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Vince Gironda: Legend & Myth
Presented by Alan Palmieri - Review

Review by Rahul Alvares

This three hundred and thirty four page long book is undoubtedly the most comprehensive piece of work I have ever read on Vince Gironda. I offer thee Alan Palmieri my heartiest congratulations on the excellent work!

Vince was truly a legend, myth and an excellent bodybuilder all rolled into one. His writing and training methods are still the best around. The trainer of the stars he was – Arnold Schwarzenegger, Clint Eastwood, Larry Scott and Cher to name a few – I will not waste time in introducing to you a man you already know. Instead we will dive straight into a very challenging review.

Vince Gironda is almost a biography. The author Palmieri was lucky to have corresponded with Vince personally. This book brings out the sincere gratitude and respect that Palmieri held for his mentor Vince. The book is the disciple’s attempt to make known to the world the reality behind the master.

It does not say what is right and wrong. In fact right at the start Palmieri mentions that he himself did not follow everything Vince taught him. Let’s take the example of desiccated liver which was probably was one of Vince’s most cherished diet ingredients. He advocated taking two every waking hour. Palmieri however is led to believe that consumption of liver tablets in such copious quantities could lead to iron poisoning.

I myself have read a few of Vince’s articles and I must sympathize with Alan. Some of Vince’s theories might indeed have been questionable. Here’s one sentence I picked from one of Vince’s Courses in the book - The best time to workout is when the blood sugar is highest, which is in the morning- From what I know blood sugar is actually lowest in the morning!

To me Vince sometimes appears a hot tempered spoiled brat; he was always throwing out students from his gym who didn’t follow everything he told them to. Unfortunately he was a genius; the ‘Einstein’ of bodybuilding. And that everyone knew including Larry Scott and Schwartzenegger and that is why we’ve all had to put up with him!

It seems however from Palmieri’s experience Vince could be a nice guy also sometimes. Palmieri did definitely learn a lot from Vince which makes the compilation Vince Gironda truly a masterpiece.

Let me list some interesting notes I made for the review:

1. Excellent exercises; there are a lot of exercises in this book you’ve probably never have heard of such as the Lateral Dumbbell Swing, Reverse Curl Body Drag Style, Barbell 1/4th Roll Up and Alternate Calf Heel. Vince always stressed on symmetry rather than muscle size and these were the exercises he modified for the purpose.

I particularly liked the notes on the Barbell Sissy Squat.

2. Good notes on common bodybuilding errors

3. Cycling; Vince was a firm supporter of changing routines both in training (muscle confusion) and diet. The notes on cycling diet such as the ‘three days on protein’ and ‘two days off’, and constantly changing training with the 15 sets of 4, 8 sets of 8, etc, were very interesting to read.

4. Vince’s Master and Pro-Courses; complete with training and diet - very good

5. Question and answer series; Also very good,

6. Additional well written articles by guest writer Ron Kosloff provide valuable insight into the legend Gironda.

7. Interview transcripts of Dave Draper, Don Howorth, Dick Tyler, Larry Scott, Bill Pearl, plus articles by Paul Becker, show the impact he made on the world of bodybuilding and the respect he earned from the greatest of bodybuilders; respect that he will carry forever.

6. Miscellaneous; excellent notes on using Vitamin C, diuretics, breathing, bodybuilding for men over forty, Vince’s views on drugs, including interesting tips such as ‘why single arm training is useless’ , ‘why it is necessary to come up on the big toe while doing calf exercises’, etc.

8. The photograph section including photographs of Larry Scott, Vince Gironda, Don Howorth, Dave Draper, etc. were truly amazing.

Vince was certainly a man way ahead of his time. It is interesting to see that much of what is all the ‘rage’ today (such as the low carb diet for fat loss), was already known to and taught by Vince way back in the fifties!


1 The descriptions for many of the exercises, such as the Reeves Alternate Rowing, Scott Press and Barbell Rollover and Press have not been clearly given. You must understand Palmieri that these are unusual and new exercises for most bodybuilders. It would help if these descriptions would be accompanied with good photographs or sketches as well.

2. There is also a fair bit of repetition in the book. Vince’s Master Series is actually a repetition of Palmieri’s notes which come first in the book. Good editing could make the book real slick.

3. Some of the supplements Vince includes in the program have tricky names. More explanation or notes would be necessary for names such as gland tablets, panotothenic acid, R.N.A tablets, alerphan tablets, tri -germ oil capsules, arginine ornithine tables, L- tryptophan, vio-gamic B-15 Pangamate Acid-calcium, orchic tissue tablets…you get the point Palmieri!

But for these few small drawbacks I would have rated Vince Gironda a five star book. It is definitely a ‘must have’ for every bodybuilder. Great book and Great work Alan Palmieri!


Rating Scale Very poor/avoidable
  O.K. read
  Excellent /must have


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