It's been a little while since my last “Fun Find,” but I happened upon this latest one during a thrift store forage and found some of the pictures interesting. So, in the tradition of some other past finds of this ilk like The BodyPrincipal and Jim Palmer's Way to Fitness, I give you Arnold's Bodybuilding for Men by Arnold Schwarzenegger, published in 1981. (This cover is a bit of a cheat, by the way... the blonde never reappears inside the book!)
In 1981, Schwarzenegger was a famous bodybuilding champion, but was not yet the movie superstar he would become in 1984 when The Terminator was released. Still, he was reasonably hot, having not only just starred in Conan the Barbarian (1981), but also picking up another Mr. Olympia win in 1980, his seventh overall. That was a record until 1991, when another contestant won eight (in a row!) Schwarzenegger remains, however, the man who was the youngest winner ever, having received the title at twenty-three in 1970.
One of his victories shown in the book was this one in 1975 in which Lou Ferrigno came in third. In 1977, Ferrigno and Schwarzenegger went head-to-head for the title role in the TV series The Incredible Hulk. (See below) Schwarzenegger was deemed less imposing height-wise than the nearly 6'5” Ferrigno who won the part. (Schwarzenegger's height has been reported – and disputed – as anywhere from 5”10” to 6'2”!) Needless to say, Schwarzenegger went on to the arguably more desirable career as a top Hollywood action hero for many years.
For the purposes of demonstrating various exercise moves in this guide, Schwarzenegger enlisted the aid of several friends and fellow athletes. This is Gilad Janklowicz, an Israeli Olympian who later became a TV fitness personality with a long-running show called Bodies in Motion and has morphed into a video workout persona who's referred to as “Lord of the Abs!” See below for a more recent glimpse.
In 1981, he was not yet the smooth, tautly-pulled, rather plastic-looking person he is now, but was a fit, fluffily-coiffed young man with hair on his chest. (Still, I guess we mustn't complain since the man is now almost sixty! He was twenty-seven at the time of this book.)
He also sports some flimsy, clingy shorts. (And note that the original owner of this book actually tried for a month or so to actually do these moves. You mean someone bought these manuals for reasons other than the pictures?!?)
The '80s was a primo time for skimpy workout wear. You would NEVER see such a thing in most gyms today, where layers of long nylon shorts rule the day.
Fans of feet might get a lot of enjoyment out of this guide since most of the participants are barefoot throughout and many pictures include them.
Here we see Schwarzenegger giving Janklowicz a guiding hand with his stretches. This one almost has a male pairs figure-skating or ballroom dance quality to it! Ha!
Check out the tan lines around his thighs.
This next gentleman doesn't seem to be anyone known to the general public, but his name is Michael Morris. We're getting into ferret country now. Ha!
Here, we see Mr. Morris bench-pressing (it might just be me, but I swear he's lifting 20 lbs!)
Is pitching a pup tent one of the exercises or just a side effect?
He's cute in a '70s, macho-clone sort of way, but I didn't scan the one shot of his teeth, which are sort of jack o'lantern-like. I like the hairy chest, though.
You can really get to know yourself well through some of these.
Next we see Jon Jon doing pull-ups on a hotel bathroom doorknob! (I hope he's staying in a place with higher quality doors than some of the places I've been in!!)
Then he's seen doing leg lifts on a hotel bed (with all sorts of debris lying about.) I bet there are plenty of Adam4Adam.com and Squirt.org members who have headed to a hotel room somewhere and found a friend waiting in positions akin to this!
He's a nice looking kid in great shape.
For some outdoor shots on the parallel bars, Arnie got a little bit cutesy and decided to play peek-a-boo through Kingsdale's arm...
..then Arnold showed him how to do pull-ups and achieve a wedgie in the process...
In the lunges section, we get a little glimmer of David Jr, even through these thick, starchy brand of workout shorts which were everywhere in the late-'70s/early-'80s.
The final guest in the book is a man named Daniel Bromstead. Check out the socks!
And look at his very special (and hopefully free/provided!) tank top!
Arnold gets very up close and personal with him in this scene, er, I mean shot.
Maybe it's just me, but there's something sort of unsure, yet anticipatory, in this come hither pose.
He winds up showing a lot of upper thigh in some of his photos, too.
As he's demonstrating various leg lifts, we see more and more white skin near the end of his shorts.
Wait for it... wait for it.... Wow.
Arnold is back at the end of the book to supply some of his favorite shots and poses. (I feel I should mention, too, that both of Schwarzenegger's idols - the beautiful Steve Reeves and the aforementioned Reg Park - believed in natural bodybuilding without any chemical enhancement, but that Schwarzenegger has admitted to using steroids before they were deemed illegal.)
Okay, so I'm unfairly poking fun at a vintage manual, affixing homoerotica and camp onto something for which it was not intended. But the sport of bodybuilding has always had an aura of homosexuality around it, not to mention a massive dollop of narcissism.
Editor's Note: Maybe karma was trying to teach me something! I developed a "failed" root canal paired with an eye abrasion, which put me out of commission for four or five days recently, thus causing this post to come far later than intended. I just can't catch a break lately!! But, as Arnold said in The Terminator, "I'll be back!" I'm not yet ready to throw in the towel at The Underworld...