The 90’s were known for bodybuilders that rocked Zubaz pants, fanny packs and even sunglasses in the gym. Beyond that however, there were some ridiculous training programs, beliefs and practices that we all would love to forget in addition to the fashion. In this video, I’m going to cover the 8 things we don’t miss at all about nineties bodybuilding and what we can learn from these mistakes.
We start with excessive spotting. It seems that no matter where you turned in Gold’s Gym, somebody was getting spotted through an exercise. Heck, even if you didn’t want one someone was always willing and ready to give you a lift no matter what you were doing. Whether it was curls, bench press, or even tricep pushdowns, someone was there to help you lift the weight and do at least fifty percent of the work for you. Today, your muscles are better off for your move to independence. Let’s keep it that way.
Next, it only takes a brief skimming of one of the most popular bodybuilding magazines of the day – Ironman Magazine – to see how too many sets were being prescribed in every workout. They literally had us doing 29 sets for chest on a Tuesday and then coming back on a Friday to finish up with another 31. That is just pure insanity. Today we have learned how more is less when it comes to balancing out the quality of the training you do with the time it takes you to do it.
It gets worse however when you look deeper into those marathon workouts. For shoulders for example, it was not uncommon to be asked to perform 7 different variations of side laterals alone. From standing side laterals to seated side laterals to even machine assisted. I’m not saying that there is anything particularly wrong with any of the variations, it’s just that we certainly didn’t need to include them all in the same workout.
Moving on, the anabolic window is something that took an even longer time to fade away. In fact, to this day some still believe that the critical 30 minutes post workout is all you have to get your nutrients in or forever waste an opportunity to feed your starving muscles what they need to grow. This simply isn’t true, especially if you have eaten within a couple hours prior to training. The protein your body is still digesting from your meal prior to working out is still available and ready to help you after you’re done lifting.
The next thing that had us a bit hesitant to jump on a treadmill and do anything but walk slowly was the fear of cardio eating up your muscles. Now, a fitness regimen consisting primarily of long endurance activities at the expense of heavy explosive lifting will definitely craft a body that is less impressive. That said, a little cardio here and there is not going to hinder your ability to pack on muscle and will actually help you to get to a level of leanness that will show off the results of your hard work even a little bit more.
As for the local gym “pharmacist”, it seems that every gym had a creep like this. Even when you did your best to avoid him around the gym itself, he always seemed to appear when you were just trying to get changed and get home after another hard, unassisted workout. Turn down his offers and you might just get a first hand look at his drug induced rage.
Finally, while I believe that functional training has gone way too far there was a time in the 90’s when bodybuilding did everything it could to be anything but functional. Every exercise was performed on a machine and the very thought of having to do something with your own bodyweight without being strapped to some contraption was nothing but inferior training. Thankfully times have changed.
As you can see, there were quite a few pitfalls that you wanted to avoid if you trained through the 90’s bodybuilding era. Of course, just like then there are many today as well. The key is trying to train hard and most importantly, smart. If you’re looking for a smart training program and nutrition plan that you can use to start looking and feeling like an athlete, click the link below and pick the program best suited to your goals today.
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Jeff Cavaliere M.S.P.T, CSCS
Jeff Cavaliere is a Physical Therapist, Strength Coach and creator of the ATHLEAN-X Training Programs and ATHLEAN-Rx Supplements. He has a Masters in Physical Therapy (MSPT) and has worked as Head Physical Therapist for the New York Mets, as well as training many elite professional athletes in Major League Baseball, NFL, MMA and professional wrestling. His programs produce “next level” achievements in muscle size, strength and performance for professional athletes and anyone looking to build a muscular athletic physique.