Joe Weider Father Of Bodybuilding

Joe Weider Father of Bodybuilding? To many people, that statement is true. Others may disagree. They might name Peary Rader, Bob Hoffman, or Robert Kennedy. Ultimately, all of these people, and more, had a hand in the development of bodybuilding.

Let’s Talk About Joe!

Joe Weider Father of Bodybuilding. Where did Joe begin? Born in 1922, Joe Weider grew up in the Great Depression. Joe and his brother Ben couldn’t make it home from school in their rough sector of Montreal. At least not without being beaten up or picked on by neighborhood thugs. The brothers began building physically powerful bodies with a set of barbells. They made the barbells with parts found in a junkyard. Joe became the strongest kid in the neighborhood by age 18. This achievement led him to win Quebec’s weightlifting competition, the most important of that era.

Joe and Ben Weider have been the driving forces behind bodybuilding. Some refer to it as a health and fitness industry. It’s grown into dozens of corporations worldwide worth billions of dollars. Things haven’t always been this good for bodybuilders.

Joe Weider Father of Bodybuilding – The Early Years

“In the late 1930’s and ’40’s bodybuilding was very primitive,” according to Joe. He immigrated to the States from Montreal, Canada, in 1947. He made this statement in Flex Magazine in July, 2002.

The Amateur Athletic Union added a bodybuilding competition to the existing weightlifting contest in 1939. This was due to the increase in popularity of the sport. In1940 this competition was named AAU Mr. America. Around the mid-1940’s the majority of bodybuilders became angry with the AAU. This was because they only permitted amateur competitors. It was also because they placed more focus on the Olympic sport of weightlifting.


How the International Federation of Bodybuilders (IFBB) came into being is one of the sport’s most engaging true legends. The Weider brothers had organized a bodybuilding competition. A few scant moments before its opening ceremony, the AAU threatened to yank their sanction. They had a packed audience and a lineup of athletes ready to go onstage. Joe and Ben made a bold resolution to never again be held hostage by the AAU or anyone else for that matter.

Joe Weider father of bodybuilding. That’s a name he earned over his years of dedication to the sport. He’s also known as the Master Blaster. By 1940 Joe was publishing a muscle magazine titled Your Physique. In 1945 he began another publication called Muscle Power. In the 1960’s, Joe owned the Weider Barbell Company, with offices in Jersey City, New Jersey, and then in California.

Joe Weider And Arnold Schwarzenegger

By 1968, Joe Weider was putting out a slew of bodybuilding publications. Many saw him as bodybuilding’s most powerful voice. In 1968 he recognized the potential of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who by then owned every bodybuilding title in Europe. Weider flew Schwarzenegger to Florida for the Mr. Universe contest. He watched him lose and pronounced him the sport’s future. Let’s note here that Arnold only lost twice. He was not defined in 1968. He had a monster-sized physique that lacked quality and detail. Frank Zane had that. Arnold’s loss turned into a dedication to sculpt his physique. Joe helped him with this.

Creating Champions in China

Judging bodybuilding radical and nonconforming, the Chinese Government banned the sport in 1953. Instantly identifying the void created by this verdict, Ben Weider journeyed to China in 1954 as a guest of the All-China Sports Committee. He went on to endorse the benefits of bodybuilding. He also went to lecture on the principles of a safe and effective weight-training program. Ben devoted his professional life to trying to get bodybuilding accepted as an Olympic sport. The Weider system provided the structure and organization Chinese bodybuilders needed to design their bodybuilding programs.

Joe Weider Father Of Bodybuilding – The Weider Principles

Over the years, Joe Weider came up with the Weider principles of bodybuilding. He did not invent these principles. Rather, he cataloged what he saw bodybuilders doing. This created an organized system of bodybuilding training.

These principles are:

  • Pre-exhaustion training – pre-fatiguing a larger muscle with an isolation, single-joint movement so it can be even more exhausted by the compound movements to follow. This caused a lot of tension with Bob Kennedy. This is because he claimed to invent this principle. Therefore, it shouldn’t be a Weider Principle, according to Kennedy.
  • Muscle priority training – working out your most undersized muscles first, to subject them to the greatest possible effort.
  • Pyramiding – when using several sets for a particular workout, doing your first set with less weights for more reps, steadily adding to the weight, and reducing the reps over the remainder of your sets.
  • Supersets – working opposite muscle groups in back-to-back fashion, taking as little rest as possible in between sets.
  • Tri-sets – doing three sets consecutively for the same body part with as little rest as possible in between sets.
  • Set system training – simply doing more than one set for each exercise.
  • Giant sets – doing 4-6 exercises for the same body part with little rest between sets.
  • Instinctive training – this entails experimenting with your workouts and being attentive to how your body acts in response to certain types of exercise.
  • Compound sets – alternating two exercises for the same muscle group, taking as little rest as possible between each set.
  • Staggered sets – training smaller, slower-developing body parts like calves or forearms in between all sets for your major body parts.

While Weider didn’t discover the principles, he did name them. Pumping is the “Weider Flushing Principle.” Training with loose form is the “Weider Cheating Principle.” Adding more weight to the bar is the “Weider Overload Principle.” Terms like supersets, giant sets, and descending sets are all part of the terminology of today’s lifter, courtesy of Joe Weider.

Again, it should be noted for historical accuracy that this caused problems with the other “names” of the era. Specifically, Bob Kennedy and Vince Gironda, to name a few. Everything was “Weider” and this brushed up against a lot of egos.

Joe Weider Father Of Bodybuilding – For The Love Of The Sport

Weider’s training principles have influenced athletes, coaches, and sports scientists to alter their training. But ask him which achievement he is most proud of and like a true father he’ll tell you he loves them all.

“I’m proud of everything that I did over the years,” Weider says. “Everything that I did was for the love of it.”

Joe’s dream, even during the rough years in Montreal, was to bring accurate, complete training advice and routines to the masses. This was a dream that has placed him in his position as publisher and editor of Muscle and Fitness, Flex, Prime, and Men’s Fitness Magazines.

Joe Weider father of bodybuilding. Regardless of what people say about him, he possesses a tremendous love for the sport. He built the empire of bodybuilding, and he deserves respect.


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