Boyer Coe is a true gentleman and one of the most charismatic figures in the sport of bodybuilding. He is even listed on the greatest fizeeks of all time. Boyer Coe began his bodybuilding journey as many young men do: a kid lifting dumbbells in his parent’s garage.
He eventually outgrew the old dumbbells and joined a nearby gym.
Boyer knew he wanted to be a bodybuilder the moment he saw a muscle magazine in a local corner store. He was taken aback by the He-man on the cover. Young Boyer made up his mind right then and there that he wanted to be a strong man like Hercules when he grew up.
He took the magazine from the shop without paying for it or asking permission because he was a youngster with no money. He kept the muscle mag in his room and referred to it on a daily basis. He studied the physiques of bodybuilders and imprinted the image of himself as a muscle man in his impressionable mind.
Another watershed moment in Boyer Coe’s life occurred when he saw the film Hercules, starring Steve Reeves. He watched as Hercules broke his oppressors’ chains and crushed his enemies with his might.
Boyer was so pumped after seeing the movie that he ran 5 miles home and did push-ups all night and into the next day. He did so many pushups that it felt like someone “hit his chest with an axe” 24 hours later.
(As you may or may not be aware, pain is a necessary part of the muscle-building process. When you first begin training, the pain is especially intense. So I understand what Boyer is saying, and if you’ve ever felt that deep splitting muscle soreness, you do as well.)
Boyer Coe Workout
Boyer Coe’s preferred training method was Work Capacity Training. The point is that you overload your muscle with a large amount of volume in a short period of time.
Every workout followed the same pattern. He didn’t care if he was working on his shoulders, biceps, chest, back, or legs. His strategy was the same. Begin each workout with 2-3 warm-up sets to prime your muscles for the heavy lift.
The goal here is to prepare your body and mind for the impending onslaught.
The first working set consists of 12 STRICT reps with the maximum amount of weight possible.
After 60 seconds of rest, drop the weight by 5-10% and perform 10 STRICT reps.
Rest for another 60 seconds before lowering the weight by 5-10% and performing 10 reps. These are now known as drop sets.
Stick to the basics when it comes to exercises – all bodybuilders trained using the fundamentals. They got creative, but they mostly stuck to basic barbell exercises. Once they’ve mastered the fundamentals, they can fine-tune the exercises to their specific body mechanics.
Let’s get into the specifics of Boyer Coe’s training methods now.
This section is a mishmash of Boyer’s workouts organized by muscle group.
Boyer Coe’s chest workout usually started with Incline Bench Press. Begin with a light weight and progress until you reach failure with 12 perfect reps. Then, reduce the weight slightly and repeat. Then increase the weight to MORE than you started with and perform 8-6 reps with very slow deliberate natives, taking 6 seconds to complete each rep.
Then, using a heavier weight than you started with, perform negative reps. Negative allow you to overload the muscle, which strengthens it.
After a few warm-up sets, perform your first working set with 8 reps using a weight that allows you to fail on Rep 8. Then, reduce the weight slightly and perform 6-7 reps to failure. 8-10 heavy negative reps immediately followed.
The Vertical Chest Press was quickly followed by three supersets of Dumbbell Pullovers (10 reps each) and Serratus Pulls (15 reps each) performed on a Pull Down Pulley Machine.
He’d then switch to the ‘pec contractor,’ also known as the Pec Deck Fly Machine, and finish off the chest with the same triple set approach.
Boyer Coe, as previously stated, looked up to Steve Reeves. Steve Reeves did seated incline bench curls to grow his Herculean arms, he read. So that’s exactly what Boyer Coe did: incline bench curls all day. 8 sets (or more) per workout is about right. Tons of high volume.
I remember reading a copy of Joe Weider’s MUSCLE BUILDER magazine and seeing an article by Steve Reeves on biceps training. He wrote about doing dumbbell curls while sitting on an incline bench. That advice was good enough for me, so the first exercise I ever did for biceps was that incline dumbbell curl. As a matter of fact, it was the only biceps exercise I did for almost five years. All I did was eight to 10 sets of the good old incline curl, then I’d move on to triceps.” — Boyer Coe
Boyer Coe did tricep extensions with the EZ bar. He would then finish it off with cable pulls.
Keep in mind this is all with TONS of volume as well.
Heavy Leg Presses with Thigh Extensions was the first superset.
“We did all movements in a very slow, smooth style, never jerking,” Boyer says. We tried to hold each contraction for a second or two at the top, especially in the thigh extension.”
The thighs were really burning after super-setting these two movements. He performed four sets of each exercise, with reps ranging from 10 to 15.
Legs were next with a Sissy Squat superset followed by Leg Curls. Boyer works hard on his Sissy Squats. They are an EXTREMELY EFFECTIVE quadriceps exercise.
Sissy Squats, when done correctly, require little or no weight to produce massive results. Boyer has gotten so good at this movement that he can touch the back of his head to the floor, giving his quads a good stretch (and workout in general). This is without a doubt Boyer’s favorite leg exercise. He’d do this movement all day if he had the time – he’s obsessed with it.
This was done after the mentioned, along with leg curls.
Along with the Sissy Squats, this exercise was performed for the traditional 10 to 15 reps for four sets. Sissy Squats are sometimes performed with a weight across his chest, or you can wear a weight vest to keep your hands free.
To begin his workout, Boyer Coe worked on abs and core strength. He viewed abdominal exercises as a warm-up – it focused his mind; his abs were one of his weaknesses, so he made an extra effort to focus on them. This increased his body temperature and warmed his lower back. Boyer Coe believes that warming up is essential. A proper warm-up is one of the main reasons Coe was able to avoid injury throughout his career.
Seated Twists, hanging leg raises, hanging knee ins, and sit ups are some ab and core exercises he used.
Simply choose one or two exercises and perform a few hundred repetitions.
Boyer Coe Diet
Boyer ate raw eggs, as well as beef, chicken, fish, turkey, and pork. Steaks, chops, and plenty of green vegetables
He drank a muscle builder shake made with his own special recipe of raw eggs, milk powder, and oats for extra calories and nutrition.
In general, he kept carbs to a minimum.
Other golden era bodybuilders like Clancy Ross would follow a similar diet.
Boyer Coe’s Mindset
Boyer Coe was born to compete. He was always trying to outrun the other kids in the neighborhood.
When he was 15, he competed in his first bodybuilding competition, Mr. Louisiana. He found out about the contest only seven days before the event, giving him only a week to prepare. He admitted that he had no idea how to pose and had to wing it. His strategy was to simply observe the other competitors posing and doing what they were doing.
A hilarious story about Boyer Coe’s first competition: He was backstage pumping up when he noticed that everyone else had left. They were summoned to prepare to take the stage. Boyer was missing the show because everyone had cleared out.
He panicked and ran out a side door. Before he realized he was in the alley, the door locked behind him. It was January, and he was standing outside in the cold, dressed only in posing trucks and oil. He dashed around the building and through the front door.
He went inside as soon as they called his name for him to come up to the stage. Then he dashed through the crowd, jumped on stage, and began posing. The audience loved it, and he won the competition. They mistook his grand entrance for part of the joke!
On the way home, his father remarked that it was pretty cool how he came up through the crowd like that. Boyer couldn’t bring himself to tell him it was an accident!
The moral of the story is to always roll with the punches and look for a way to make things right. Those mishaps could work in your favor.
Boyer Coe’s Background:
Boyer was born in Louisiana to a working-class family. His father worked as a sheet metal worker before opening a successful grocery store. His father and mother instilled in him the values of hard work and discipline.
Boyer’s parents encouraged him to participate in bodybuilding and were pleased that he seemed to enjoy it.
Boyer Coe was determined to be as strong as possible from a young age. He wanted to bench press 400 pounds before graduating from high school.
He became obsessed with having a large bench press. He would write “400” on everything and constantly trace and retrace it. He scribbled 400 on everything, including paper, notepads, and textbooks.
His obsession was rewarded. He met his goal and bench pressed 400 pounds before receiving his diploma, demonstrating his dedication, focus, and drive even as a teenager.
Ray Roy’s health club opened in town when Boyer was a young teen. Young Coe spent every spare moment at the gym. He didn’t say anything to anyone all day. He just stood there and did what the big boys did.
There was no internet access. There are no blogs. There is no YouTube.
You had to observe what the strong men did and then try it yourself.
Boyer Coe learned to lift in this way. Men and women used to train at different times back then. Women trained from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m., and men from noon to 7 p.m.
Boyer Coe arrived at the gym at 11:59 a.m. and stayed until they closed at night. He was a sponge, watching, learning, and experimenting on his own.
All in all, Boyer Coe was an absolute monster when it came to classic bodybuilding. If you want to look like him, check out my workout routine, workout of the Gods.
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