Through the years Steve has been a proven trainer over and over again. His qualifications show this champion bodybuilder had nutritional knowledge far ahead of his time.
He took some courses in chiropractics while at college in San Francisco. He designed many types of fitness devices and invented and coined the phrase "power walking."
Steve would read everything he could get his hands on about fitness and bodybuilding. When I worked out in Steve’s gym he would put me through workouts that were some of the greatest I have ever experienced.
I watch him train others too and show them techniques that made all the difference in the world with just a small change of position.
When he was in the Army, Steve even trained other soldiers. Some he worked with during his time in the Philippines. Just after the end of the war, while in Japan, he put American Army officers through fitness and weight training maneuvers.
Few people know that Steve owned and operated a gym in Miami, Florida in 1955 and 1956. The gym was called "The Steve Reeves Athletic Club." In a picture I saw of Steve during that period, his arms looked the best I have ever seen them.
The picture on this page was taken in June of 1957 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Steve was working for American Health Studios at the time.
Steve authored the books Building the Classic Physique – The Natural Way and Power Walking. He would occasionally give seminars on bodybuilding, cross training and power walking.
You'll find the latest editions of these books as well as his all-natural line of supplements in our online store.
Steve Reeves accumulated a great deal of information on training and nutrition throughout his life. Much of it appears in his book "Building the Classic Physique - the Natural Way."
Steve kept very good records of his workouts and training and one of his first records was found back in 1994. It has been called the Holly Grail of Bodybuilding.
My friend John Little wrote an article about me and how I found Steve's workout routine. Steve was only 15 years old when he wrote it on the inside of his garage wall.
Here is that article with a special thanks to John Little and Flex magazine for letting us reprint it here.
Flex Editor-In-Chief Jerry Kindela sauntered over to my desk one day last April. He had that "I know something you don't know" look of self-satisfaction plastered across his face, like he was privy to the biggest bodybuilding story of the year, if not of all time.
"Johnny, my boy," he began (as he is wont to do), "I think I have a story that would be right up your alley." Every time in the past when Jerry has made such a statement, he's been bang-on, so I was all ears. "I've just gotten off the phone with a guy named George Helmer." "Yes?" I replied, knowing that there had to be more to the story than this. "George has just discovered Steve Reeves' original workout routine written on the garage wall of Reeves' old house in Oakland!" I was stunned into silence, which, as anyone in the office will admit, is a rare but never-the-less blessed occurrence.
Jerry continued: I told George to come by here on Friday and to bring all of his materials. This is genuine bodybuilding history!"
I knew the significance of what Jerry had just revealed. To find the great Steve Reeves' original workout routine -- written in his own hand writing -- had to be the equivalent of bodybuilding's Holy Grail! Friday morning couldn't arrive fast enough as I waited impatiently for Helmer's arrival.
At 10:AM, he appeared at the office, armed with an attaché case that contained the entire photographic story of his saga. "Look at this," said George, pulling out a photo of the historic boards that contained Reeves' workout record. This was it! And what was even more impressive was the fact that the workout routine truly was written by Reeves' own hand, describing exactly what exercises, weight and repetitions he used to build the foundation for what would become perhaps the most celebrated physique in bodybuilding history.
I asked Helmer how he had heard of the garage and the workout record it contained. "I'm a huge Steve Reeves fan," he said, "so when I recently had the opportunity to visit Oakland (Reeves home town), I went into the Oakland library and pulled the phone directories from 1944 to look up the address of where his stepfather lived." (Reeves' natural father had been killed in a ranching accident while Steve was still a boy. His mother had remarried.)
The house was located on a street in Oakland. I immediately took my camera and set out to see if the house was still standing. Fortunately, it was." Helmer took a snapshot and then set up a meeting with Reeves to show him how his old house had withstood the ravages of time. During that luncheon, Steve told George about the garage. "I used to train in that garage, and even wrote my workout routine in black crayon on the wall," Reeves recalled. "I wounder if it's still there?"
Helmer wondered as well. He decided then and there to find out. "I returned to Oakland and approached a local real estate office and learned that the house was now owned by a nice couple by the name of Ray and Gloria Hartman, "said Helmer. George quickly wrote a letter to the Hartmans, indicating his desire to take some photo's of the inside of their house and the accompanying garage. To his surprise, George was contacted the next day and invited over. "They let me inside and I took some photos, and then I asked if I could look in the garage."
When George made it out to what used to be Steve Reeves' first gym, he noticed that there was now drywall covering up the wooden planks upon which, hopefully, was still written the legendary "first" routine. Helmer asked the owners if he could cut out a portion of the drywall (he offered to replace it, of course) and, again to his surprise, they readily acquiesced. Helmer immediately called Reeves and requested more specifics.
"It was three feet down on the right-hand side after you walk in, between the studs in the wall," informed Reeves. Armed with this new disclosure, Helmer began his excavation. "I went in and cut out two pieces of drywall, but there was nothing there but old wooden planks -- no writing at all. In frustration, I went out to the back garage area, which had been added on some time after the Reeves family had moved out. Mrs. Hartman followed me and commented that her insurance company wanted the back garage torn down because it wasn't built to code."
Helmer was disappointed that he'd been unsuccessful in locating the original Reeves training routine. "I walked over to her and said, "I guess it was either taken down or painted over." I honestly believed that it was long gone. But she didn't let me off the hook. "Why not look on the left-hand side of the garage -- maybe it's there!" she said."
Helmer returned to the old garage, focusing his attention to the wall on the left side, though he felt convinced the artefact wouldn't be there. He cut out another piece of drywall. "I was very careful in cutting it out because I knew I would have to put it back once I came up empty again," he said.
However, this time things were a little bit different. "There was a piece of tar paper up between the drywall and the original wooden wall, so I cut it out with a knife. When I pulled it down, I saw some writing! When I pulled it down a little further, I could see that it was an exercise routine -- Steve Reeves' exercise routine -- and it was perfectly intact. I couldn't believe it!"
Evidently, the location of the routine was exactly where he has cut the first time -- only on the opposite side of the garage. Helmer was over the moon. I told Gloria this was really a major find and that I wanted to preserve it for Steve." It was at this point that George came up with a great idea.
"I said, I know you have to re-side the back of this garage. I'll do it for you and even haul all the debris out -- in exchange for that piece of wood with the exercise routine on it." To Helmer's absolute ecstasy, the Hartmans agreed. George spent the next three Saturdays repairing the garage and hauling off the refuse. "Still, he says in retrospect, "I would have done all that work a hundred times over. This is bodybuilding history!
Steve had only a few training partners such as George Eiferman who he worked out with while they lived in Santa Monica area. Steve would keep very detailed records of his workouts and would read a great deal of nutritional and training materials.
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