Vince Gironda is a man who has produced some of the world’s most well-known major-league bodybuilding champions. Gironda (1917-1997), born in the Bronx but raised in Los Angeles, was one of the past century’s greatest trainers.
In his youth, due to his humongous interest and dedication to bodybuilding, he would have been labeled as a fanatic, while today we see him as a superachiever. However, one thing is sure – we can’t ignore Vince Gironda. No matter what we talk about, his training, tuition, or writing, he succeeded in staying current with the rise in bodybuilding and general physical fitness and has maintained his alertness.
Can Vince Gironda’s techniques and advice be of any help to beginners who want to get ripped? The answer is yes, because they can learn a lot from Gironda’s approach.
“Bodybuilding is 85 percent nutrition.”
Vince Gironda spoke about the importance of desiccated liver tablets (glandulars), choline, amino acids, inositol, and eggs for a bodybuilder’s diet. One of the first to emphasize the importance of food supplements, Vince said that having 2 larger meals every day in not as beneficial as having a small meal every few hours. According to his work philosophy, definition can be built by overloading on carbohydrates every fourth day. On that day, a bodybuilder shouldn’t count calories, but carbs, because they turn into fat.
Because newcomers are in an untrained state, Vince Gironda’s advice is to train 6 days per week and dedicate Sunday to rest. High training volume is necessary, according to Gironda, because many of the aspiring athletes would begin with just a few sets and lifting light weights. When his trainees gained some experience, he would increase the number of rest days.
Sets per Exercise
In the very first week, he advised newcomers to perform only 1 set per exercise. He would increase the number of sets to 2 in the following week, and then have them perform 3 sets in the third week. In the second month of training, Vince would then switch their regimen to working out 3 times per week and set the resting days between workouts. Since that point, they would continue performing 3 sets per each exercise for the next six months.
In order to maintain their training enthusiasm, keep their motivation up, and stress the muscles from various angles, they were instructed to regularly switch their exercises. Once Gironda felt that an individual had adapted to the training program enough, he would change their program to a more advanced one. Each body has its own progression rate, thus there were no specific rules in this stage of training, because the guidelines were specific to the trainee.
Exercises Performed in Gironda’s Workout
1) Lateral raises – 10 reps
2) Triceps pushdowns – 10 reps
3) Short-pulley rows – 12 reps
4) Barbell body-drag curls – 10 reps
5) Decline pulley ‘hugs’ or flies – 12 reps
6) Leg curls – 12 reps
7) Leg extensions – 12 reps
8) Bent-knee leg raises – 20 reps plus
9) Seated wrist curls – 12 reps
10) Double-ups – 10 reps plus
11) Crunches – 10 reps plus
12) Calf heel raises – 20 reps
“That is why we only have barbells, dumbbells, pulleys, and a variety of angled and shaped benches to enable members to work their muscles from different angles. Except for the press machine, chin and dip bars, and leg apparatus, that’s it.”
“The Wild Physique” – Gym Laws of Vince Gironda
1. Bringing street clothes onto the gym floor (always use appropriate bodybuilding clothing)
2. Performing high-rep ab work.
3. Attempting to serve two masters. (Impossible)
4. Asking for squat racks! (For what?)
5. Failing to work. (My system works, but sometimes my students do not.)
6. Refusing to remove shoes during calf work.
7. Performing full sit-ups. (Are they crazy?)
8. Starting a workout with biceps exercises.
9. Hanging around to socialize while doing one set every ten minutes.
10. Mentioning the words running or aerobics.
11. Eating hamburgers and fries while on a diet.
12. Practicing lazy, multi-set bench presses.
“Music is only useful to hype and control the tempo and cadence of aerobic-type exercises which are done at a lively dance pace. In addition, everyone’s taste in music is different – what one person might enjoy listening to, another would find distracting and irritating.”
Vince Gironda redesigned many bodybuilding physiques in a very short amount of time. What builds muscle according to him? More work in less time and higher workout intensity. Vince always stressed the importance of progressive overload for untrained beginners. Lift as much as you can without sacrificing form during movement.