such as Frank Zane or Serge Nubret, and believed you could create an alusion of being much bigger by shaping certain muscles.

I have used neck bb presses many times and have no problems with my shoulders. (CT recently incorporated them into his workout as well as many of gironda’s other principles)

He also did not believe in back squats, he felt that they made the hips and ass to wide/big and took away from the overall physique. Again, he was concerned with shape and balance, not simply being big.

[quote]GJA_BOSTON wrote:
Majin wrote:
Gironda was skinny, period.

I wouldnt call him skinny. If you read any of his writings you would understand he hated the “huge” bodybuilder look that started around the 80’s where size was the most important thing. He believed in an aesthetic physique,such as Frank Zane or Serge Nubret, and believed you could create an alusion of being much bigger by shaping certain muscles.

I have used neck bb presses many times and have no problems with my shoulders. (CT recently incorporated them into his workout as well as many of gironda’s other principles)

He also did not believe in back squats, he felt that they made the hips and ass to wide/big and took away from the overall physique. Again, he was concerned with shape and balance, not simply being big.

[/quote]

Good point and good post. Two things that strike me as funny:

  1. People comparing Gironda to modern day powerlifting is apples and oranges.

  2. I’m willing to bet most people on this site have neither the conditioning nor the size of Gironda (and I am not saying he is huge, either). Skinny legs and flat ass? Come on!

[quote]ytbones wrote:
Majin wrote:
Gironda was skinny, period.

Staley is “skinny”

Alwyn Cosgrove is “skinny”
[/quote]

They weren’t bodybuilders.

[quote]GJA_BOSTON wrote:
Majin wrote:
Gironda was skinny, period.

I wouldnt call him skinny. If you read any of his writings you would understand he hated the “huge” bodybuilder look that started around the 80’s where size was the most important thing. He believed in an aesthetic physique,such as Frank Zane or Serge Nubret, and believed you could create an alusion of being much bigger by shaping certain muscles…[…]…Again, he was concerned with shape and balance, not simply being big.
[/quote]

Great, but he wasn’t that either. He was neither Zane nor Nubret and he didn’t have a shapely and balanced physique. Gironda looks like a guy who doesn’t have enough muscle to get cut yet goes all out and shows off his veins. I’m sure he has some good theories and practices, but with all that ‘knowledge’ he couldn’t even buid half-decent size arms.

This thread is retarded.

Gironda was ahead of his time, and much of what he said then applies now.

Also, remember that his recommendations were for the “bodybuilder” not the “weightlifter.” That changes things quite a bit. He was all about creating an illusion and developing the body, not just lifting big weights.

He wasn’t against all squatting. He just felt that certain people were better built for it than others. For the majority of the population, he recommended front squats, hack squats and other quad exercises!

He looked good for his time (and even now), and he obviously worked hard and practiced what he preached. If his arms aren’t big enough for you, maybe it wasn’t his training and methods that held him back, but maybe that was his genetic potential. I guarantee he still looks better and built a better physique than 90% of the people on this forum.

And if you are so quick to criticize Gironda, I guess that means you are criticizing CT, as much of what he has been writing and using in his training and articles has been based on Gironda’s teachings. If you’ve read much of Gironda’s work, you would see just how similar CT’s stuff is. And then it wouldn’t seem so revolutionary.

Not knocking on CT. He’s done a great job of moving toward the bodybuilding side of things. And I find it truly interesting that he has been studying one of the masters of bodybuilding and now incorporating or bringing back many of the same methods.

Just a thought.

[quote]Majin wrote:
GJA_BOSTON wrote:
Majin wrote:
Gironda was skinny, period.

I wouldnt call him skinny. If you read any of his writings you would understand he hated the “huge” bodybuilder look that started around the 80’s where size was the most important thing. He believed in an aesthetic physique,such as Frank Zane or Serge Nubret, and believed you could create an alusion of being much bigger by shaping certain muscles…[…]…Again, he was concerned with shape and balance, not simply being big.

Great, but he wasn’t that either. He was neither Zane nor Nubret and he didn’t have a shapely and balanced physique. Gironda looks like a guy who doesn’t have enough muscle to get cut yet goes all out and shows off his veins. I’m sure he has some good theories and practices, but with all that ‘knowledge’ he couldn’t even buid half-decent size arms.[/quote]

At what point did I compare him with Serge or Zane? I said he He believed in an aesthetic physique,such as Frank Zane or Serge Nubret.
When you call him “skinny” you lose all credibilty.

He in fact had a great physique.He competed several times and I believe won or placed very high on some senior competions when he was in his 40’s or 50’s. You cannot look at people from that era and compare them to the monsters that are on stage today. Larry Scott, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sergio Oliva, Freddy Ortiz, Mohamed Makkawy, Don Howorth, Reg Lewis, all trained with him at some point and none of them would be allowed on stage with ronnie coleman today.

Anyone that lifts weights to change the look of their physique is a bodybuilder. The term is not restricted to people with 22 inch arms and 30 inch thighs.

[quote]Nate Dogg wrote:
This thread is retarded.

Gironda was ahead of his time, and much of what he said then applies now.

Also, remember that his recommendations were for the “bodybuilder” not the “weightlifter.” That changes things quite a bit. He was all about creating an illusion and developing the body, not just lifting big weights.

He wasn’t against all squatting. He just felt that certain people were better built for it than others. For the majority of the population, he recommended front squats, hack squats and other quad exercises!

He looked good for his time (and even now), and he obviously worked hard and practiced what he preached. If his arms aren’t big enough for you, maybe it wasn’t his training and methods that held him back, but maybe that was his genetic potential. I guarantee he still looks better and built a better physique than 90% of the people on this forum.

And if you are so quick to criticize Gironda, I guess that means you are criticizing CT, as much of what he has been writing and using in his training and articles has been based on Gironda’s teachings. If you’ve read much of Gironda’s work, you would see just how similar CT’s stuff is. And then it wouldn’t seem so revolutionary.

Not knocking on CT. He’s done a great job of moving toward the bodybuilding side of things. And I find it truly interesting that he has been studying one of the masters of bodybuilding and now incorporating or bringing back many of the same methods.

Just a thought.[/quote]

Outstanding post Nate

[quote]Majin wrote:
ytbones wrote:
Majin wrote:
Gironda was skinny, period.

Staley is “skinny”

Alwyn Cosgrove is “skinny”

They weren’t bodybuilders.
[/quote]

No, they are trainers. Gironda was most known for his training ability. The top bodybuilders from his era trained under him. He was also the go to guy for Hollywood stars looking to get into shape for a movie.

In terms of bodybuilding, in Gironda’s time his physique was highly regarded (although sometimes he was considered too ripped).

I would challenge anyone on this forum to post a pic of themselves so we can comapare them to Gironda’s.

This is a good thread. Just remember that not everything works for everybody, and then, not all the time neither.

All ideas presented by all coaches should be tried, tested, and if they do not work for you, changed.

A good coach should be able to say “do this approach for 2 months … if will feel like such and such for week 1, week 2 feel stronger, week 3 feel weaker, week 4 cut back and feel stronger” etc… ie THEY SHOULD OUTLINE THE FEEDBACK you should be getting from your body.

All routines etc… should be a guideline of what to do and an outline of the feedback you should be getting from your body. That latter part is missing usually unless you are there with the coach in person.

The supreme rule is that if it works, use it, if it does not work, do something else. That means you need an idea of what to try and a guideline about how it should feel ie the feedback about whether it is working or not.

I would say all Gironda’s ideas are worth giving a go but I would also say they do NOT apply to everyone at all times.

Gironda was a small fellow in fact he just looks like a normal guy with a V shape. A lot of coaches are not mass monsters but generally they are in good condition (well, not ALL). You should not judge a coach on their own physique but on their ability to transform other people, especially, normal people (not superstars).

A few people have called Gironda skinny including myself, well, he was compared to today. This doesn’t take anything away from him and I think if he was around today and wanted to build a monster phsyique he would have no trouble doing so.

But there are many many people who achieve a physique surpassing Gironda’s today who are breaking nearly all his “rules”. Trying a whole bunch of different approaches and finding ways to make them work.

Also he might have been trainer to the stars but I can’t think of a single actor who had a half decent physique back then except Kirk Douglass who used to wrestle and even he was nothing special. So if anyone can tell me who these stars were that’d be great.

Back then it seems there were a small handful of bodybuilding superstars who seemed to fluke the combination of genetics, good trainers or at least a good approach, good diet, possibly drugs as well. And probably an army of others who missed one of those things and didn’t get very far at all. Plus a lot of people who grew up doing hard manual labour and had a natural grounding that helped out. These are just my thoughts.

My point is that Gironda probably took some average people to some good progress back in the day, but today, those same average people could pick from a myriad of approaches at odds with Gironda and get better results.