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WISDOM OF THE AGES

Throughout history, there have been men who stood above the rest, be it by nature of their ability, their bravery, or their unique vision. They knew more. They dared more. They did more. And with each ensuing generation, the deeds of those past are examined and emulated. Those who follow and who wish to taste greatness, strive to equal the accomplishments of their ancestors while a select few whom are truly talented exceed them. Some may go as far as to say this quest to excel is the very purpose of life itself. Learn from the past, and do it better. We see it all the time, from the sports arena where records are broken to the humble household where the son achieves more success than his father. That's the way it's supposed to be. Progress of this nature is possible due to the simple fact that the youth of any given era have a "head start." All that's needed is to tap into the well of existing knowledge. Yet at times, we lose sight of what history may teach us. We're constantly bombarded with new ideas and innovations making it easy to overlook the lessons from years past. We view our elders as less knowledgeable -- less "in touch." So is too often the case with bodybuilding. Nevertheless, it's important not to forget that the bodybuilders from long ago were the ones who taught the teachers of today and you can never be sure if everything they knew made it down through the generations. There's always a chance that something's been forgotten or prematurely discarded. By taking a closer look at the perceptions of some of the games old timers, one comes to realize that they not only knew as much as today's so called experts, they had some pretty controversial opinions as well. Many of the following statements have become truisms of our sport. Others are an interesting variation of a current belief system, while others are a lost gem of insight. Take a look at some of these quotable quotes from the sages of strength who were living and loving bodybuilding long before most of us were born and see just how well good advice holds up over the years. (Note: In some cases the quotes may be paraphrased.) "Exercise is King. Nutrition is the Queen. Put them together and you have a kingdom." - Jack LaLanne, 1953 "If you want to be a success in bodybuilding or anything else in life, you can't have lukewarm ambition or an indifferent attitude. You must acquire an intensity and a strong desire. That's the only way you will succeed." - Dr. Frederick Tilney, 1947 "The biggest mistake a bodybuilder can make is losing sight of what is aesthetically pleasing. Symmetry should always have precedence over sheer bulk." - Clarence Ross, 1949 "Mothers milk is the perfect food for human growth --designed by nature. The food closest to it isn't cows milk, but the egg." - Rheo H. Blair, 1962 "I've never understood why a bodybuilder would want to build huge bulbous chest muscles. The pecs should be slab-like in appearance, not bulging or hanging. This is 77 the result of too much bench pressing. For a manly chest that looks like a gladiator's shield, dips can't be beat." - Vince Gironda, 1969 "Train for shape and strength will follow." - Sig Klein, 1937 "Unless you're willing to really sweat, you're unlikely to achieve any major success in barbell work. Great lifters and physique men are made, not born. They are self made, via their own diligent, grueling efforts." - Bradley Steiner, 1973 "Squats aren't so much a leg exercise as they are a gluteus maximus movement. It's best to substitute hack squats for standard squats or you'll wind up with wide hips and a big ass!" - Vince Gironda, 1972 "The most effective routine I've found to expand the rib-cage is the old standard squat-pullover combo. Five sets of heavy deep-breathing full squats supersetted with bent arm pullovers will enlarge the ribcage greatly." - Dave Draper, 1966 "Talk all you want about arcane bodybuilding theories. I'll be in the gym. It's leg day" - Dave Draper, 1999 "Just because the AMA was wrong about some things regarding steroids doesn't mean they were wrong about everything." - Dan Duchaine, 1998 "Just imagine if we could solve the mystery of life sufficient to extend man's life expectancy to reach the century mark. What wonderful progress the human race would make in everything that is worthwhile. I believe the best tool we have of achieving that goal is barbell training and proper eating." - George Jowett, 1947 "Train -- don't strain. Don't leave everything in the gym. Save some energy for living." - Bill Pearl, 1974 "A sound mind in a sound body." - Aristotle, 345 BC "Drink a gallon of Half and Half every day and you'll grow like a weed!" - Larry Scott, 1967 "I believed Dianabol had great potential, but seeing the way it's been abused, I'm sorry I ever invented it. All those young lives, destroyed." - John Ziegler, 1972 "I'm amazed that weight lifters aren't more concerned about the air they breathe. For maximum results, always train in an environment of the purest air possible." - Peary Rader, 1959 78 "Once a young fellow gets a barbell set and begins training, he's happy. He gets stronger, finds his legs have more spring to them and his friends comment on how splendid he looks. All is well in the world!" - Earle Leiderman, 1944 "The best way to never worry about getting into shape is to never get out of shape. - Zabo Koszewski, 1962 "If you stick with any routine for too long it will go stale. You must keep changing things around if you want to keep making progress." - Harold Poole, 1966 "Bodybuilders today over-think too much when it comes to eating when they should be following their instincts. If you feel like eating a steak, eat a steak!" - Mickey Hargitay, 1969 "The most universal complaint seems to be that of an aching back, yet almost any back problem can be alleviated through exercise. The good morning is one of the best movements anyone can do to prevent a lifetime of back ailments." - John Grimek, 1950 "The sun is life! Get outdoors and get healthy." - Bob Hoffman, 1961 "If you want bigger arms -- squat! Squatting makes everything grow." - Sergio Oliva, 1967 "If you have a lagging bodypart, train it first when you're fresh. And unless you're willing to train in a 100 percent positive matter, it's a waste of time. That's the secret." - Vince Gironda, 1968 "The truest success is but the development of self." - Charles Atlas, 1939 "I could never find a better biceps exercise than dumbell curls on the incline bench, so after a while that was the only one I did." - Steve Reeves, 1966 "Because I suffered a heart murmur I was told never to lift weights, but I didn't listen. I went on to be a strongman and today I'm still going strong while the doctors who advised me are long dead." - Dan Lurie, 1999 "Although it is presently shunned, I believe someday weight training will be used in all sports to improve performance." - Joe Weider, 1947 (Good call Joe!) "No one knows why, but exercise physiologists have stated for years that it's the negative portion of an exercise movement which produces more soreness and more growth and I believe this to be true. " - Arthur Jones, 1960 79 "Great strength is a priceless possession, so plan your workouts so that you won't be interrupted. Never miss a workout. Set yourself a goal for each session. Keep your mind focused on your training. Make each movement mentally as well as physically." - Chuck Sipes, 1964 "By Pre-Exhausting the muscle you force it to work harder in a shorter amount of time. You also reduce the risk of injury." - Robert Kennedy, 1981 "What works for one bodybuilder may not work for another. Don't blindly follow an idol's routine. Try everything and decide for yourself what's best." -Alan Stephan, 1958 "If you want good training advice, don't ask the biggest guy in the gym. Ask the guy who's made the most improvement. " - Don Peters, 1966 "No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable." - Socrates, 400 BC "I'm retiring from competition, but I'll never stop bodybuilding. It's the greatest sport." - Arnold Schwarzenegger, 1976 Profound words indeed. As you can see, these somewhat ancient anecdotes are quite poignant and at times, prophetic. These men knew the truth -- it just took the world a while to realize it. And although opinions varied, as they always will, one thing is certain -- men of wisdom will make observations which help pave the way for all of us. Listen...and learn.

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