At a time when most athletes are retiring from competition, and their talent is rapidly diminishing, the bodybuilder is often just hitting his full stride. One very important reason why this is so is that the serious bodybuilder is continually striving to improve.
In his quest to reach his goals, he constantly searches for a new and better way to make progress. He is always willing to learn something new. Just ask Bill Howard, who says, “I trained for twenty years until I recently discovered that I make better progress and faster gains by not overworking. I do less sets and exercises now, but everything I do works my muscles to the maximum.”
Bill had just finished his workout at Vince’s Gym and was starting to practice his posing routine, which he had learned from the acknowledged “master of posing” Vince Gironda. As I stood there watching Bill glide smoothly from pose to pose, I was amazed at the sensational improvement he had recently made. His deltoids appeared rounder and fuller, his biceps more peaked, his thighs more shapely, and his abdomen rippled with terrific definition. When he finished his posing routine, which was a carbon copy of Gironda’s famous classic routine, Vince said, “Isn’t that guy great? I’ve never seen anyone who could duplicate my poses so perfectly.” Vince was elated. So was Bill. I was impressed!
Having known Bill Howard for years, I remarked that this was by far the best I had ever seen him look. Bill agreed with me. I asked him how he had made such terrific gains since I last saw him a few months before. He replied, “I owe it all to Vince. For years I have admired him and always wanted to become associated with Vince and train under him. I was just plodding along year after year in the same old bag, staying in shape, but not really advancing. I decided to go see Vince and ask his advice on getting in shape for the Mr. International contest which was less than a month away. Vince evaluated my physique and then planned a special workout program and diet for me. It was completely different from anything I had ever done before . . . less exercises, less sets, but more concentrated. It amazed me at how fast I improved! In just three weeks I was more cut up than I had ever been in my life, and went on to win 2nd place in the Tall Class at the Mr. International contest against some very tough competition.”
Vince Gironda is famous for getting people in top shape fast. I asked Vince how he was able to do this. Vince replied, “I can’t take credit for Bill’s development. He was already well built when he came to me. What I did was to have him cut down on his overall training program, but work his weak points harder. Bill was like most advanced bodybuilders who work each muscle group with lots of sets, but don’t really work the weakest part of the muscle hard enough. For example, if your arms are big, but lack a good biceps peak, you should work exclusively on trying to build more height to the muscle by concentrating on the outer head of the biceps. If there is one specific area of a muscle that needs improvement, it should be worked instead of the stronger area. This method of isolating each muscle group’s weakest point, and concentrating exclusively on it, results in a remarkable improvement in an individual’s overall physique in a very short time.”
Bill was in complete agreement with Vince. “I look better at age 40 than I ever have before,” said Bill, “and I know that I can continue to improve for some time to come.” He believes that he will be able to reach his full bodybuilding potential now that he has found this new method of training.
“I bulked up to 240 pounds a few years ago,” said Bill. “I never felt so good as when I trimmed back down to 200. Not everyone can get the massive muscle density of Arnold or Sergio. I prefer classical and symmetrical lines of men like Gironda and Zane. That’s what I’m striving for in my training.”
Bill Howard is no stranger to the readers of Muscle Builder. He has won over 60 trophies in physique competition. Among his other weight game accomplishments re a 425 bench, 625 squat and a 645 deadlift — all done in competition. He formerly held the Wisconsin State record in the squat with a 599 at 198 pounds.
After moving to Southern California ten years ago, Bill has trained with many of the top men like Arnold, Franco. Zane, Draper, Waller, Zabo and others. He is also close friends with Armand Tanny, Dick Dubois, Bill Pearl, George Eiferman and many other greats who have given him training tips over the years.
In h of 1974, Bill graduated from the Cleveland College of Chiropractic in Los Angeles. He feels that his bodybuilding background will prove a real asset when he goes into practice. He is very knowledgeable on the subject of nutrition, which he plans to stress with his chiropractic patients. Bill has a unique philosophy which he plans to implement when he hangs up his shingle. He plans to be a doctor who is concerned with health rather than disease. His patients will pay to stay healthy — and if they become ill, there will be no fee until they are well again.
Bill disagrees with people who say you can’t put in long hours and still find time to train. He attended Chiropractic college six hours a day, and also worked six hours daily as the director of the Ocean Towers Health Club in Santa Monica, California. He trained at 4:00 a.m. on weekdays before he went to his 7:00 a.m. class. Now that’s what I call true dedication!
In addition to his training, Bill did two other things which helped bring about his remarkable improvement:
1) He practiced his posing routine at least an hour a day (30 minutes with Vince and another 30 to 60 minutes at home at night).
2) He modified his diet.
The diet that he used was Vince’s special high protein/low carbohydrate diet. Vince believes that you must eat one carbohydrate meal every third day to keep your body functioning most efficiently. He and Bill both agree that this carbohydrate meal every third day helps you get definition faster without losing too much energy and muscle size. Another aspect of the diet was that bill laid off all supplements on Sunday on his only non-training day. Here is his pre-contest diet:
Breakfast – 3 hard boiled or poached eggs, 1″ thick slice of butter, 2 oz. of liquid amino acids and supplements*.
Lunch – 1/2 lb. broiled beef patty, supplements.
Dinner – 1/4 to 1 lb. of beef (usually steak), supplements.
*Supplements: (divided up with each meal) – Multi Vitamin/Mineral formula, liquid amino acids, concentrated germ oils, B-complex, 1000 mg. of Vitamin C, 1200 units of Vitamin E, 60 desiccated liver tablets, 30 kelp tablets.
The only liquids consumed were black coffee and water. Although this may seem severe, the consumption of carbohydrates at one meal every three days kept his energy level high and broke up the boredom of the low carbohydrate regime.
When not training for a contest, Bill will eat about 60 to 80 grams of carbohydrates a day. For instance, he’ll have seven-grain toasted bread with breakfast and add a baked potato and have a salad with the evening meal. He prefers foods that are organically grown without preservatives or pesticide spray residue. He never eats white flour products, sugar products, or highly processed foods. He neither smokes nor drinks.
Pre-Contest Training Program
This training routine can be used to get in shape fast, whether it is for a contest of just to get defined and polish up to a peak condition. It is a true split routine — upper body one day and lower body the next. Each workout takes about 1-1/2 hours or less. Quality training is used — no more than 30 seconds rst between sets.
Monday/Wednesday/Friday – Upper Body
1) Pulley Short Lat Pulls
This is a great exercise for adding sweep to the lats for a better spread. From the semi-squat position, the bar is pulled into the upper abdomen; it is then lowered to the starting position with care being taken that the upper back is under continuous tension throughout. This is repeated until 8 sets of 8 reps have been completed.
2) Wide V-Bar Dips
This is the best exercise to add shape and cuts to the lower and outer portions of the pectorals. The body is lowered as far as possible with a double bounce on the bottom; the upper body is thoroughly contracted and slightly compressed at the top. Again, 8 sets of 8 reps.
3) One-Arm Cable Laterals
Unbeatable for building a cap on the delts by developing the lateral head, which is great for increasing the width of the shoulders. While seated on a low bench, or kneeling, the cable handle is raised across the body to about ear level. The little finger is turned up at the top to peak the deltoid. 8 x 8 with each arm.
4) Long Cable Triceps Extension
All three heads of the triceps are thickened and shaped with this exercise. While kneeling and supported on a low bench, extend the arms to a complete lockout with the elbows facing outwards at all times. 8 sets of 8 reps.
5) Scott Bench Curls
This is probably the best exercise for building up the outer head of the biceps, which improves the peak. With the hands wide and the elbows in close, lower the barbell as far as possible before returning toe the starting position. Do 6 full reps with as much weight as you can handle in proper form.
Then, without resting, step back from the bench and stand erect and do 4 more reps in the following manner:
Curl the weight up as high as possible with the elbows well back so that the bar barely grazes the chest on the way up. This peak contraction movement is done immediately after every set of Scott Bench Curls (done as described). Do 8 sets of this biceps superset.
Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday – Lower Body
1) Hip-Belt Calf Raise
A unique exercise that really works the calves thoroughly. The foot positions are varied on each set (toes in, out, and straight) to get all sections of the muscle. Rise all the way up and lower all the way down on each rep. This is done for 8 sets of 20 repetitions. The knees are rotated inward in a kind of circular motion on the way up on every rep.
2) Sissy Squat
This is probably the most effective exercise known for building and shaping the quadriceps muscles just above the knee. The exercise is done in three parts:
(a) With the heels elevated, the hips are thrust forward as the body is lowered; return to the starting position and repeat for five reps. Then, without pausing …
(b) The second part of the exercise is done from the bottom position of the squat. The hips are thrust upwards until you are in the 3/4 squat position; then lower to the bottom and repeat for five reps. Then, without pausing …
(c) The third part of the exercise is a combination of the first two movements. Thrust the hips forward as you lower the body, then go down by lowering the hips until you are in the full squat position; return by thrusting the hips forward while rising to the 3/4 position, then bring the hips back and stand up straight again. Repeat for five reps. This is total of 15 “reps” on the exercise, done for the usual 8 sets.
3) Isolated Leg Raise/Squeeze
Here is a really superb abdominal exercise that must be done with intense concentration. With hands placed under the hips and the back propped up against a wall with the chin resting on the chest, slowly raise the legs as high as possible while trying to squeeze or crunch the abdomen. Exhale as the legs are elevated, inhale as they are lowered. Repeat for 8 sets of 8 reps with just a few seconds pause between sets. This will give your abdominals a terrific workout if done properly.
Well, that’s Bill’s contest training program. It hardly seems like enough work to get results! But that is its secret. It doesn’t overwork you and cause you to lose muscle size like those endless sets and reps that some guys use in training down for a peak. In combination with diet, it burns up subcutaneous fat without reducing muscle size. The result is great definition with more size.
The only regret Bill has is that he didn’t get started on Vince’s routine sooner.