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Top 10 Controversial Vince Gironda Beliefs

September 11, 2010 by  
Filed under Nutrition, Recent Posts, Tangents, Training

by Mike Westerdal

vinniegVince Gironda is one of bodybuilding’s pioneers. In fact many call him the father of bodybuilding. His roots go all the way back to the mid-1900s, when he opened his own gym in 1948, in North Hollywood, California. As a trainer and gym owner, Vince quickly developed a reputation as a trainer of champions, including the very first IFBB Mr. Olympia in 1965. From there, his fame grew and his gym began attracting some of the biggest names in bodybuilding, including Lou Ferrigno, Frank Zane and even Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Vince became well known for being a trainer of champion bodybuilders and Hollywood celebrities, but his training concepts and philosophies generated a lot of controversy. Many of his ideas were considered to be unconventional by much of the bodybuilding community. Despite his ‘unorthodox’ viewpoints, a lot of people really believed in Vince and his theories about bodybuilding and nutrition. Let’s take a look at some of the most polarizing things Vince said, and you can decide for yourself if he was truly ahead of his time.

1. Vince was one of the earliest professionals to make a strong connection between nutrition and performance. In fact, he went even said that bodybuilding was ‘85% nutrition.’ Some of his nutrition ideas were very controversial—like reducing carb intake during a cutting phase. Or the fact that he was a big proponent of drinking raw, unpasteurized milk, which has generated a big debate over the last couple of years. Some bodybuilders swear by it, but governmental health regulators consider drinking raw milk a dangerous practice—so much so that it’s banned in a number of states.

2. He didn’t believe in the bench press for building the pecs. He said that it put too much emphasis on the front deltoids and not enough on the pectoral muscles. Yikes! Tell that your buddies at the gym and see what kind of reaction you get. Instead of the bench press, Vince favored what he called the ‘neck press,’ which is sort of like a bench press, but instead of lowering the bar to your chest, you lower it to your neck, using less weight and a wider grip.

3. To improve digestion, Vince believed that it was important to put your legs and feet up higher than your stomach after every meal.

4. Vince did not believe that you should listen to music when working out. He felt that it was too distracting to bodybuilders. For him, music was only good for doing aerobic exercises.

5. In sharp contrast to what most experts say, Vince believed that beginning bodybuilders should train six days a week—not the three to four days a week you see advocated today. He reasoned that beginners are so full of energy and enthusiasm, that six days a week was good for them. He ruffled a lot of feathers with this one.

6. A fierce advocate of all natural bodybuilding, Vince believed that bodybuilders should eat up to 36 raw, fertilized eggs every day. He said that the effects of this were equivalent to taking the steroid Dianabol. Can’t even imagine where you’d find raw, fertilized eggs these days.

7. Unless you were a woman or a guy without any ‘junk in the trunk’ Vince didn’t believe in regular back squats—a staple of most any bodybuilding routine. Instead, he favored sissy squats, front squats and his own modified squat.

8. This isn’t so controversial now since it’s pretty widely accepted but Vince was one of the very first bodybuilding professionals to deride the sit-up as a strategy for building the abs. Back when he first made his thoughts on the subject known, you can bet riled some top professionals of the day.

9. And speaking of abs, Vince believed that most guys wasted far too much time training their abs. According to him, spending too much time training the abs shocked the central nervous system, disrupting muscle growth in other areas of the body.

10. According to Vince, there is such as thing as too much protein. A lot of guys would disagree with this but Vince said that excessive protein intake results in the opposite effect of what you want to achieve by consuming lots of protein. Vince had this crazy idea that you should consume the amount of protein that is right for you, based on gender, age, fitness level, training routine and lifestyle. In his mind, it’s foolish to consume massive amounts of protein just because some other guy is doing it.


So there you have it, ten of Vince’s more controversial viewpoints. You can decide for yourself whether or not you think Vince just liked controversy or was way ahead of his time. Leave a comment below and let me know which points you agree with, disagree with or if you have any other favorite quotes or view points of Vince that you’d like to share.

If you’re interested in learning more from Vince check out the book Vince Gironda Legend & Myth.


14 Responses to “Top 10 Controversial Vince Gironda Beliefs”
  1. steve davis says:

    i would like to give you a expert anaylasis of each and very question,alas i am not qualified in any shape way or form to do so but instead i will just say if this man was churning out champions consistantly with these methods there in itself is a good answer the proof is in the pudding or in this case 36 raw fertilised eggs…I am thanks to you at critical bench .com learning more techniques and tryin o educate yself to exercise properly to maximise the time i spend training ..vince geronda is yet one more valuable piece to help me educate myself i personally like the sound of the guy he pulled no punches and was obviously determined yep sounds like a hard ass but not a bad ass

  2. Bartosz says:

    Very controversial guy.Unfortunately, I do not agree with any of the points of view. eating raw eggs and drinking raw milk is crazy.

  3. Todd says:

    Very interesting read. My wife and I are sort of newbies to the lifting weights scene. We have been using free weights now since June of this year. Always intersted in seeing new info on body building. I found the protein comment fascinating. How does one know the exact amount of protein the body needs? If you take too much protein, the body should only use what it needs and expel the excess? Also, with our schedule, going to the gym 6 times a week would be pretty rough. I mean, we are not looking at competing in body building so our 4 days a week is plenty for us. Thanks for the article and keep up the hard work.

  4. Abhishek says:

    i want to know how i make a time table for GYM. i also want to know about supplements. I have been going GYM for last 2 yrs, I had taken supplements for first three months. Sir please send me all information like gym time table, supplement etc.

  5. Mark says:

    Vince was ahead of his time. Certainly brilliant, and had many great ideas and techniques. I have used many of his techniques and they had a dramatic effect on my muscle size and shape. These techniques can compliment the big basic movements. I suggest testing them out for yourself- it will take time to learn his exercise techniques.

  6. Tyeson merrill says:

    The guy sounds a lil crazy and set in his own ways and his way only. He was doin something wright obviously but everbodys got there on way eather it will work or it won’t. His did though.

  7. YOU MUST SQUAT IF YOU WANT TO GROW YOU MUST SQUAT! The rest is meaningless if you don’t SQUAT.

  8. I agree, here are 7 exercises to help your squat by the way

  9. VitaSort says:

    Very good read. I have heard #2 in various forums so good to hear it again. I think i will be giving this a try from now on.. I think the key to the success of this form is lower weight but does anyone (or has anyone) foresee issues with the additional stress load on your shoulder / elbow joints… I am just sitting in my chair doing the motion and it feels a bit awkward and un natural. Thoughts?

  10. prsglenn says:

    This guy knew what he was talking about… Raw eggs, and raw unpasteurized milk = super nutrition. Research the benefits of raw milk and raw eggs, its well worth it. Eggs should be organic free range. Milk should be raw unpasteurized, and know your farmer. To find a raw milk source near you search real milk (dot com).. they list the sources by state. Stay away from the pasteurized crap… its not milk. Pasteurization is infant science, and it kills everything in the milk that is important. Research… if you don’t, well then it’s your loss.

  11. steve says:

    Vince Gironda was obviously a man before his time . None of those recommendations are actually controversial … they are true guides for those who have a requirement to progress without any wasted effort . As a side note fertilized eggs are the main ingredient and constituent of a new myostatin inhibitor which has been brought to market since early 2010 , myo t12 . How could vince have known ? i have no idea but he was correct.
    Excess protein , again Vince was correct . Go get optimum sports nutrition the book by Dr. M Colgan , the leading world authority on nutrition for sports , health and anti aging . Read the section on protein intake and how to calculate your requirement . Again how did vince know ? I have no idea but he was spot on .

    Another example is the Guillotine bench press instead of bench press …well it has been well documented in recent years with research via EMG analysis that indeed the gullotine press works the whole of the pectoralis in a vastly superior right upto the upper pec and clavicular area.Try his recommendations you will be nicely surprised.

    He was and is the first true pioneer in bodybuilding and physical culture . Maybe a very grouchy guy but a one off nevertheless obviously !

  12. John says:

    Not only that but he was big on the idea of sculpting the body. So it was not a matter of how much bulk you could add rather how perfect you looked. So he was just as big on decreasing some area’s size in relationship to another area to create a sculpted look. Todays Steroid No Limit Rhino’s walking up right are hideous to look at and are anything but what one wants to see carved in marble like the classic Greek and Roman statues.

    He also pioneered things similar to GVT in his 8 sets of 8 reps and 6 sets of 6 reps programs.

    He believed in adding enzymes and such to the gut to enhance absorption of the food you where eating.

    He also understood the relationship between compressing rest periods with increase in the pulse width or time of Growth Hormone.He was anti-steroids long before their was enough research to show that a lot of damage is done by their long-term and high doses used by bodybuilder’s.

    He even recommended eating 4-6 smaller meals a day over the normally 3 meals a day back in the 1950’s. Weider borrowed a lot of his training idea’s and made them his own.

    I was born in 1973 so I had first hand experience training with a lot of people that where born in the 40’s and 50’s. So between the old school guys and the new school revolution of the 1980’s I have seen the old become new again many times over as people rediscover what was already known once before. I was even personaly trained by Mr. Darden on Nautalis fame and met Arthur Jones once.

    I have not seen anything new since about the 1980’s it is all the same stuff just repackaged for the next generation that has forgotten how to get a lIbrary card and check out old books.

  13. Michael S says:

    Hell yeah good job Vince!! Your the man! Love the Conventional Bodybuilders!

  14. Jahcuree says:

    In regards to #6, you can find them pretty easily, Trader Joes! Im going to try switching over to these

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