World’s FIRST Bodybuilder to Bench Press 500 lbs!
In the late 1960’s I saw a magazine advertising The Reg Park Barbell Company in Leeds, England. I fired a letter off to the address requesting information. Up to that time I had read a lot about Reg Park in the various magazines of the 50’s and 60’s.
A few weeks later I received a catalog for books, courses and equipment. I was fascinated with how much material was still available by Park at the time. I ordered all of it and asked if I could get a letter to Reg, himself.
A large package arrived including all the publications that Park had written. Along with the invoice was a note from the manager saying that Reg would be contacting me from his office in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Sure enough, about a week later I got an autographed photo and a letter from Reg thanking me for the order and asking me what I thought of his training material and if there was anything further that he could do to help me.
I was impressed with what appeared to be his genuine interest.
I read all of the material and thought his training information should be available here in America. So I asked Reg if I could be his North American agent. He said that he liked the idea so I ran some ads in Peary Rader’s, Iron Man Magazine.
Now if any of you just happen to have back issues of Iron Man from 1971 or 1972, you’ll see my small display ad!
Why Weight Training?
As most young boys, Reg became interested in sports at an early age. He was very good at track, football and soccer. After an injury occurred, Reg was rehabilitated through the use of weights. He became fascinated with weight training and started to train regularly. He once told me that he and a few friends would train outdoors in an unheated building using candles to see! Reg would wear as many as four sweat suits to fight off the bitter cold winters in England. Obviously, his hard work and dedication paid off.
“World’s Best Developed Man”
Any time the conversation turns to muscular bulk and power, the world famous name of Reg Park comes to mind. Reg brought physical development to a new high by winning the NABBA Mr. Universe not once, not twice, but THREE times!
Reg was very helpful when it came to training. When Bruce Randall approached Reg for advice to help him prepare for the 1958 Mr. Universe contest, he didn’t hesitate, even though they were both competing! Reg won the overall contest, of course, but the advice that Reg gave Bruce was so good that Randall came in second! The following year Bruce Randall won the 1959 Mr. Universe contest.
Park competed in physique contests from 1946 to 1973, a span of 27 years! He won Mr. Britain 1949, Best Developed Athlete in America 1950, Mr. Europe 1950, Mr. Universe 1951, 1958 and 1965!
In addition, Reg Park was the idol and mentor of 7 time Mr. Olympia, Arnold Schwarzenegger! Arnold spent a lot of time with Reg over the years and considered him to be one of the best bodybuilders of all time.
Movie Star of the Italian Sword and Sandal
Muscle Man Epics
Reg Park was the only British bodybuilder to star in the Italian sword and sandal muscleman movies of the 1950’s and 60’s. He starred in:Hercules in the Haunted World (1961), Hercules and the Captive Women (1963), Maciste in King Solomon’s Mines (1964), Hercules, Prisoner of Evil (1964), and Hercules the Avenger (1965). Even though his movies were produced over 45 years ago, they are still every bit as popular today.
Massively Built and Incredibly Strong
Reg Park was the second man and the first bodybuilder in the world to bench press 500 lbs.! At the 1957 Pro Mr. USA, Reg Park bench pressed over 500 lbs. in street clothes!
His best lifts:
- Bench Press with 500 lbs.
- Dumbbell Bench Press with two 185 lb. dumbbells for five reps.
- Behind the Neck Press with 300 Lbs.
- Standing Dumbbell Press with two 140 Lb. dumbbells.
- One Arm Dumbbell Press with 165 lbs. for two reps.
- Incline Dumbbell Press with two 185 lb. dumbbells for five reps.
- Lying Triceps Extension with 300 lbs. for three reps.
- Strict Barbell Curl with 200 lbs.
- Squat with 605 lbs. for two reps.
- Front Squat with 405 lbs.
Read what others have to say about:
Reg Park “Mr. Universe”!
Two magnificent photos of Reg Park hang on the wall in my study, one with a handwritten inscription that I treasure. Reg was way ahead of his time; he remains an inspiration to physical culturists everywhere.
Author of the Ripped book series and past-40 USA bodybuilding champion
I [will] tell you who was one of the strongest men I worked out with: Reg Park. Oh, he was great. He was one of the few guys who could keep up with me. Reg came on a visit to New York City and he came up to the gym. He was a beautifully built man and he weighed about 235 pounds. And he was using the weights that I was using and I would even say he was a stronger squatter than I was.
He was keeping up with virtually everything I did except maybe in certain categories. But generally he was tremendous. Reg is a very fine gentleman also. It was one of the high points of my training (training with Reg). We worked out for a couple of weeks together. He was just great to work out with.
Reg Park was a gentleman (when I met him). He was soft-spoken and he wasn’t in any way stuck-up. He just was a regular fellow – a regular, okay guy. That’s all I can say.
Bodybuilding and Weightlifting Legend
Reg stood out for his incredible thickness and impossible chest. The picture I had of Reg was a side chest pose holding an oar next to a swimming pool. He glowed with the essence of size, strength and filled my thumping little heart with faith. I never hoped to achieve even close to what Reg accomplished… but if I could just add some size… Reg’s massive size assured me I could.
Thank you Reg for all the inspiration I gained from you. I’m flattered that any thing I might say could be considered in paying tribute to you.
Two-time Mr. Olympia
Reg Park is a Physique legend. His massive, muscular Herculean physique with good looks was the first of his era. Also a first is when he starred in many Hercules movies. Also a first was the superhuman strength and unique workouts that he established.
Mr. America, Mr. Universe, Mr. World
Champion bodybuilder, strongman, movie star, gym owner, writer, publisher of The Reg Park Journal.
Reg Park has done everything in the strength world!
Yours for greater strength,
Super Strength Training
Fortunately, the training methods used by Reg Park to attain his tremendous size and herculean strength are still available!
Click on either publication by Reg Park for more information:
The Reg Park “Mr. Universe”
Barbell and Dumbbell Course
Strength and Bulk Training
for Weight Lifters and Body Builders