Decades ago, I used to rush to the magazine store when the latest issue of MuscleMag came out in order to read Vince Gironda’s column that was always positioned among the final few pages. In my opinion, that was the best bodybuilding column ever written, because it contained more valuable information on one page than most of the other columns in all the magazines combined. The reason for the column’s success was simple – Vince Gironda (photo right), who was dubbed “The Iron Guru,” was one of the most knowledgeable trainers who ever lived. In fact, MuscleMag’s founder, Robert Kennedy, told me that when he started the magazine, he specifically asked Gironda to write for him because he wanted someone with his knowledge to be featured consistently in his magazine. Gironda and Kennedy even collaborated on a book called Unleashing the Wild Physique. I was fortunate enough to have trained under Vince in the ‘80s at his “Vince’s Gym” and have read almost everything he wrote.
Unfortunately, Gironda apparently lost interest in writing in the late ‘80s and ultimately died in 1997 (just shy of his 80th birthday). Little that has appeared in MuscleMag or any of the other commercial print publications since has resonated with me the way that column did. That’s why when I met Denis Pedneault several years ago and learned firsthand about the breadth and depth of training knowledge that he had, I encouraged him to create a column just like Gironda’s so we could publish it here on SeriousAboutMuscle.com. I even nicknamed Denis “The New Iron Guru” because of the similarities I saw between him and Gironda at that time.
Denis loved the idea for the column, not to mention the new nickname, and on March 15, 2007, Denis Pedneault’s “Body Sculpting” feature debuted here on SeriousAboutMuscle.com. This month, four years after “Body Sculpting” began, we will be publishing the 22nd instalment in the series, and there’s no sign that it will stop anytime soon.
But what’s also interesting is how this column has evolved. At first, Denis wanted to mirror the quality of Gironda’s content – in other words, give the reader valuable training advice that is worth reading because it actually works and will produce results. But as Denis progressed with his column, he started looking more closely at Gironda’s legendary work in terms of some of the exercises that he devised decades ago and he started incorporating them into his own workout routines, often refining the various exercises in some way and sometimes even improving upon them. In turn, Denis started incorporating explanations of Gironda’s unique exercises into the “Body Sculpting” column. A perfect example is the article that appeared last December: “The Perfect Curl.” This month, Denis is writing about Gironda’s complex leg exercise that he called “the three-way compound sissy squat,” which I’ll guarantee is a must-read because it is one of the most effective thigh exercises ever devised! When I asked Denis to start the column, I never thought it would evolve into this. Obviously, I’m thrilled.
Given my respect for Gironda’s past column in MuscleMag and the accolades I’ve given to Denis for his current column here on SeriousAboutMuscle.com, some may wonder if I now feel that “Body Sculpting” is the best bodybuilding column ever written. The answer to that is twofold. In terms of the bodybuilding-training columns that appear in the various publications today, print or online, I’d say that it is the best one out there right now. But in comparison to Gironda’s column, “Body Sculpting” isn’t quite there yet, if only because Gironda’s work spanned decades and Denis has only been at this a few years. In other words, Gironda’s writing covered more. However, I have no doubt that if Denis keeps “Body Sculpting” up for several more years, he will match Gironda’s output, and when that happens, I have no doubt that “Body Sculpting” will become the best bodybuilding column ever written.
Gironda was known not only for his knowledge, but also for his quick temper accompanied by explosive fits of anger. He was known for shouting profanities at people and, more than likely, giving a number of people the finger. Would he be annoyed if he heard me say that someone’s column was better than his? Would he throw me out of his gym as he's rumored to have so often done to people who crossed him? Probably not. I’m very sure that if Vince Gironda knew the standard he set and how much he inspired someone like Denis Pedneault, not to mention myself, he would be proud. It’s simply a case of greatness inspiring greatness.
. . . Doug Schneider, Publisher
Doug Schneider is the publisher and chief photographer for SeriousAboutMuscle.com.