In today’s modern era of bodybuilding, there are many debates about which training methods the old school bodybuilders used during their workouts. Legendary bodybuilders like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Larry Scott, Frank Zane and Lou Ferrigno were mostly known because of their impressive body physique. However, one thing is for sure, they did not have the modern equipment that we have today. Nevertheless, the golden era bodybuilders had big and massive chest, back, tiny waist and very proportional legs. And combined with the fact that they did not have a lot of supplements at the time, their results are still impressive to present day. In this article we will take a closer look at the workout methods for building chest of the golden era bodybuilders.
Simple Training Concept
Back in the day when some of these bodybuilding legends trained, they used the a simple training concept. And this is because of the fact that they did not the luxury of using the advanced machines and devices that we have today. Simply said, their workouts were based around free weights cables. A typical workout day included higher volume training and each muscle groups was worked two to three days during the week. However, it is important to emphasize that some golden era legends often did lower volume and high-intensity training. A notable example was Arnold during his time at Gold’s Gym in Venice during the late ’70s. At this time, most of the professional bodybuilders tend to train 6 days a week. And some of them trained even more frequently as their competitions got closer. Therefore, it not unusual to see these big guys training the same muscle groups every other day.
As for the cardio part of the training, most of the old school bodybuilders preferred to increase their heart rate with intense workout regime. That way they managed to maintain a lean muscle physique. And additional training method that the Golden Era bodybuilders used was the supersets training and the pyramid concept. These early workouts programs had a galvanizing effect on today’s modern training techniques and concepts.
The Old-School Chest Workout
One of the main benefits of the old school training concept was unique chest training. On that note, it is important to emphasize that this workout program included a few compound movements combined with isolation exercise. Therefore, this training enabled bodybuilders to hit their chest hard, which in turn prompt massive muscle growth. However, it is imperative to do a few warm-up sets by using the bar first and adding some weight until you get to your working sets.
A notable example for a workout is 3-4 sets of 10 to 15 reps for each exercise. Also, your rest should be no more than 45 seconds between sets. An additional tip is to always challenge the muscles but be careful not to train with maximum weight as it can stress your nervous system.
Barbell Bench Press
The barbell bench press is one of the most well known old school chest exercise. Also, this exercise is still one of the most popular in today’s modern era of bodybuilding. And that is no coincidence. According to a research study, the barbell bench press is significantly more effective compared to the other common chest movements.
Furthermore, most of the old school bodybuilders used this exercise as a way to activate the muscle fibres. On that of that, the bench press gives you the option to have maximum poundages. And this is because the weight from the barbell provides you with bilateral weight load which spread across the surface area of the chest muscle cells. In the same time, this exercise will work your triceps and front deltoids.
Dumbbell Incline Press
Developing a massive upper chest was one of the main priorities for the old school bodybuilders. That is why it is imperative to emphasize the upper chest by opting for incline exercises which will contract the muscles from different angles around.
Also, this exercise was one of the main elements of the old school bodybuilding. After all, the Golden Age Bodybuilding was quite aware that utilizing different angles was very effective for overall chest muscle development.
Another aspect that needs to be considered is that dumbbell based exercise needs a lot more stabilization. Therefore, you will not be able to lift super heavy. However, this will develop and improve your stabilizer muscles which have an assisting role during the movement. In the same time, unilateral training can help you with muscle imbalances, building core strength, isolation, etc.
Cable Crossover Workouts
Cable Crossovers based exercises are one of the hidden secrets of the old school bodybuilders. Moreover, they are one of the main movements that can define and pull up your chest muscles. And it is no coincidence that Arnold Schwarzenegger was doing cable crossovers for his chest. Another benefit of cables is that there’s always a constant tension on the chest muscles. Therefore, you will be able to train your chest optimally while avoiding additional stress on the nervous system.
The Bottom Line
All in all, these are the main concepts of the Golden – Era bodybuilders. And they trained very hard and frequent and the result of that was an aesthetic body physique look. Therefore, you can adopt this style of training to switch up your routine and to promote massive chest growth. However, you need to train accordingly to prevent injury and to ensure that you’re getting the much-needed chest muscle growth.
Chris Hazen | firstname.lastname@example.org | Tier Operator/Alpha Team Member