It has been argued that what Arnold did for bodybuilding and acting in movies in the 80's and 90's Steve Reeves did the same in the late 40's after the war and the 50's. After he won the AAU Mr. America in 1947 and Mr. Universe in 1950 it is said that he became the highest paid movie actor in Europe.
Stephen L. Reeves was born in Glasgow, Montana on January 21 1926 and then moved to California with his mother at 10 years old when his father died in a farming accident. Between 1959 and 1964 Steve acted in a number of different sword and sandal movies like Hercules.
Steve first started training with weights when serving in the army during WWII where he served in the Philippines. After he was discharged he went straight to his gym and made rapid progress competing in 1947 and winning Mr. Pacific Coast and Mr. America held in Chicago when he was only 21 years old.
He won Mr. World in 1948 and placed 2nd to John Grimek in 1949 at the Mr. USA contest. In 1950 Steve finally beat his hero Reg Park winning Mr. Universe, but his bodybuilding career was coming to an end as he injured his shoulder making a movie which affected the weight he could lift.
When Steve won Mr. America people said that his perfect proportions and extremely good looks helped to get bodybuilding out of the sub-culture status that it had been in for 50 years. It was this legacy that Arnold inherited which he took to the next level bringing muscles on screen to the average American.
Steve Reeves Workout Routine
Steve did not believe in the ridiculously high volume training done by most bodybuilders at the time and said that training only three times a week can get the best results if you do it correctly. The routine listed below is just one of the many different routines that Steve did when preparing for the Mr. America.
Wide-grip bench-press 3 x 10 reps
Inclined press 3 X 12 reps
D/B raises 3 to 5 x 10 reps.
Overhead downward pull on lat pull-downs 3 x 12 reps
Rowing 3 x 12 reps
Cable pulley rows 3 x 15 reps
2 handed D/B swings 3 x 10
Triceps extensions 3 x 10
Incline preacher curls 5-6 X 10 reps
Front squat 3 x 15 reps
Hack squats 3 x 15 reps
Legs curls 4 x 10 reps
Toe presses on leg press 3 sets to failure
Seated calves 3 sets to failure
Hyperextensions 4 x 12 reps