Vince Gironda was a natural bodybuilder and the original "trainer of champions", the "Iron Guru" was born in The Bronx, New York on November 9 in 1917. His father took him and his family to Hollywood when he got a part as a stuntman in the new epic movie being filmed called Ben Hur, Vince joined the local YMCA to start his training.
Vince learned quickly and was probably the first bodybuilder to say that building muscle is 85% nutrition. Vince started competing in bodybuilding shows and placed 2nd in the AAU Mr. America as well as the Mr. Universe competition held in 1958.
He then opened his own gym and was an immediate success. His reputation as a personal trainer grew fast during the 1960's.
He welcomed men like the 157lbs weakling called Larry Scott who joined him and followed his advice and by 1965 Larry Scott won the first Mr. Olympia competition ever held weighing over 220lbs.
But Vince was only just getting started because over the years he coached many top competitive bodybuilders from Mohamed Makkaway to Lou Ferrigno (Incredible Hulk) Frank Zane, Don Howorth and the great Arnold Schwarzenegger. Vince was also training top Hollywood film stars to help them add muscle, but he did this by using some very non-conventional methods.
For example, he strongly believed that most men are born with a defect which will be aggravated by squatting, that only develops the hips and not the quads. He told these men to never do back squats but to rather do the front squat or the sissy squat and the frog squat. He said a man's structure will determine how well he will benefit from doing squats.
He explains that a man with a narrow waist and hips with a long torso and short legs like Sergio Oiliva, he said back squats were fine for these kind of men. Vince was also the first coach to talk about training intensity to his pupils. He used to call it intensity but what he was actually talking about was the training density, how much work is completed in a certain time period.
Vince has not received credit for all the contributions he has made to bodybuilding, he was the one who introduced German Volume Training doing 10 sets of 10 reps each and not Charles Poliquin. Doing 10 sets of 10 reps and resting 60 seconds between each working on each body-part is a super tough workout.
But Vince was always ahead of his time and he would never just use one workout principal to develop muscles on a sustainable basis. He developed the 8 X 8 system which is very similar to the 10 X 10 workout, but with limited rest again and with a little more weight.
He also developed the 6 X 6 training method, the 10, 8, 6 and 15 systems, which was another very specific way of training. The first set of 10 reps would be done using 50% of you max weight, the second set of 8 reps will be using 75% of your max followed by 6 reps with maximum weight. The final set of 15 reps is done with 35% of maximum weight.
Vince also developed the 15 X 4 system. This is doing 15 sets with max weight doing only 4 reps, doing only one exercise for each muscle group using minimal rest between sets. Vince also had some non-conventional ideas on getting ripped and was the first coach to ever prescribe a pre-contest diet.
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