How Did Silver Era Bodybuilders Train?

While everyone often talks about the Golden Era Bodybuilders, not many do so about the Silver Era bodybuilders. This was a period in the 1940s that lasted till the 1970s, after which the Golden Era started.

The Silver Era Bodybuilders were as raw as it could get, and everything in their training and nutrition was much different than what it is today. The bodybuilders back in the day were pioneers in the sport, and their names continue to echo around.

Steve Reeves was the first bodybuilder to put the sport under the limelight. He had a stunning physique, with a chiseled jaw, wide shoulders, and tiny waist. This was the physique every bodybuilder was yearning for at the time.

Steve Reeves
Steve Reeves

Silver era bodybuilders from that time were found at Muscle Beach in Santa Monica, and magazines often covered their workout and nutrition. Some of the names who used to be present at Muscle Beach are George Eiferman, Dick DuBois, Clancy Ross, and others.

Their training was purely iron. It was more of a lifestyle for them than it was about health. They focused on staying in shape all year round rather than the current trend of bulking and cutting during seasons. They would participate in shows every other weekend, which attracted huge crowds to Muscle Beach.

Several such bodybuilders worked in TV series and movies as well, especially enacting the roles of characters such as Hercules or strongmen.


How did Silver Era Bodybuilders Train?

The bodybuilders of this era focused on progressive overload with resistance training, and barbells and dumbbells. During that time, machines were limited, and only some forms of cable pulley machines were available. As a result, the bodybuilders mostly depended on free weights.

They would focus on conditioning their whole body by using free weights and try to understand how their body reacted to the training. This understanding helped them to progress their training. Additionally, silver era bodybuilders focused on improving their tendon and ligament strength as well.


Coming to their routine, the idea was to workout at least three times a week and sometimes more. However, they would never work out if they were tired or sleepy, and especially right after eating. Moreover, the bodybuilders would work out at the same time to make it a habit.

What was Their Usual Routine?

Usually, these bodybuilders would begin a full body routine with approximately 15 exercises. The reason being, it was important for beginners to learn the movement first. Hence, it was usually one or two sets per exercise, roughly around 10 to 15 reps.

Meanwhile, their lifestyle was simple but disciplined. Silver era bodybuilders would indulge in a warm shower after their workout and finish with a cold shower. It was important for them to stretch at least twice a day and get a minimum of eight hours of sleep.


Their diet consisted of meats, milk, organic fruits and vegetables, non-processed carbohydrates, and healthy snacks. They would avoid sugar as much as possible, especially cake, candy, etc.

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