Vince Gironda’s Definition Routine

Vince Gironda Definition

Here is the classic “Definition Routine” by Vince Gironda.

This routine of Vince’s can be considered as one of the last, classic definition routines since Vince himself was one of the last classic physique builders.

Now, it should be mentioned that Vince, even with this natural method, took definition to an extreme in the eyes of the pre-roid, Golden Age judges (who were not impressed by the cadaver look). This is why, on some occassions, he didn’t place higher in physique competitions. Nevertheless, his method is very effective and it is easy enough to stop well before one looks like a cadaver!

His method, of course, includes an exercise routine and his classic “maximum definition diet.” The exercise routine was a 6 day-a-week split, doing upper body on 3 days, lower body on 3 days and resting for one day.

Upper Body Exercises (eg., M, W, F):

1. Wide Parallel Dips (with hands 32″ apart, chin on chest, feet under face)
2. Seated Rows
3. Biceps Preacher Curls (with wide grip and elbows close)
4. Triceps Overhead Pull
5. Seated Dumbbell Lateral Raise
6. Wrist Curls (with rolling bar to finger tips)

Lower Body Exercises & Abs (e.g., T, Th, Sa):

1. 1/4 sit up or roll (essentially ab crunches), superset with following exercise
2. stiff leg raise
3. Hack Slides (up on toes with heels touching and knees 20″ apart)
4. Donkey Raise (with knees slightly unlocked and toes on 4″ block”

The rep scheme was as follows: first 3 weeks do 8 sets of 8 reps, next 3 weeks do 6 sets of 6 reps, last 3 weeks do 4 sets of 12 reps. The only exception is calves for which you always do 20 reps per set. This was a 12 week course. Presumably there was a week layoff after each training period of 3 weeks (Vince liked to train for 21 days, then take 7 days off – so these instructions fit that pattern). Between sets, Vince prescribed hyperventilating – or taking 5 to 10 deep breaths.

Of course, Vince had special instructions for each of his exercises. So to really understand the routine, you can still purchase a copy of Vince’s original booklet.

Now, Vince stated very clearly that he felt that gaining definition was 85% nutrition. So that tells you the importance of his “maximum definition diet” that he recommended to go along with his exercise routine. The diet is a zero-carb diet where you have a total carb meal every 72 hours or 4-5 days (in order to restore the glycogen in your system & muscles). The details of the diet are spelled out in his booklet. But the general idea is this:

eggs & meat, fish, fowl only (no limit)

eggs & meat, fish, fowl only (no limit)

same as breakfast and lunch (note: in one version of this diet, Vince allowed a tossed green salad with oil & vinegar dressing with dinner)

Carb Meal
every 72 hours

Use butter and cream (this is the only dairy products allowed)

e.g., liver tablets, kelp tablets, amino acids, enzyme tablets, vitamin & mineral tablets, glandulars, wheat germ oil w/ every meal, arginine-ornithine, etc (see Vince’s booklet for details). He stressed the importance of taking calcium since it will counteract the “nervousness” that the high protein diet will cause.

In any case, there you are! One of the last methods of gaining classic definition from one of the last, true representatives of the pre-roid Golden Age. Vince’s ideas probably represent the “high point” in terms of the pre-roid, Golden Age supplement methods.

This routine and diet will definitely work! It is really for the advanced trainer and requires major discipline! Zero carb diets are not easy to follow, but they sure burn fat quickly and allow you to retain more muscle mass! If you plan to try out Vince’s routine, we recommend getting the original, full course as indicated above.

  1. hello, my question is …from what i’ve read a muscle should not be worked twice within a 72 hour period, but the above says otherwise, please explain as it would be greatly appreciated. Much thanks.- fan of VG and this site!

  2. #3, that’s 48 hours, not 72. You can usually exercise the same muscle every other day. Sometimes you may need more recovery time.

  3. Great article EXCEPT where you said YOU SAID it was the pre-steriod age THERE was never a pre-steriod age when it comes to bodybuilders who appeared in magazines ,all big name bodybuilders who appeared in the magazines from Gremik to steve Reeves bill pearl where on gear,that’s how they appeared so much more advanced than the average iron head who played for all their special protein mixes and vitamins but it worked THE mags sold millions of dollars worth of supplements BY the Testosterone and other Steriods have been around since the 1920`s,Reeves even admitted that Dbol was his favourite blue pill ,there was nothing special about YORK Or Golds gym or a secret barbell curl to get 18 inch arms or any other secret what to exercise ,the difference was steriods IT was that way then and it’s that way now ,and for the record all of vinces champions were on steriods ,I know because I was there

  4. if you were there you must have senile demntia. Testosterone was not chemically isolated until the early 1930s and not available in any effective form. Eventually Testosterone propionate esters were developed and marketed for depression and hypogonadism in Europe starting in 1936 by Ciba and by Schering.

    Steve Reeves last contest was the 1950 Universe. Dianabol was not on the market until 1958.

    Testosterone was not chemically isolated until the early 1930s and not available in any effective form. Eventually Testosterone propionate esters were developed and marketed for depression and hypogonadism in Europe starting in 1936 by Ciba and by Schering.

    Injectable Test was observed being given to Russian Olympic Weight lifters by the US weightlifting teams physician Dr John Ziegler in 1954. He worked with Ciba to develop a longer lasting form of testosterone and they came up with Metandienone, commonly known as Dianabol. Available on the market in 1958.

    The pre-steroid era would then effectively be anything prior to 1958 when Ciba marketed Dianabol it in the US.

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