Ten Awesome Old-School Bodybuilding Routines (Get Ripped Fast)

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You can still get amazing results in the gym using old-school bodybuilding techniques.

Forget steroids and supplements…the old timers did things the hard way. Discover how they built fantastic bodies the natural, healthy way.


The Days of the Old-School Bodybuilding Routines

Back in the day, most bodybuilders used free weights and bodyweight exercises to gain massive amounts of muscle and they did it well. These athletes didn’t have access to resistance machines as is common today.

Resistance machines came into existence in the early 1970s. If you want gain muscle like old school bodybuilders did, then check out the 10 best old school bodybuilding exercises.

#1: The Sissy Squat

This exercise is a variation of the back squat and was commonly used by old school bodybuilders to add mass to their legs. It’s performed by holding on to something like a column, machine or anything that can fully support your bodyweight.

In the other hand, you can hold a weight plate or you can just do this exercise using your bodyweight. Squat down, lean your torso back so you’ll feel it in your quads, keep your hips forward and repeat.

#2: The Pinch-Grip Deadlift

This exercise was commonly done by Steve Reeves, who was Mr. Universe in 1950. This exercise is performed like a traditional deadlift, except instead of grasping the barbell, you grasp the plates with your fingertips.

It’s a badass move and not for the faint of heart, but if you choose to perform it you will not only build muscles in your hamstrings, back and traps you will also strengthen your grip.

#3: The Screw Press

The screw press is another challenging exercise performed by old school bodybuilders. To perform this exercise, you need to set a barbell perpendicular to the ground and grasp it in one hand while resting your other hand on the opposite knee.

Bend down and raise the bar until it is parallel to the ground and then stand up. This exercise is effective for working the muscles in your shoulders, legs, and back.

#4: The Double Barbell Press

You can increase the size of your pecs and improve your balance with this exercise. This exercise is done by lying on a bench with two barbells. Your palms should be facing each other and they should be placed in the center of each barbell.

The objective is to keep lifting the barbells simultaneously until you finish the set. For a greater challenge, you can do this exercise with weighted barbells.

#5: Wide Grip Chin-Ups

Wide grip chin-ups were used often to help develop back muscles. Nowadays, lots of bodybuilders will use lat machines to help them develop back muscles, but old schoolers used wide grip chin-ups religiously with great results.


#6: Good Old-Fashioned Push-Ups

The Push-up is another bodyweight exercise commonly used in conjunction with weights. Old schoolers super-setted chest exercises with push-ups to increase strength, endurance and get a really good pump in their chest during workouts.

#7: Cross Bench Pullover

This exercise was very popular amongst old school bodybuilders. The exercise is performed by placing your middle back and shoulders on a bench and lifting a dumbbell over your head in an arcing movement. This exercise worked the lats, pecs, triceps and help to expand the ribcage.

#8: The Old-Style T-Bar Row

Nowadays, there is equipment made specifically so you can perform a T-Bar row, but back in the day bodybuilders just stuck one end of the barbell into a corner, loaded the other end with plates and then lifted the weight. This exercise is great for developing muscles in the back.

#9: The Forearm Roller

This unique exercise was done to help develop and strengthen the forearm. Old schoolers would take a piece of metal or a sturdy piece of wood and drill a hole through the center. A rope was placed through the hole and then a weight was attached to the rope. After that, the exercise was performed by extending the arms and rolling the weight with the forearms.

#10: The One-Arm Dumbbell Row

This exercise is good for building up your lats. Rest one hand on a bench and grab a dumbbell with your other hand. Your upper body should be parallel to the ground and you lift the dumbbell up until you feel it in your lats. You must extend your arm fully at the bottom and then contract your muscles at the top to get the best results from this exercise.

Old School Still Rules…and Still Gets Results

The pioneers of the sport of bodybuilding had to do things the hard way. They didn’t have resistance machines to help them train, so they only used free weights and more difficult variations of bodyweight exercises. Give some of these exercises a try and you’ll know why old school still rules.

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About the author

Joe Bensam

I am an experienced bodybuilder and qualified personal trainer who specializes in strength training, conditioning and building muscle. I can help you become much bigger, stronger and leaner - faster! To discover my simple secret weapon, click here.