Vince Gironda was old school before old school existed. He was an innovator in the bodybuilding world and was given the name the 'Iron Guru'. During his time as a gym owner and trainer he was more well-known than anyone for churning out great physiques from his Hollywood gym.
How did he achieve this? In some cases it was the pure genius of exercises he used and what some thought of as bizarre training methods.
Photo: Vince Gironda – best trainer ever
The man himself was a form of inspiration because he sculpted his own body to look a certain way for maximum visual appeal. By the same token, when he had people do exercises it was for a certain reason. Similarly, when he had people not do exercises it was to avoid a certain result.
This style of lifting is purely for looks such as bodybuilding and not athletic pursuits. But, if your goal is to look better then check out these great exercises the master used to mold people's physiques.
Vince Gironda Exercises
Body Drag Curl – This is a very interesting biceps curl the gives you a very intense contraction. You take a barbell in a normal grip but instead of curling the weight up in an arc, you bring the weight up in a straight line literally dragging it along your body while your elbows go straight back. Start with a lighter weight until you get a feel for this exercise as it is very unique and does not allow use of other muscles or momentum.
V- Bar Dips – Vince was a big proponent of emphasizing the 'V' taper with the body which means wide shoulders and a narrow waist. So he used unique methods to hit muscles to emphasize the shape whenever possible. For dips he would either use a special "V-Bar" or go as wide as possible on slanted parallel bars. The hand position would be 4 to 6 inches wider than shoulder width. It feels somewhat like a decline press but the angle also activates the side deltoids and even the lats along with flaring the lower and outer pectoral.
Lat Pulls – This is another bizarre but effective Vince special. It combines a seated cable row with a lateral pulldown using a higher cable attachment. Use a cable attachment at about 5 or 6 feet high. Attach either a V handle or rope handle attachment. Stand a few feet away from the cable and bend down into a three-quarter squat facing the pulley with arms extended. Pull the handles into your body to the mid-stomach like you would for a seated cable row. Pause, and then let the weight travel down and forward as your back starts to stretch out and then let it travel slowly up like you would during the up phase of a lateral pulldown. The goal is to provide a unique angle and great stretch.
Sternum Chin-ups – Again in the struggle for the super 'V' shape Vince worked the lats for flair and width. With sternum chins your grab the bar in an underhanded grip about shoulder width apart. You go very slowly and pull your body up, arching the back slightly and leaning the head back so you can touch the sternum to the bar. Pause at the top then slowly lower. The idea is to get a maximum contraction in the lats and this exercise requires a lot of strength and control.
Cocemetric Crunch – This was a unique abdominal exercise that works the upper and lower abs simultaneously. Lie flat on the ground with your arms stretched out above your head. Now crunch your upper body up, bringing your elbows towards your knees while curling your lower body up and bringing your knees towards your head. The knees should touch the elbows lightly at the mid-point then slowly elongate the body again. Make sure to exhale slowly as your crunch.
As much as bodybuilding requires brute strength, it also requires innovative techniques and thoughtful training programs. Vince Gironda proved that with training regemins that were ahead of their time.