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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
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
1. Bench Press: wide-grip almost to the collars.
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.
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.
1. Press-Downs- close grip.
2. Dumbbell French Press Behind Neck.
3. Triceps Extension Bench Press.
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.
2. Leg Press.
1. Good Mornings. I use Hyper Extensions instead cause I heard that this
exercise can be dangerous.
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
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
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
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.