Interesting thoughts on training from Vince Gironda October 16 2014

Vince Gironda was a popular bodybuilder and even more renowned bodybuilding coach in the 1940s all the way till his death in the 1997. He was most popularly known for his unorthodox training methods and diet protocols, and was considered by many to be way ahead of his time. Many of his students went on to become extremely famous, including Larry Scott, whom many will remember as the original Mr. Olympia. Even though Vince Gironda was primarily a bodybuilding coach, many of his training principles are not just applicable to bodybuilding, but any sort of strength sports. Without further ado, let us take a look at 5 of the guiding principles that formed the basis for his teachings.

(Note: The following sections are extracts from Vince Gironda's book, The Wild Physique, published by Musclemag International, 1983. They are in Vince Gironda's own words.)


Dwelling on the subject of training all day causes endocrine tension, which can upset the chemical balance of your nervous system. This form of tension can be absolutely destructive to the muscle building process and hinder formation of new tissue. For the growth process to function to its optimum level, all of your glandular processes must operate with maximum efficiency.

Worry and anxiety and constantly dwelling on your workouts can prevent the free flow of endocrine secretions which is necessary for the rebuilding of nervous energy force. Remember, nerve force is essential for rebuilding tissue. When you begin your workout you are to concentrate on your training, the minute you finish your workout the training session is over, “turn it off.”

Over-enthusiasm is one of the bodybuilder’s worst enemies. Tranquility is the first rule of good health. You cannot fail to make gains if you see yourself as you wish to be. There are only one or two good exercises for each muscle. The rest of the exercises are only variations. Any interruptions during a training session can ruin a workout by dissipating nervous energy. All great champions have the ability of complete concentration which allows them to use their nerve energy force to its maximum.


The brain at rest uses 60% of the body’s energy. Thus, anything less than tranquility is disastrous to the bodybuilder. Overnight muscle loss takes place when a mental problem is encountered which upsets ones normal outlook. Excess concern regarding your workouts, diet, and conditions in your life can also place a drain on your tranquility. Such thoughts, given too much of your energy, are sure to result in less or no physical gains.

Stop worrying. Choose a course of action and follow through. Champions turn it off when they leave the gym. They are also not worriers and have a positive outlook.

Workout Tempo.

Two people using the same routine, the same number of sets and reps, same weights, and only one of them is great. Which one? The one with workout tempo! Workout tempo is; the time wise evenly spacing of sets, without distractions and complete concentration on when to pick up the next weight and do the next set. Champions instinctively use this tempo when working out; while others are walking around the gym between sets, gossip with their buddies, or look at a magazine, or just sit down and rest.

Distraction to a champion is disastrous. It results in a loss of energy and pump. If you are distracted during your workout you might as well stop and rest an hour or so and then take up where you left off. Complete singleness of purpose is the key to concentration. Each workout is progressively different than the last one, and this simply means that more muscle tension is used and tighter contractions are employed. This results in greater satisfaction with each workout. When you reach this level of accomplishment in training, you may confuse this elated state of feeling with the need to do more work. Beware! This is where you could make your biggest mistake by taking on more work and over-working.


Years ago, Vince predicted bodybuilders of the future would exercise less than back in his time. Why? Because of bodybuilders' advancement in concentration. Every top bodybuilder concentrates to the point they are oblivious to the activity around them. In conjunction with knowing how and where the muscles are attached, their functions, and what exercises engages the parts of the muscles one wishes to develop forms a foundation for training success. Every muscle has a low-middle lateral and high aspect. You must choose either the difficult or weak area to work on. The slow growing areas call for maximum concentration, while the faster growing areas call for considerable less concentration.


Champions obviously possess something others do not. Even though they may do the same routine set for set, rep for rep, they may not reap the same benefits of champions. Vince often stated that he had observed champions train in a manner he did not approve, but they received results that were phenomenal. What was it that they possessed? What did they do differently? They use mental suggestion and mind control! You can actually produce the desired condition by picturing in your mind what you wish to manifest.

Picture in your mind a clear image of the muscle or area of the body you wish to develop and hold the image throughout the performance of the set. The technique of mental suggestion is what all physical culture writers are trying to explain when they throw the term, “concentration” out to you. The subconscious believes any thought you perceive and stores it. It accepts everything that is spoken by you or someone else if you accept it as truth. But it must be repeated again and again until the subconscious accepts it as truth. Then it will produce the condition pictured in your mind.

Whether or not a champion is aware of it, this is why they are champions, they have this ability. They are convinced of a successful outcome. This awareness is more important than any diet plan, supplement, or exercise routine ever conceived.


Vince Gironda's states in his book, “By now you should be aware of my belief that rules, even ‘my’ rules, are made to be challenged, questioned, changed or even broken. There is no absolute right or wrong way to work out.” While we certainly agree with his statement, the principles he espoused as elaborated on above have clear application in powerlifting as well as bodybuilding. We hope that many of you will find this useful enough to spur some thought and application to your training. After all, a developed body without a developed mind will never be able to reach its full potential!