Steve Reeves Workout


Authored by Victor Roffel in Exercise
Published on 11-06-2009

Before there was Ronnie Coleman, there was the legendary Arnold Schwarzenegger. Most people admired the greatness and versatility of the Austrian Oak. But before the public would be entertained by Arnold, there was someone who did the same as well. Boasting his commitment as an all-time natural competitor and legend of bodybuilding, he was also at one point, the highest paid actor in the world. This man is Steve Reeves.

Steve Reeves physique had incredible symmetry and proportions. Having won Mr. America, Mr. World and Mr. Universe, Steve was widely known for his amazingly wide shoulders and tiny waist. Steve was particular in not executing certain exercises that increased the size of his trapezius and oblique muscles. He believed that the extra muscle would ruin the illusion of the proportion of his shoulders to waist ratio. He placed tremendous emphasis on his shoulders and upper chest instead.

Incline dumbbell curls

One of Steve’s favorite exercises for the biceps was the incline dumbbell curl. Because of the angle the exercise is performed, there is no way an individual can cheat in this exercise. Steve would sometimes perform this exercise with ridiculous amounts of weight and extended amount of sets.

Shoulder presses

Steve’s shoulders are no doubt one of the most impressive ones of all-time. To build those bouldering shoulders, Steve would do shoulder presses behind his neck. Most fitness gurus would shun away from the behind the neck shoulder press because of its perceived ‘dangers’. But many bodybuilders such as Steve believed that injury comes only from poor form while executing the exercise. Steve kept his torso upright with his knees locked so the shoulders can take maximum load without cheating.

Incline dumbbell bench press

Steve was also famous for the development of his upper chest. He attributed it to incline dumbbell presses where he set the bench at an incline and performed presses with dumbbells. The upper chest is emphasized more with the incline which created the symmetry that Steve had. Steve believed that the chest should be symmetrical and went on to perform this exercise over regular bench presses.

Barbell front squats

Steve preferred front squats over back squats. That was because he believed that the back squat would increase the width of his hips and butt that would eventually ruin his idea of a perfect physique. Front squats target the thigh muscles more than the back squat and Steve would do them with the power clean stance with his elbows up high.

Donkey calf raises

Popularized by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 90’s, Steve was one of the first to use this exercise to its fullest potential. Steve would bend over at the hips and lay his body down on a table. He would load the exercise by having 2 random people sitting on his back. Raising the hips and concentrating on perfect repetitions, there was no cheating and bouncing of the exercise as he did them.

Steve knew of the importance of providing progressive resistance to the muscles to ensure constant growth. He would approach each workout with a goal to beat his previous records in mind. Most of the exercises that Steve used are done for 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions. Steve Reeve’s physique was of legendary status. Being natural, he shows what can be done with hard work and consistency without steroids.


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