Original Hercules Steve Reeves did this workout to build muscle

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If you’ve ever knocked down a wall in an old house, you know what you were hoping for: a wad of cash, a priceless piece of art, or even gold bars. The owners of an Oakland home had something no less historic behind the walls of their garage: the training of a golden age bodybuilder.

Before there was Arnold or The Rock, there was Steve Reeves: 1950’s Mr. Universe physique – still considered “the most aesthetically pleasing of all time” – helped him become the biggest draw ever. box office in 25 different countries in the late 1950s, playing classic heroes like Hercules and Aeneas.

The workout that built his legendary body remained hidden behind the walls of his childhood home until George Helmer, the founder of the Steve Reeves International Society, unearthed him like an Indiana Jones gym rat. Peeling back the drywall, he found 15 exercises scribbled in black pencil on the underlying wood. Try this original Reeves workout and chisel your own legendary physique. Perform 3 sets of each exercise.

Exercise 1: Barbell cleans:

1. Stand with a barbell in front of you in an overhand grip, hands slightly wider than your shoulders. Keeping your weight on your heels, bend your hips and knees so the barbell hangs in front of your knees. This is the starting position.

2. From there, explode upwards: you shrug and bring the bar straight up to your shoulders and twist your wrists to catch the bar in front of your collarbones.

3. Return to hanging position and repeat. Young Reeves did 7 reps in each set.

Exercise 2: Overhead Press:

1. Hold a barbell with an overhand grip at or slightly narrower than your shoulders. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, squeeze your core and squeeze your buttocks.

2. Keeping your torso upright, press the bar overhead until your arms are straight.

3. Pause, slowly lower your back to the starting position. Perform 10 reps per set.

Exercise 3: Curl at the bar:

1. Stand upright holding the barbell with a grip slightly wider than shoulder width.

2. Squeeze your butt and flex your abs throughout the movement to keep you from swinging your hips.

3. Bend your elbows to bring your hands to your shoulders. Go back to the start and repeat. Perform 15 reps in each set.

Exercise 4: Bench Curl 15 reps

1. Sit on a narrow bench with dumbbells by your side, palms facing forward.

2. Brace your core so you don’t swing and roll the dumbbells up to your shoulders while keeping your torso straight.

3. Return to start and repeat. Perform 15 reps in each set.

Exercise 5: Leaning row

1. Lift the weight off the floor (see above) so that you are standing with the barbell in front of you in an overhand grip, feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent.

2. Push your hips back as if opening a door behind you with your buttocks. This starts the hip hinge.

3. Continue pushing your hips back so your back stays flat until it’s almost parallel to the floor with the weight hanging directly from your shoulders.

4. Maintaining this flat back position, pull the weight toward your chest.

5. Lower the weight to the starting position and repeat. Perform 10 reps in each set.

Exercise 6: Bench press

1. Lie face up on the bench and grab the bar with an overhand grip just wider than shoulder width. Push your heels into the floor and straighten it, holding the bar above your sternum with your arms straight.

2. Brace your core and bend your elbows to lower the bar toward your chest. Your elbows should stay close to your sides, forming a 45 degree angle rather than a wide “T” shape.

3. Pause for a while, then press return to start. Perform 10 reps in each set.

Exercise 7: Squats

1. Stand in a normal back squat position with the bar across your shoulders, feet shoulder-width apart and hip-width apart, toes slightly apart.

2. Push your hips back to initiate the squat.

3. Bend your knees to lower until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor, keeping your chest up and your weight on your heels.

4. Keep your body weight on your heels and come back up. Perform 20 reps in each set.

Exercise 8: pull at the bar

1. Lie perpendicular to a bench, upper back on the bench, knees bent at 90 degrees. In this position, hold a barbell above your chest with slightly bent elbows and an overhand grip.

2. Lower the bar overhead until your arms are level with your shoulders, as if they were above your head when standing.

3. Lower the bar to start. Perform 40 reps in each set.

Exercise 9: Hello

1. Stand with the bar above your shoulders as if doing a back squat.

2. Imagine there is a door behind you that is ajar and you want to close it with your buttocks. Hit the door to push your hips back, this triggers the hip hinge.

3. Continue pushing your hips back and keep a natural curve in your spine as you lower your torso forward until it’s parallel to the floor.

4. Squeeze your buttocks and stand up. Repeat for 20 reps in each set.

Exercise 10: Lateral Raise

1. Stand with your feet together, dumbbells by your side, palms facing in.

2. Keeping your torso straight, raise the dumbbells out to the sides until your torso and arms form a “T”.

3. Control the weights as they return to your sides and repeat. Perform 30 reps in each set.

Exercise 11: Vertical row

1. Note: This exercise causes shoulder impingement in over 60% of people. Consider going without. But if you want to do it, stand with the bar in front of you, holding with an overhand grip at shoulder width.

2. Pull the bar up to your neck, starting with your elbows and allowing your wrists to bend.

3. Return to start and repeat. Do 10 reps per set.

Exercise 12: Front Raise

1. Hold the dumbbells in front of your pronated thighs. Pull your shoulder blades back and down, and strengthen your core and buttocks.

2. Raise the dumbbells up and forward until your hands are at shoulder level.

3. Return to start and repeat. Perform 10 reps in each set.

Exercise 13: Bench press with dumbbells

1. Lie face up on the bench and hold the dumbbells to your chest with an overhand grip. The dumbbells should almost touch each other.

2. Brace your core and bend your elbows to lower the weights to the sides of your chest. Your elbows should stay close to your sides, forming a 45 degree angle rather than a wide “T” shape.

3. Pause for a while, then press return to start. Perform 10 reps in each set.

Exercise 14: Barbell triceps extension (Skullcrusher):

1. Lie face up on a bench holding the bar above your chest with a narrow overhand grip.

2. Keeping your upper arms perpendicular to the floor and pinned at your sides, bend your elbows to bring the bar towards (and slightly behind) your head.

3. Return to the beginning. Do 15 reps in each set.

Exercise 15: Abs:

1. Perform classic sit-ups. Do 20 reps in each set.

This workout is an excerpt from The Workout Bucket List: Over 300 life-changing races, epic challenges, and incredible hikes, bikes, lifts, and races around the world, in your gym or right in your living room.available April 26 wherever the books are sold.

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