Bodybuilding Legends – Reg Park

The third character to feature in Keep Fit Kingdom’s Bodybuilding Legends series is British bodybuilder Reg Park. Three times Mr Universe winner and the first bodybuilder on the planet to bench press 500lbs, this unique man was hugely talented and highly influential.

Reg Park’s massive muscular frame was 100% as strong as it looked. He excelled at bench pressing and could lift  320lbs for sets of 10 reps, building a chest size of over 50 inches. He could barbell curl close to 200lbs and do tricep extensions near to 300lbs which helped pack muscle onto his massive upper arms.

Park’s lower body strength was no less impressive; he had mighty squatting strength and his best squat performances were multiple reps with over 500lbs and 605lbs for 2 reps.  He would use exceptionally heavy weight for calf raises too, doing reps with 1000lbs.

His foundation was built by training hard on basics, in his early training days, workouts could include up to 90 sets! Throughout his competitive career, the Yorkshireman experimented with many training programmes: upper body/lower body splits, twice-a-day training and  20-rep squats are some examples. His own 5 x 5 system is famous and still popular amongst natural lifters today.

A massive appetite is inevitable when you train hard and heavy. Park ate a nutritious and varied diet and stated “I liked to eat like a king”.  He also enjoyed drinking cups of tea with his meals and had a soft spot for his mother’s baking. He viewed supplements as beneficial and even drank Guinness occasionally to gain weight!

Park competed throughout four decades starting in the late 1940’s until the early 1970’s. He won his first Mr Universe in 1951 and earned two more Mr Universe titles in 1958 and 1965 respectively. He had the privilege to compete on stage with other bodybuilding legends such as Steve Reeves, Bill Pearl and Sergio Oliva.

In addition to being a successful bodybuilder, Reg was a successful writer, his own monthly publication the “Reg Park Journal” had 60,000 readers. Like our previous bodybuilding legend Steve Reeves, Park also had success as an actor and played the role of Hercules in several films.

The legendary bodybuilder stayed committed to bodybuilding until his last days and even in his 70’s he continued to coach people. He was opposed to steroid use and strongly believed in building the body naturally.

His incredible strength levels and superb muscularity inspire many modern day lifters and he is a magnificent role model for those who want to build a powerful physique. Check out more on this legend, one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s heroes on Reg’s website, Facebook and fan page (which even Lou ‘The Hulk’ Ferrigno commented on recently)! 

Alan Riseborough

Alan is a strength and physique enthusiast and has 28 years' of training experience behind him. He has competed in powerlifting, arm wrestling, bodybuilding and grip strength competitions. He also includes rigorous bodyweight, sprinting and kettlebell training regularly in his routines. He believes in the transformative power of the squat which is (believe it or not) his favourite exercise!

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