5 Powerful Bodybuilding Tips from Old School Legends

To take your training to the next level, here are five of the most powerful bodybuilding tips from the sport’s old school legends.

5 Powerful Bodybuilding Tips from Old School Legends

If your goal is to build the best physique possible, then there is no better source of advice than the men who have etched their names in bodybuilding history. And while the modern bodybuilder has all kinds of information at his disposal thanks to the internet, old school bodybuilders only had word of mouth and magazines. It was a different era, and the results those bodybuilders obtained are a testament to their knowledge.

To take your training to the next level, here are five of the most powerful bodybuilding tips from the sport’s old school legends.

frank zane

1. “Quality muscle takes time to develop.” – Frank Zane

Zane won quite a few bodybuilding competitions in his day, and the pinnacle of his career was his run of three Mr. Olympia titles from 1977 to 1979. Unlike some of the hulking behemoths you see in the bodybuilding world, Zane was known for having an aesthetically pleasing physique. He was very muscular, but also well-proportioned.

In a world of magazines talking about how a movie star gained 20 pounds of muscle in three months for his latest role, it’s easy to expect fast results. But that’s unrealistic, and if you gain weight too quickly, most of it will just be fat and water that you need to lose later. Zane believed 5
pounds of muscle in one year was a much better result than 30 pounds of fat, muscle and water.

2. “From the moment you enter the gym you should visualize what you are going to do.” – Franco Columbu

Columbu is perhaps the most accomplished bodybuilder in history at his height, as he stood just 5’4. He won the Mr. Olympia title in 1976 and 1981. He was also an accomplished amateur boxer, winning a championship in his native Italy, and he competed in the World’s Strongest Man competition.

Columbu knew what it took to succeed, and he said that people went to the gym to either socialize or become champions. He obviously fell in the latter category, and that’s the mentality you need to get the best results. Columbu was a big believer in visualization, and his fellow bodybuilder and friend, Arnold Schwarzenegger, was the same way.

Sergio Oliva

3. “If you train hard, eat well with quality protein, and take a good vitamin and mineral, then you can achieve a good physique.” – Sergio Oliva

Oliva was known as “The Myth,” and he took home the Mr. Olympia title from 1967 through 1969. That 1969 contest was notable in that Schwarzenegger took second, and Oliva would end up being the only man to ever defeat Schwarzenegger in a Mr. Olympia competition.

It’s important to remember that what you eat is just as important, if not even more important, than what you do in the gym. Oliva understood that, which is part of the reason he built a 52-inch chest with just a 29-inch waist at his peak. His advice here is simple, but it’s really all you need to
build a good body.

Lou Ferrigno

4. “You need to train like a bodybuilding, hitting all body parts equally, and know what your safety limit is.” – Lou Ferrigno

Standing 6’5 and weighing 285 pounds, Ferrigno was the young bodybuilding prodigy thought to have the potential to dethrone Schwarzenegger. He never captured the Mr. Olympia title, with his
best finish being second place, but he won other titles and ended up playing the Incredible Hulk in a TV series.

Ferrigno mentioned the importance of building a balanced physique, and this is key if you want to be a bodybuilder. You need to perform the right exercises to keep your body symmetrical in its muscularity. Ferrigno’s advice on knowing your limits is also wise to avoid the injuries that can
occur from lifting heavy weights.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

5. “If you can go through this pain barrier, you may get to be a champion. If you can’t go through
it, forget it.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

Schwarzenegger won an incredible seven Mr. Olympia titles, and with his success in bodybuilding, acting and politics, he needs no introduction.

Schwarzenegger understood the importance of intense training, and his weightlifting sessions in his prime are the stuff of legend. Although you can’t go 100 percent all the time, Schwarzenegger is right in that you need to push farther than you think you can manage if you want the best results.


The five men above all put in countless hours of blood, sweat and tears to hone their impressive physiques, and the results speak for themselves. In their primes, they all had some of the best bodies on the planet. Each of the tips listed above, if taken to heart, can help you get more out of
your training sessions and bring your body to the next level.