Strength & Health, Page 23, August 1940

The 'Mr. America' Contest

By Siegmund Klein

Now that the "Mr. America" Contest is over, I think we should look over the salient points of the contestants and see if we as body-builders have learned anything to benefit us.

It seemed to me that many of the contestants could have trained much harder for this contest than they did. Many of them thought that if they put enough "make-up" ( oil, sun-tan powder) on, they would cover up their defects and bring out their better developed parts.

This may have worked but for the fact that all the contestants except Grimek and Stepanek used "make-up."

So they were all in the same spot, as though no "make-up" was used.

With very few exceptions, it was very apparent to me that those athletes that have good arms, abdominals, shoulders, worked very hard on those parts of their bodies to bring them out even more. This is, as I have often written, a failing of so many of us.

With very few exceptions, most of the contestants did not know how to pose. They got up on the platform and stood there "thinking up" a pose, when all of this should have been done weeks ago. They should have practiced their routines over and over again, so that they would feel at ease, and select poses that showed them up to their best advantages.

Many of them would get up there and start a pose and, like a flash, would change it, not knowing just what they were doing. This did not add to their credit one bit.

Some of the poseurs, to be sure, did a fine job. Monroe Brown, who knows how to pose besides having a fine body, looked very good. He selected some poses that we have seen of him in magazines from me to time. "Chick" Deutsch, who won the "Best Abdominal" Contest, knew how to take poses that showed his abominals up to the best advantage. Elmer Farnum, too, knew what he was doing. Gene Jantzen had some fine heroic poses. Frank Stepanek (Leight) did not look as muscular as he could have, and I assure you that he will never "take it easy" again. He is training harder than he ever has.

As for John Grimek, well, there is not much I can say to add to what I have written about him last month. He knew what he was doing and showed us what practice means. He did not flounder around up there.

I know that Grimek can take most I any pose. That is to his advantage. When an athlete is well proportioned and muscular he can strike most any pose and look good. That is the reason that Grimek always awes us in any pose that we see of him in the flesh or in pictures.

Taking the group as a whole, I would say that leg development was lacking in most them. Many could have had much better abdominals.

"Chick" Deutsch should certainly be very inspirational to many to develop abdominal and pectoral muscles. Frank Stepanek should be inspiration for chest Jospeh Thaler for shoulder (deltoid) and back.

Body builders should now check over their program of exercises and see what should be added or changed. Are you doing enough abdominal exercises? How about the leg exercises? Not one or two heavy "squats" but real muscle-building movements. I assure you that the athletes that looked the best up there spent a lot of time (repetitions) on building up heir musculature.

This contest should be a lesson to many body-builders. Train for all around development. Specialize only on those parts of the body that need the development to come up to the standard of the rest of your body.

It will help greatly if you have a mirror In your training quarters. Between exercises you can spend a bit of time studying your physique, take note of your strong points and see just where your development is lacking, and where the entire physique can be improved. Too many body builders make the mistake of selecting most of their exercises for the parts of the body which are already best developed instead of spending a major portion of their training time improving their weakest points.

Under no condition get discouraged. Remember that no matter how slow your progress may be, you would not have what you now possess if you did not train. We can't all be Grimeks, Leights, ad Deutsches, but we can all improve ourselves.

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