Mittwoch, 27. August 2014

IRON AGE - Reg "the Leg" Park, a forever immortalized timeless Legend of the Iron Age.

You fuckin' never ever can fake passion!!!
Hey my dear readers, next up, finally, after nearly a month or so of no news from this front it's time for the return of the "IRON AGE" posting series up here on your favorite "Manslaughter Thug Life" blog. Where else, right?!? And like you all should already know by now and if not then at least and for sure really latest now, this very posting series up here is all about Bodybuilding. Old School Bodybuilding, especially, of course. Get used to it. Accept it. Fuck yeahr, man, love it!!! Just damn fuckin' love it, point and fact!!! :-) (And if not then wait until just wait for the next new other posts to come up here again.) This very post here is a tribute post, a honour paying post, a respect giving post to one of the brightest stars ever to enlight the steely of the world of iron and metal, we will here and now pay our respect to "Reg the Leg", to no one else than the mighty Reg Park, the man that got worshipped by no one else than Arnold "The Oak" Schwarzenegger, the man who influenced legends of Bodybuilders that followed him over the decades, the man who was the one and only worthy successor to the larger than life Steve Reeves, and a man who is without a doubt one of the greatest champs ever in the history of the iron game. So, Ladies and Gentlemen, introducing (even he surely needs no further introduction) the one and only Reg Park!!! Here we go...

Wise and true words...!!!

Guts & Glory!!!
PS - Note: After this post by far more is in the pipeline to keep the "IRON AGE" series going and to heat it up one time after another. I will introduce already now what and who will be up next here, because with the very next post we will pay our tribute, proof our respect, and show our honour to two other of the greatest ever legends of Bodybuilding, to no one else than the lifechanging and just sheer nearly everyone else (beside Arnold) outshining Bill Pearl and also to the first ever IFBB "Mr. Olympia", the man with some of the most outstanding biceps and shoulders ever to be seen on a stage, the one and only larger than life and just great Larry Scott. This will then be our first stop of the ongoing tribute and honour posts to the great champions of old. Don't get me wrong, there are far more up on my list that will get their proper respect'n'honour tribute posts up here, but then we first will come to another historical and/or theoretical chapter in the "IRON AGE" series like you know them also already as well so far. Ah, and one last word to the tribute posts: So far they are all more or less in a chronological running order, more or less I will stick with it but not all the way, so don't wonder when we jump back in time to honour giants like for example Clancy Ross up here as well, just that you know it. Okay, that's it really so far, so up and going, here comes "Reg the Leg", point and fact.

Reg and Arnold.
One of the brightest stars at the steely horizon of the iron age...

- Reg Park -

...and a true timeless icon of Bodybuilding, forever immortalized in metal and steel!!!

Guns Salute - Reg Park.
Reg Park was born in Leeds, England/U.K. at the 7th of June of the year 1928 and he was given the name Roy (even Reg should become the name under which he earned his fame), and btw so he is the first modern thru and thru 20th century european and not american Bodybuilder that joines the ranks up here of this very posting series dealing solely with Bodybuilding from then up to somewhere now or so. Already as a young boy and even more when he was growing older he showcased a incredible big lust for sports, so he did athletics, played football/soccer in the ranks of "Leeds United", and was also a active and good gymnast. He started to work out and train with weights not so much because of a real passion and lust for it but by far more because he simply wanted to gain more strength, more powerful muscles, and overall a more athletic body/physique, all with the aim to benefit his services or performances in the other kinds of sports that he did already exercise, like mentioned right before. But he also simply wanted to gain a better shape and look, too, inspired by the back then active early or real "old school" Bodybuilders like he saw them on and knew them from the covers and the pages of the few back then published Bodybuilding and Weight Training magazines. And so when he became 17 years old he started weight training and working out with dumbbells and barbells together with his good friend and training comrade David Cohen. Thanks to his god given great genetic(s) and his iron will and discipline and firy motivation he started to gain very quick very impressive, good, and strong improvements and progress. The only sort of break had been his time when he did his duty and served his country and nation in the army, when he did his military service. With his already back then impressive physique the army very soon used him as a instructor especially for the athletic and physical training of the soldiers and recruits. He did his duty in Great Britain as well as in British Malaya (today Malaysia). In 1948 he returned to England, in advance of the then current Olympic Games. Still his interest in Bodybuilding was going strong and big, after he already gained himself the fourth ranked place at the "Mr. Britain" competition in 1946. And now in 1948 Reg Park decided to be right at and in place when history would be made and so he attented as a euphoric part of the audience the first ever NABBA "Mr. Universe" that took place in the environment of the Olympic Games and was organized by the guys of the "Helath & Strength" magazine. The unbeaten and unrivaled legend of iron pumping, the almighty John Grimek (if you really don't know him and if you should have missed the "IRON AGE" posts up here then read the post about him from last month when we payed our tribute, showed our honour and gave our respect to him), won the competition and became the first ever "Mr. Universe" and wrote history with his name. This event inspired the young Reg Park in a massive and overwhelming way. The amazing developed physique of men like John Grimek (like already said, read the tribute about to honour him from last month), Steve Reeves (if he really should be unknown to you then also read the tribute post to honour him from last month), and also André Drapp was a great inspiration for him, Reg Park, and so he finally again started to hit the weights with enthusiasm and driven forward by his incredible iron will and hunger and thirst for gains and success. He started working hard and trained hard and soon he managed to grow on to 102kg of muscles. This hard and heavy, intense way of working out and training payed off for him in winning at the 28th of October in 1949 the "Mr. Britain" title. This was a great honour and pleasure to him, even more because his idol John Grimek himself was one of the judges that finally crowned him to be the new "Mr. Britain" of and in 1949. And also his parents had been more than happy and felt honoured when he, their son, wins the title. And as a sort of a reward they made him the gift of a U.S.A. travel, after the U.S.A. had already been back then (and still are) the global stronghold of Bodybuilding in a more than ''just'' or ''only'' dominant way. He started his U.S.A. travel in the month of December of the year 1949 and he made the best ever possible out of it. In the U.S.A. he trained with some of the best active pro Bodybuilders of that certain time and he learned a lot from them, made intersting and especially exceedingly useful experiences. The first for him pretty much life changing experience that he made especially due to the training together sessions with and also social contacts with some of the great ones of old like for example Clancy Ross, Al Stephan, Floyd Page, Marvin Eder, and many more of the top athletes of this very special time was that they all used to train by far more heavier and harder, more intense than their european rivals back then. Also their sort or kind of training was already back then by far more advanced than the training systems used and maybe developed over here in old Mother Europe. So they used well thought through splitted training schedules (even not to compare with what came up later and with what we have today, known as split training schedules), did more developed and advanced to him pretty new exercises, and the training relationships had been more intensive and more motivating, as well as more focussed than over here. And also, something very crucial and also something very different compared to the Bodybuilding routines and habits established in Europe the U.S. American Bodybuilders strongly believed that the right and strict disciplined nutrition was of the highest importance for every serious and truly ambitioned and focussed Bodybuilder, and that they were totally right in and with their believes in this case we all know very well today because no matter how hard and disciplined you train you will never ever outtrain a bad diet, even back then over here in Europe that was something again very different compared to the States and to the Bodybuilding how it was done in the States. And especially the heavier and even more heavier training Reg Park recognized as the connecting link between all the top athletes he trained with during his time in the States. This sort of heavy, really heavy training and way of working out was totally unusal to/for Reg Park, but once he started to do so he quickly catched up to/with the U.S. American roughnecks and silverbacks, and he wrote history by/with his own hands when in the September of 1950 he was crowned to "Americas Best Developed Athlete" in the Saint Nicholas Arena in New York at a competition of the AAU (back then still sort of one of the biggest and leading Bodybuilding federation, especially in the U.S.), and he won this title in a battle up on stage against the leading U.S. American athletes of this very time. Some time later on in 1950 he made it back to England, equipped with new wisdom and knowledge as well as with bigger and more and more massive muscles, too. Back in England he decided promptly that it was time for him to enter the NABBA "Mr. Universe" competition, and he was confident- and had all rights to be this- about having a good chance to win it. And pretty sure he would have done it, won it, if not the in this year and at this time pretty much totally unbeatable and "extraterrestrial" Steve Reeves (again, just read the post to honour him from last month) would have also participated in this competition, not at least because he desperately wanted to make up good the defeat to the unrivaled one in a million: John Grimek, at the "Mr. Universe" premiere back in 1948. And so Steve Reeves took the victory and Reg Park came up second best, or first looser, depends on how you want to see it. Even Reg Park delivered one hell of a performance and also a battle for Steve Reeves as tough as a battle for and with him at this time could only possible be, he simply could not beat the incredible Steve Reeves. This second place and this very defeat to Steve Reeves just let Reg Park to only one conclusion: Their was only one way for him to go, the one to the top of it all. And to go this way he simply had to work even harder and heavier, even more disciplined and more focussed than before. And so he did. He won after the 1950 NABBA "Mr. Universe" title more and more competitions and titles like for example the "Mr. Europe" title, and in 1951 he made a clear statement that he was the nomber one of his time and the one and only lawfully successor of Steve Reeves with finally winning in a triumphant way the this years NABBA "Mr. Universe" title. He repeated this triumphant victories on the biggest stage of them all back then two times, in 1958 and in 1965, with coming off being the biggest and best Bodybuilder of his time on a global level.

Reg Park doing light squats
for warming up.
So after some lame years the British Bodybuilding finally got its big star and glorified hero to who the normal guys in the gyms could look up to. What's pretty interesting is the fact that the training of Reg Park back then in all aspects aimed more at strength than at the muscle pump. And so during his golden days he earned and gained himself the title of being one of the if not the strongest Bodybuilder(s) of his time and age. In the early 1950's he did benchpress and incline benchpress usually with at least 185kg dumbbells and in a time when squats with 140kg or 180kg were imposing he did squats with at least 225kg and even (far) more. And he did manage to rewrite some british weight lifting records. Reg Park also participated in the race for fame of benchpressing 500lbs. which means ca. 225kg first, and this all without todays fancy training equipment like benchpress shirts and such stuff that boosts performances through the roof. (And also without steroids and such other different stuff.) It is not save to say who did it first, the rivals had been the canadian olympian weight lifter Doug Hepburn, Wag Bennett who was later a mentor of Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Reg Park. Anyhow who did it first, but Reg Park did it. And he did it on a old wooden bench at the "Health & Strength" show in Bristol, England/U.K., and this without any cushion of the with weight loaded barbell on his chest and also without bending his back. This was all in 1953. During his brutal, intense, hard, and heavy bad ass work outs he usually/regulary moved weights like 140kg at the Neckpress, 90kg of clean Curls, 270kg at the Squats, and he deadlifted 270kg as well, while he did alternatley dumbbell benchpresses with 55kg dumbbells. For Calves-Raises he used normally 450kg and even more. Reg Park was especially grateful to the mighty Clancy Ross and also to Marvin Eder for pushing him more and more to use heavy and heavier weights to reach and push his limits further on and on. Both were kinds of role models for/to him. His training and also his nutrition Reg Park kept simply, basic, and (in a positive way ) primitive. Milk, steak, eggs, and heavy weights. Authentic thru and thru, and no bullshit fancy stuff needed. He did right and correct so. He focussed especially on the big ones, which/what means: Deadlifts, Squats, Benchpress', to build up his work outs and his body. And he was also one of the first ever Bodybuilders to use the so called "5x5" program, which means he did 5 sets for 5 reps of the Deadlift, the Squat, and the Benchpress in one Basics Work Out. beside this in general hard and heavy barbell based work outs with also hard and heavy dumbbell training in addition to it was the way of building muscles of Reg Park. (And he was and still is in the right with it.)

Reg Park &
Dave "The Blonde Bomber" Draper
Beside his Bodybuilding carreer Reg Park also started working early on a succesful carreer outside the gym and aside of the competition stage, not at least because you have to keep in mind that back then you simply couldn't make a living out of it (= Bodybuilding) because you just couldn't earn and make enough money with Bodybuilding and it was in no way such industrialized and commercialized like it is today. So other ways to make your money needed to be discovered and walked. And Reg Park did both very succesfully. He was a good pupil of his father who was a very prominent and succesful entrepreneur. So Reg founded his own company with which he sold seminars, photos, weights, and dumbbell-/barbellsets. This was at a time when most of the young british Bodybuilders had to improvise when they wanted to work out and train, and so they had to build their own weights, dumbbells, and barbells. Because in contrast to today weights and all this stuff had been very rare back then, and the weight training as well as iron athletes had been frowned upon heavily back then, and even other athletes mocked them. Think about that today and not only since today Weight Training is a basic training category of and in nearly every other sport it's clear to see that we came a long way since then and it is also clear to see and say who had been the stupid and ignorant nutjobs and meatheads and who not back then (and sadly enough in far too much cases also still today). When Reg Park in 1993 became presented the "Hall of Fame" price of the "Oscar Heidenstam Foundation" he said, that he is grateful that he entered Bodybuilding back then at the time when he did, sort of a revolutionary and pioneer time. He talked about his experiences back then, how it was when everyone defamed you behind your back just because they couldn't deal with you and the shape and look of your physique, how it was and how it felt to be looked down on by anyone. But he also said that "today" which means then in 1993 he made his peace with the world and the people, the days of the past were long gone and a lot had changed since then. With his company he also sold his very own magazine. First it was named "Mr. Universe" (from 1952 to 1953) and since 1954 it was named "The Reg Park Journal". And it was very popular. It was a great mag, filled with work out schedules, training systems, and nutrition plans and advices, heavily influenced by the leading U.S. American magazines of that certain era. First simple supplements and work out gear clothes were also sold. He wrote all his articles by himself without engaging a ghost writer, no matter if for his very own magazines or if for all the other magazines he wrote for, and so he wrote for example for "Health & Strength", "MuscleMag", and several Weider publications, too. In 1959 he moved to Johannesburg in South Africa, but he still worked on, especially as a author and writer. And, for example, for the first ever issue of the "MuscleMag" back in 1974 he wrote without wanting a fee for it because he believed in the work of the "MuscleMag" editor Robert Kennedy. And you can also see with/at this example how big his love and passion for the sport was, something a lot of our so called "champs" of today could learn a thing or two from, that sometimes even want money cash for just writing an autograph for their fans. Fake ass bullshit idiots!!! Reg Park also became a big influence, sort of an role model, and also a close friend to and with no one else than Arnold "The Oak" Schwarzenegger. Reg Park also became known and famous as an actor in many "sandals movies" in which he played for example Hercules like the unforgotten Steve Reeves before him (so also in this sense he, Reg Park, was the lawful successor of him, Steve Reeves), and like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno after him. But also this did no harm to his character, because he always stayed a humble, righteous, native, loyal, and sincere man. At the beginning of 2007 Reg Park was diagnosed sick, after a aggressive and incurable form of skin cancer was diagnosed at him. Until his sickness he by himself trained clients and athletes at his "Morningside Virgin Active Gym" in Sandton, Johannesburg. He died at the 22. of November of 2007 at the age of 79 years in the circle of his family. He left his wife Mareon, his son Jon Jon, his daughter Jeunesse, and his granddaughter Jarner. In the memory of his father Jon Jon, who lives in L.A., California/U.S.A. (re-) named his own gym into "Legacy Gym". And also a Reg Park foundation exists today, lead by his daughter Jeunesse, which enables access for socially disadvantaged people to sport and fitness.
That's for now and for here all what there was to tell about the great life story of the more than great Reg Park, one of the greatest champs of all times.
R.I.P. Reg Park, forever unforgotten and immortalized in Metal and Steel, a true hero of the IRON AGE.

Reg Park: Hercules came to live and walked the earth.

So, okay, I hope you enjoyed the reading of this very article. The next post of the "IRON AGE" article series up here will come for you as soon as possible. And, like already written above, next up will be tribute posts to honour no one else than the lifechanging Bill Pearl and also the first ever IFBB "Mr. Olympia" Larry Scott himself. And with him we will also see the tides turn, with the IFBB becoming more and more the dominant ruling and leading force in the world of (professional) Bodybuilding, and this is a status that the IFBB used to defend and still to occupy today, to be the solely ruling and most dominant force in Bodybuilding on this globe. So a lot of the champs we will pay our tribute to in the ongoing future of this "IRON AGE" posting series up here will be IFBB superstars, and a lot of them had been "Mr. Olympia" by themselves at some point in their career. But that are future sounds, so now just you stay tuned for more to come up here (which means, of course, also all other "normal" posts you expect up here), and then that's it for now, more as soon as possible. Stay tuned. /// Andy

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