Muscle Palace: A Lesson from Pre-Steroid Era Bodybuilders - How did 100% Natural Bodybuilders Train?

Friday, May 26, 2017

A Lesson from Pre-Steroid Era Bodybuilders - How did 100% Natural Bodybuilders Train?


This article is devoted to the old-school bodybuilding legends and bodybuilding lessons that we can learn from pre-steroid era natural bodybuilders.

When exactly did steroids come to the market?

The first anabolic steroid use was noticed at the 1954 World Weightlifting Championship in Vienna when it is discovered that the Soviet's bodybuilders were injecting testosterone. A few months later, physician of the US Olympic Weightlifting team tested testosterone injections of three lifters of that time - John Grimek, Jim Park and Yaz Kuzahara.

For all of them, the results were dissapointing and injections didn't cause any muscle gains for them. Results began coming in by 1956 when Nilevar, the first anabolic steroid, was released in the USA for use in wasting conditions. In the 1958 or 1959, Zeigler decided to try the new Dianabol together with Bill March, Tony Garcy and John Grimek.

Natural Bodybuilders
Bill March

There were also people who claimed that the fist Mr. Olympia Larry Scott was also using anabolic steroids - Nilevar in the time when he won the title. He didn't admit back then in the 1960s but he did later but never specified the date when he first used Nilevar. 

Take a look how Larry Scott looked when he won the Mr. Olympia title in 1965:

Steve Reeves - The First Mr. Olympia

Okay, so he was maybe using steroids but what is with the bodybuilders today? They look probably 3 times bigger than Larry Scott. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger, the legend of bodybuilding, admitted that he used steroids for some time but alright, he is still a legend and he will be forever. But my point is, look at those Mr. Olympia competitors now, what do you see? I see some big unnatural figures posing there and pretending they are beasts.

I know that I sometimes write about workouts and tips of some steroid users but that is because the real naturals are very rare and the real natural bodybuilders are not famous and respected enough. They are in shade of all these modern bodybuilders. Check out how bodybuilders look today:

Modern Bodybuilders vs Naturals

Maybe some of you that are reading this respect those guys but I must say that they look freakish to me and not aesthetically pleasing at all. The Bodybuilding lost its values by the beginning of Steroids Era.

If you don't agree with me you should stop reading this article right now. I don't want to sound rude, but this really isn't the article for you.

For those guys that think that they will gain this amount of lean muscle mass without steroids, I must say something - YOU WON'T. You will never look like Phil Heath or Kai Greene, not without testosterone injections or any other anabolic steroids.

Also, guys like Lazar Angelov, Ulisses Jr., and Sergio Constance, aesthetic bodybuilders, are on steroids. So, if you aim to get the physique like theirs, you need to start using steroids and wait for the damage of theirs side effects. 

Ulisses Jr. - Totally on Steroids

Lazar Angelov - The Fake Natty

Many of you that are reading this article would know all of this but there still those that don't know such things and should be informed. You will never get those physiques naturally, so focus on following workout routines and tips of natural bodybuilders to build lean muscle mass steady and naturally.

One thing is sure - no bodybuilder or lifter was using synthetic steroids before 1955 because they were not available back then.

What can we learn from Pre-Steroid era bodybuilders:

1. Full-Body Training

Pre-steroid era bodybuilders built their physiques mostly by following full-body workout routines. Training all muscle groups three times a week was just more effective for them and produced more muscle gains. By the beginning of steroids era, the split training became popular and many guys in gyms are lowering their chance of building more muscle mass because they are following the same routines that steroid bodybuilders follow.

One of the most popular old-school bodybuilding workout routine is the Reg Park's 5x5 Workout that was used by many famous bodybuilders like Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

You can find this workout program in another article:

Natural Bodybuilders
Reg Park

One of also very popular workout full-body routines is the Arnold Schwarzenegger's "The Golden Six" which Arnie performed in his pre-steroid days. This is very good choice for natural lifters.

You can found more articles on full-body workouts and their effect on muscle and strength gains:

2. Higher Volume

The Natural Bodybuilders used to train like athletes not like this puffed-up bodybuilders of today. Leroy Colbert was the first bodybuilder that build 21 inch biceps totally steroid-free and he said many times that he started to gain more muscle mass when he started pushing the boundaries and performed his workout with a higher volume. He performed 10 sets for each exercise in the time when his arms started growing so fast.

Leroy Colbert

He was not the only one who increased the number of sets from 3 to 6-8. Many other old-school bodybuilders have done that too. Higher volume was the key to their natural muscle building.

I recommend you to try the German Volume Training which includes performing exercises with 10 sets of 10 reps. 

3. Rest and Muscles Recovery

You've probably heard that rest is crucial for building muscle mass and that our muscles grow when we rest after we train and feed them. Old-school bodybuilders used to train on non-consecutive days like Monday - Wednesday - Friday and left their muscles much time to recover which was vital for their muscles gain.

For more information check out these two articles that inspired me to write this article:

5 Bodybuilding Lessons From The Pre-Steroid Era - Healthy Living, Heavy Lifting

History of Steroids in Bodybuilding


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