The Vince Gironda One-Arm Chin Photo

There is a famous photo of Vince Gironda supposedly doing a single arm chin with an added dumbell, but the truth is the photo was taken as he released his second arm and just dropped down with one arm.

Bob Kennedy said the dumbell was simply handed to him on the way down, taken with a flash and then Vince got back to insulting his customers!

(The dumbell in the photo is also the infamous wooden dumbell!)

But Vince Gironda? Of course he could do a single arm chin up! Even multiples! And with a extra dumbbell for more weight!

Vince Gironda never had to lie about his abilities. If he was one thing, then it was for real!

In regard to strength Vince had it way beyond his size. Don Peters used to marvel at the weights Vince used in awkward movements and he’d bark at Don or Bill McArdle and say “Hey try this!” to bust their onions.

He also threw the hammer and tossed the caber besting guys twice his size in the highland games held in Ca. The original HIT man Arthur Jones had the utmost respect for Vince Gironda and vice versa because they would tell each other they were full of shit face to face. Then the next day ask each others advice.

Back to the late departed Kennedy, we often had long informal chats, another not so known fact is that Vince had a liking for the hard stuff, not HIT but a dram of whiskey, fact is sometimes he got pissed and that may be why he at times had a few tetchy moments.

Vince was remarkable in a lot of ways. He liked getting juiced (pissed) too. Members knew when he was. For all his training knowledge he had some outrageous BS too. Benching heavy to the neck and something he termed “overtonis”. It was his way or the highway (like Jones).

When asked if he had friends his reply was “I don’t really care” as long as I have a lot of students.

The sourpuss thing was his “shtick” and he cultivated it to the hilt. Weider printed a lot of his training matter “el chepo” and embellished his legend in his mags.

Was he a guru?

Well, 10-8-6-15, 8 sets of 8, sissy squat marathons were around and written about since Berry and Grimek. Vince did live in his gym, did train the stars and was in superb shape even in his older years.

1 Comment
  1. Vince, the iron guru wouldn’t become known as – if he wasn’t one of a million. It just goes to show that even his onced overlooked training concepts and nutritional strateg is now being accepted. You just can’t judge a book by its cover, just cause he isn’t in the public eye, as much like the amass of the Weider empire, even Joe recognised that Vince was one of a kind thus, perceives him as a threat and irritant (a sure sign of insecurity but unlikely to admit it).

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