What is a Golden Era Physique
The golden era of bodybuilding took place between the 1960s and 1970s when the sport really started to become mainstream and famous competitions like the Mr. Olympia contests started to take place because of the sports increasing popularity.
A golden era physique is simply the kind of physique bodybuilders and especially the top bodybuilders had during this point in time. A golden era physique is the kind of physique these golden era bodybuilders worked towards and achieved.
What Makes a Golden Era Physique
The V Shape
The most important thing to aim for when asking how to build a golden era physique is something known by bodybuilders as the V shape or V taper.
The V shape is no mystery and is exactly what it sounds like it is. The V shape refers to building your body in such a way that it appears to create a V shape which means it is widest on the top and getting thinner as it goes down.
A Ripped Flat Midsection
An all around ripped body is part of what makes not only a golden era bodybuilder but makes any bodybuilder a successful one.
But one particular trait of golden era bodybuilders that stands out compared to the modern day bodybuilders is their flat stomach or midsection.
Mainly due to the current overproduction of new kinds of steroids and the overuse of growth hormones modern day bodybuilders tend to develop something known as a bubble gut.
With their bubble guts they still look lean in the sense that no or next to no subcutaneous fat appears to be present and their abs are showing.
But their abs are pushed out and rounded. They appear bloated and have a round belly with muscle on it instead of a flat one.
The golden era bodybuilders on the other hand had no such thing. Their abs were lean and tight. Nothing was loose and everything was controlled.
They even had poses such as the vacuum where they had to be able to pull their midsection so tight that you can see the shape of their rib cage. This could never be even close to achievable with the bodybuilder bubble gut.
The Firm Look
Golden era bodybuilders and more specifically their muscles seemed to have a look that can only be described as firm even compared to the muscle men and bodybuilders of today.
Not only were their muscles strong and dense they actually looked dense and like they were strong.
Again due to the current overuse of new kinds of steroids and hormone injections modern day bodybuilders tend to experience a lot of side effects that can negatively affect their muscles and make them look softer.
One of these common side effects is known as gynecomastia or gyno which causes someone to overproduce fat tissue on their chest making them look more blubby or softer.
A key quality that makes one bodybuilder better than another no matter what era of bodybuilding we are talking about is one’s symmetry.
It is how similar one side of their body looks to the other side of their body. This counts for all aspects of their body.
This includes muscular size, muscular width, density, how cut and all other traits imaginable. But muscular size being the most important as the other qualities may prove difficult to control and simply come down to genetics.
The final thing that really makes a golden era physique is the ability to show it off optimally with refined and peak posing.
In the current era of bodybuilding posing is important. Posing is all these competitors do on stage and posing is what determines if their physique is better than their competitors as it always has been.
But during the golden era more time was spent perfecting these poses and the competitors ability to hold them. This is made especially clear during poses such as the vacuum pose where a bodybuilder has to pull their stomach and hold their body as tight as physically possible for a period of time.
Examples of Golden Era Physiques
This competitor is all around a good example of a golden era physique but especially when it comes to his midsection.
He has a muscular and ripped midsection that still manages to stay flat as oppose to a lot of modern style bodybuilders who appear bloated.
Another great example of a golden era physique as everything is here from the symmetry to appearing to have that V shape.
With that said I think this competitors best quality when it comes to creating a golden era physique is having firm looking muscles that pop out at you.
Key To Building a Golden Era Physique
We talked about what exactly makes a golden era physique so it is only fitting that the key to achieving a golden era physique is by learning how to achieve what makes one.
How To Get The V Shape
You get the V shape by building your body wider on the top. You can do so by really targeting and building up your shoulders as well as your back. Which takes up a large portion of your upper body and has a kind of V shape to it naturally.
When it comes to your latissimus dorsi muscles on your back they are wide on the top and steadily get narrower until they connect at your hip. This will become a key factor when it comes to trying to shape your body like a V.
On the other part of the spectrum or V in this case you have to keep your base thin. Your base when it comes to your body is your legs so you can not overproduce leg growth like many modern bodybuilding seems to promote doing.
Do not take this the wrong way though and think that you should avoid focusing on and frequently training your legs.
You should focus on your legs and make the most leg day gains you can as long as your upper body gains and in particular your back and shoulder gains can keep up to them.
You should have big legs but not so big that they are comparable or come close to the width of your shoulders.
Your legs should be wide but everything above your legs should be wider starting with your lower lats and continuously getting wider until you get to your shoulders which should be much wider than your lower body.
How To Get A Ripped Flat Midsection
When thinking about keeping your midsection flat it heavily depends on your diet. A diet high in protein and with next to no carbohydrates and making sure when carbs are consumed it is post workout. This kind of diet will help keep a flat midsection.
On top of the diet training your midsection will also help achieve this goal. Not only training the visible muscles such as the abdomen but also the muscles deeper inside you such as your intercostal muscles because these are the muscles that will help pull your stomach in closer to your body’s core and keep it there.
Achieving The Firm Look
Achieving the firm look calls for the same kind of diet talked about previously. Keeping all around lean will help your muscles pop out more and the more they pop out the more powerful or firm they will look.
When it comes to training putting some time into lifting heavier weights for a low amount of repetitions will be a big help towards achieving this look. Not only will it make you stronger but it will make your muscles denser and appear to be harder.
How To Achieve Symmetry
Building a symmetrical physique is probably the most straightforward and simplest thing to work towards when it comes to building the perfect golden era physique.
In order to build and maintain a symmetrical physique you need balance in your training.
Everything you do on one side of your body does the exact same thing on the other side and eventually each side of your body will line up and come together.
Another thing to keep in mind here is to avoid using barbells and use equipment like dumbbells as much as you can to help ensure each separate part of your body gets the exact same kind and amount of training.
How To Achieve Peak Posing
When trying to perfect posing and achieve peak posing performance the number one factor is definitely practice. I feel that bodybuilders simply do not practice and emphasis posing as much as they used to.
There definitely should be whole sessions dedicated to training ones posing as there would be for training different body parts.
Not only that but on top of these posing sessions there should still be lots of posing done during other times especially after training and even during training such as in between sets.
You can definitely over train a muscle but you can not over train your posing ability always remember that.
Workouts For a Golden Era Physique
The workouts for a golden era physique can vary but all of them have the same core values and or tactics.
These tactics include making a workout plan with both hypertrophy and strength training. Doing extra sets for your shoulders and especially your back. Include posing into your workouts on top of having training days specifically for posing.
When making a workout plan that includes both hypertrophy and strength it is most optimal to do these on two separate days.
If you run a push pull legs split like many bodybuilders do (see ‘What’s Push Pull Legs?’) have one push day focused on hypertrophy doing between 10 and 15 reps for each set.
On the very next push day you have make sure it is focused on strength doing between 4 and 6 reps and do the same kind of thing with every other training day.
Doing extra sets for your shoulders and back to appear wider is not a crime and is something that is encouraged to achieve the golden era look.
It is as simple as adding two extra sets to your shoulder workout and three extra sets to your back workout since your back is a bigger group of muscles.
If you notice your shoulder and back development is getting too far ahead of the rest of your physique you can always take sets away or if you feel they aren’t developing enough you can always add sets.
A crucial thing that should be added to a workout routine for someone looking to get a golden era physique is at least two training sessions dedicated to posing a week.
A dedicated posing session should at least be an hour. On top of these dedicated sessions there should always be a conscious effort to pose in between sets instead of just resting around waiting.
By keeping all of these things in mind you will be able to make an effective workout plan and finally achieve that golden era physique you have always wanted.