Physical Culture / Primal Nutrition

A Very Gironda Workout Today

Vince Gironda was a 1950s era bodybuilder who was known for his unorthodox training theories.  I came across Vince Gironda’s theories on Keith Norris’ blog, and was immediately hooked.  As anyone that knows me knows, I’m a pretty serious proponent of the Primal/Paleo diet, so seeing what this individual was able to accomplish was extremely interesting.

Given my recent swerve towards the world of aesthetics, naturally I took an even more serious interest into the theories and practices of the world’s first (???) Paleo Bodybuilder.  Vince’s thoughts on training are unorthodox to say the least, but I think its important to empty your cup and to give things an honest try.

I had intended to give some of his exercises and rep schemes a try, and realized that today’s chest and back workout used several of Vince’s exercises and perhaps he’d have appreciated my efforts today.  Here’s what I did and my observations:

  • Gironda Neck Press – This exercise trebles the difficulty of the traditional bench press.  I couldn’t handle much weight, but it “felt” good.  I used Vince’s 10-8-6-15 rep scheme.  (note the pic in the link shows an incline bench, and I used a flat bench)
  • Gironda Wide Grip Dips – The reverse grip felt awkward, but not as bad as I thought.  Just make sure you’re able to get wide enough on whatever apparatus you use.  Although this variation is supposed to minimize assistance from the triceps, I definitely felt a burn in my arms.  Three sets of eight felt about right.
  • Gironda Sternum Pullups – This variation is very tough, and my ROM began to decline as the sets mounted.  I concentrated on really pulling hard to try and get my chest up there.  I shot for 25 total reps, and got there in 5 sets with no more than 6 reps at any one time.
  • Cable Seated Rows – Just used to hit different portions of my back, plain old 3 x 8-10 reps
  • Core – 3 sets of 20 crunches

This workout was completed super fast, but I definitely felt like the muscles in question had been hit in ways they hadn’t ever before.  I’m going to stick with this method at least for this particular day in my split.  I think I’ll retain my big deadlift and big squat days as they stand.

If any of you have given these a try and would like to comment, please do!

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2 thoughts on “A Very Gironda Workout Today

  1. Gironda dips do take a bit of getting used to, but they’re well worth the patience required. Mostly, the exercise puts stress on the wrists at an angle that they’re usually not accustom to, and this takes a bit of time to resolve – kinda like developing the proper wrist flexibility to allow racking of the weight in a front squat and/or clean. And most definitely your tris will begin to pick up a disproportionate amount of the load once the pecs begin to fatigue/drop out. Try this next time:begin with the dips, then go on to the neck press. Once you hit the press, though, perform half-reps (the lower half, i.e., don’t fully extend). At the point where your pecs are nearly wiped, then go back to regular, full neck presses to finish up.

  2. Hey Keith, thanks for the advice! I will definitely give this a shot next Monday.

    What rep scheme should I look to do with the two exercises, given that the order has been reversed? I was doing 10-8-6-15 for the neck press since that was my emphasis, with 3×8 for the dips.

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