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 Hercules Steve Reeves Workout Plan

This page was previously a forum discussion on our site.

Hercules Work Out Plan

This is the workout Steve Reeves (the actor and bodybuilder who played Hercules) used back in his day and this is also the same plan that I'm using right now. I got this straight from his book Building the Classic Physique the Natural Way. To anyone here wanting to research Reeves' workouts I would recommend buying the book instead of looking up his stuff on the Internet cause I've seen a lot of stuff that contradicts what's in the book. Also this workout should be done 3 days a week.

1. Dumbbell Swings. This is a warm up. Hold the dumbbell between your legs, squat down and stand up with your back straight. 1 set of 20 reps. Use a low weight. I use 10 pounds when I'm doing this.

Shoulders first: Do 3 exercises for the shoulders, 3 sets of 8-12 reps for each one.

1. Upright Row--Steve locked his lats in place to ensure that he would not use his traps at all doing this workout. The traps was one of the two muscle groups Steve said not to work. Steve did this but I prefer Shoulder Press with a machine.
2. Press-Behind Neck- Use a wide grip. All the way to ends of the barbell.
3. Bent-Over Lat Raises. Bent over and lift the dumbbells in a flying motion. Sometimes I like to swap this one out with Military Bench Press, which he also says is good.

Next we move on to chest. Another 3 exercises again with 3 sets of 8-12 for each.

1. Bench Press: wide-grip almost to the collars.
2. Flyes.
3. Incline Dumbbell Press.

Lats. (3 sets of 8-12 reps).

1. Lat Pulldown Behind Neck- wide-grip.
2. Low Pulley Lat Pull- Sit down with back leaning forward and pull the weight towards you.
3. One-Arm Row. I prefer to do Straight-Arm Pullovers, which is another exercise that he recommends.

Biceps:

1. High Pulley Bench Curl. Get a bench and hook some pulleys up to a bar. Lay down on the bench and the par should be above your head. Grip the bar with your hands close together and pull it down elbows up and bring it down to your chin. You usually don't have to use much weight before you feel the burn.
2. Standing Barbell Curl.
3. Incline Dumbbell Curl. Steve said this was the best exercise that you can do for your biceps. Lay down on a bench set at an incline, take hold of two dumbbells from your sides and lift them up. Use an offset grip.

Triceps:

1. Press-Downs- close grip.
2. Dumbbell French Press Behind Neck.
3. Triceps Extension Bench Press.

Legs:

1. Half-Squats
2. Front Squats
3. Buddy-Assisted Leg Curls. This targets the hamstrings. Lay down on a bench and let your training partner hold on to your ankles and put resistance on your legs while you try to curl your legs up. This is easier if you can do it one of those hamstring machines that has the leg rollers. Just don't put any weight on it and let your partner hold the rollers. I think its a lot tougher than using weight.

Calves (1 set of 20 each). When I do these exercises I just do as many reps as I can in one set.
1. Calf-Raises.
2. Leg Press.

Lower Back:
1. Good Mornings. I use Hyper Extensions instead cause I heard that this exercise can be dangerous.

Neck:
1. Partner-Assisted Neck Flexion.

I didn't completely describe each exercise but if you don't understand just say so and I'll scan in a picture. There are plenty in this book.

Posted by Nick

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Awesome, thanks for posting Nick. Steve Reeves is one of the guys that started it all for modern body builders. All the big guys seem to point back to him as inspiration.

As you posted the good morning exercise could be potentially dangerous. I've read and saw on documentaries that Bruce Lee hurt his back really bad doing those and was in pain the rest of his life which I believe Chuck Norris said that it led to his Lee's eventual death. He said that Lee was taking pain pills and I think got the wrong dosage or something. Here's the interview

 

So how long were Reeves sessions about 2 hours, 3 days a week? Or were they shorter than that?

I also read he would also eat bananas and load up on carbs the day before his workouts.

Posted by Tim

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Yeah, I read that Sly Stallone walked out of the theater after watching Hercules for the first time and decided then what he was going to do with the rest of his life.

He worked out for about 2 to 2 and 1/2 hours, 3 days a week. That's how long it takes me too to get it all done. If you look on the Internet several sources will tell you that it took him up to 4 hours to work out, but in this book he says that he never worked out more than 2 and 1/2 hours.

He drank what he called the Steve Reeves Power Drink, and he would put bananas in that.

I've got a lot of good stuff from Steve that I will be posting later.

Post by Nick

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