In the 50’s and 60’s they didn’t have personal trainers. They didn’t have fancy equipment, supplements and steroids were virtually taboo. When they wanted to build muscle mass, they relied on passing information from gym owner to gym owner. They included Bill Pearl, Vince Gironda, John Farbotnik, Joe Gold, the Easton Brothers and a handful of other gym owners. They trained hard, ate and got huge.
Iron Man writer Gene Mozee was one of those guys. He wrote an article in the April 1992 edition of Iron Man Magazine (Rich Gaspari was on the cover) entitled No Frill Mass. He described the routine that helped him gain 30 pounds in 3 months after having gone a year with no progress at all.
I’ve taken the routine and given it a modern twist with great success for myself and for the people I’ve introduced it to.
What if you could add 5 inches to your chest, 2½ inches to your arms and thighs and 1½ inches to your calves and nearly 100 pounds to your bench press or squat? Gene did just that on this program. I’ve talked with him about it on several occasions.
He learned the routine from 1959 Mr. America John Farbotnik. Farbotnik was a remarkable bodybuilder from Philadelphia who had won a few bodybuilding titles on the East Coast before moving to California. After moving to California and taking a physical labor job, John was down to 170 pounds and decided to enter the Mr America 30 days before the contest – even though his bodyweight was down to 170 pounds. In 30 days he gained 27 pounds to compete at 197 and win the title.
Gironda, Pearl, Farbotnik, Mozee and Arthur Jones all preached that most trainees perform – too many exercises, too many sets and reps, too many days per week. They all held to the premise that overtraining depletes the body’s energy level and ability to recover.
When you keep workouts simple, you encourage muscle growth without overworking. If you’ve been adding exercises and trying programs used by the current bodybuilding champions you’re generally going to be overtraining and robbing yourself of progress.
Mozee’s program looked like this
Concentration Curls – 4 x 10, 8,6,15
Squats – 5 x 10,8, 6-8,5,6,15
Bench Press – 5 x 10, 8, 6-8,5,6,15
Dumbbell Rows – 4 x 10,8,6, 15
Presses – 4 x 10,8,6,15
Two-arm Dumbbell Extensions – 4 x 10,8,6,15
Calf Raises – 4 x 15-20
Crunches – 1 x 30-50
Use this program three times a week on alternate days. On the heavier exercises – squats, bench presses and overhead presses, rest about two minutes between sets. Try to complete the workout in less than 90 minutes.
When you can do two more reps on your heavy (6 rep) set, increase the poundage. On the squats and the bench presses try and add one additional rep on the pump set at each workout until you reach 20. Keep pushing your poundages as often as possible, but always use strict form. Stay on this program for 6 to 12 weeks. Never miss a scheduled workout. Consistency is the key to continued improvement.
Okay, now here’s a little modern variation of this routine. We’ve found that training body parts three times a week, even with these limited number of sets is too much for recovery. We also find that bodybuilders often want more variety than the one exercise on every body part for 12 weeks. So we perform each body part twice in eight days and alternate between 2 exercises for each workout.
Here’s how it works… warm-up with one or two sub maximal effort sets of 10-12 reps with a weight far below what you are capable of doing. Then hit your work sets as follows:
Day 1 (Monday) – Chest, Back, Biceps, Triceps, abs
Bench Press 10, 8, 6, 4-6, 15
Lat Pull-down (Lat width day) 10, 8, 6, 4-6, 15
Concentration Curl 10, 8, 6, 4-6, 15
Lying Decline Triceps Extension 10, 8, 6, 4-6, 15
Cable Crunch 2 sets 25 reps
Day 2 off
Day 3 (Wednesday) Quads, Hamstrings, calves, shoulders
Squats 10, 8, 6, 4-6, 15
Stiff Leg Deadlift 10, 8, 6, 4-6, 15
Leg Press Calve Pushes 10, 8, 6, 4-6, 15
Behind the Neck Presses 10, 8, 6, 4-6, 15
Day 4 off
Day 5 (Friday) – Chest, Back, Biceps, Triceps, abs
Incline Dumbbell Press 10, 8, 6, 4-6, 15
Barbell Underhand Grip Bent Over Rows (Lat thickness day) 10, 8, 6, 4-6, 15
Hammer Dumbbell Curls 10, 8, 6, 4-6, 15
Overhead Two Hand Triceps Extension 10, 8, 6, 4-6, 15
Reverse Crunch 2 sets 25 reps
Day 6 off
Day 7 off
Day 8 (Monday) Quads, Hamstrings, calves, shoulders
Leg Press or Heavy Hack squat 10, 8, 6, 4-6, 15
Sumo Deadlift 10, 8, 6, 4-6, 15
Seated calf pushes 10, 8, 6, 4-6, 15
Wide Grip Standing Upright Row 10, 8, 6, 4-6, 15
Day 9 off
Day 10 start cycle again with Day 1 workout.