Reg Park is one of the greatest bodybuilders in the history of the sport. He created the “Golden Six” routine that has become a staple for beginners in the gym.
Through his charisma and charm, Reg inspired the golden age athletes – he became Arnold Schwarzenegger’s idol and mentor.
He was also one of the first bodybuilders to become a movie star. This is his story:
|Full Name: Reg Park|
|Weight||Height||Arms||Date of Birth|
|225 – 235lbs (102.1 – 106.6kg)||6’1″ (185.5cm)||19″||June 7, 1928|
|Date of Death||Age at Death||Nationality|
|November 22, 2007||79||Leeds, England|
|Professional Bodybuilder, Actor, Entrepreneur||Reg the Leg||1940, 1950, 1960, 1970|
|Weight||225 – 235lbs (102.1 – 106.6kg)|
|Date of Birth||June 7, 1928|
|Date of Death||November 22, 2007|
|Age at Death||79|
|Profession||Professional Bodybuilder, Actor, Entrepreneur|
|Alias||Reg the Leg|
|Era||1940, 1950, 1960, 1970|
- 1949 Mr Britain 1st
- 1950 NABBA Mr. Universe Amateur, 2nd
- 1950 NABBA Mr. Europe, 1st
- 1950 IFBB “America’s Best Developed Athlete”
- 1951 NABBA Mr Universe, Tall, 1st and Overall winner
- 1958 Mr Universe – Pro – NABBA, Tall, 1st and Overall
- 1965 Mr Universe – Pro – NABBA, Tall, 1st and Overall
- 1970 Mr Universe – Pro – NABBA, Tall, 2nd
- 1971 Mr Universe – Pro – NABBA, Tall, 3rd
- 1973 Mr Universe – Pro – NABBA, Tall, 2nd
Even as a child, Reg always had a passion for fitness. He was a keen soccer player, representing Leeds United in the reserve team during his teenage years.
However, at this point, Reg didn’t have any interest in becoming a bodybuilder.
In the early 1940’s, Reg suffered a career-ending knee injury which ruled him out of soccer. This was a devastating blow to the youngster.
However, while using weights during his rehabilitation, Reg encountered a bodybuilding magazine. He was in awe of the athletes’ physiques.
At this point, he set his sights on sculpting a body similar to his new heroes.
Reg posing on stage.
At 16, in 1944, Reg met David Cohen – a local bodybuilder in Leeds. He was fascinated by David’s huge physique and was invited to work out with him.
For the next three months, Reg was taught how to lift weights properly and how to sculpt his body. It wasn’t long until he’d began training with dumbbells, barbells and a pull-up bar.
The future icon had embarked on his journey to the top of the industry.
By 1949, he’d achieved an incredible physique and entered his first competition that year.
After 5 years of intense training and dieting, all of his hard work paid off.
He walked away with the trophy and the title of Mr. Britain, earning his first taste of success. But this was just the beginning.
Move to America
Not long after his victory, at the age of 21, Reg made the big decision to move to America. He spent six months working hard to improve his body, and was eventually noticed by Joe Weider.
Joe was impressed with Reg’s physique, and he was featured in numerous magazines – this publicity was key in Reg making an impact in the U.S.
Reg after winning the 1951 NABBA Mr. Universe.
In 1950, at the age of 22, Reg stepped on the stage of the NABBA Mr. Universe Amateur competition. He didn’t add to his victory, but he came second only to the great Steve Reeves.
Although he won the Mr. Europe contest that was held in conjuction to the Mr. Universe, Reg knew he had to step his game up – he began training for 3 hours a day, determined to take home the trophy.
A year later, at 23-years-old, Reg came back strong to win the 1951 NABBA Mr. Universe show. By winning this competition, Reg had broken the history of Americans winning the show.
Reg was putting England on the map for bodybuilding.
Break from competing and Magazine
After his win at the 1951 NABBA Mr. Universe, Reg decided to take 7 years away from the limelight. During this period, he started numerous bodybuilding magazines, busy running his businesses.
He sold a variety of items through his magazine, such as barbells to supplements. However, Reg missed being on stage and began making plans for a comeback.
Reg (left) with his friend Arnold Schwarzenegger (right).
Return to the Stage
In 1958, at the age of 30, Reg made his return to competitive bodybuilding. He competed in the Mr. Universe that year, strengthing his legacy with a unanimous victory.
After gaining recognition from winning the Mr. Universe shows, Reg set his sights on becoming an actor. In 1961, he realized his ambition by featuring in “Hercules and the Captive Women”.
Reg appeared in a further 4 films, becoming one of the few bodybuilders making a name for themselves as a movie star at that time.
Securing his Legacy
Over the next 15 years, Reg appeared in a further 4 shows. He added to his list of wins in 1965 at the Mr. Universe, but was unable to take home any more trophies afterwards.
But by this point, Reg had become a legend of the sport. He began to give back to the industry by mentoring rising stars, most notably Arnold Schwarzenegger.
At his peak, Reg trained for 6 days per week, but often changed his routine to experiment what worked best for his body.
He worked each muscle group for around 1 hour and practised costal breathing in between sets.
Reg’s favorite workout routine looked like this:
Deltoids and Upper Back
– Press Behind Neck 4-10 Sets, 5 Reps.
– Heavy Bent arm Lateral Raises 5-10 Sets, 10 Reps
– Bench Press 5-10 Sets, 2 Reps (That’s Right 2 Reps!)
– Squat 5 Sets, 5 Reps (of all exercises, this one was my favorite.)
– Hack Lift 5 Sets, 5 Reps
– Barbell Curl 5 Sets, 5-8 Reps
– Incline Dumbbell Curls 5 Sets, 5-8 Reps
– French Press – I did these standing and lying on the bench.
– Calf Machine 25 Reps, Many Sets.
– Donkey Calf Raises 25 Reps, Many Sets
– High Pullups 5-8 Sets, 3 Reps.
– Power Clean 5-8 Sets, 3 Reps.
– Chins Behind Neck 5-8 Sets, 5-8 Reps (weights tied to waist.)
Waist and Trunk Area
– Leg Raises and Side Bends 100 or more Reps.
Reg was known to eat copious amounts of food to fuel his body. His favorite meal was steak, which he often consumed twice a day – he also ate a dozen eggs and drank 8 pints of milk daily.
His favorite meal was steak, which he often consumed twice a day – he also ate a dozen eggs and drank 8 pints of milk daily.
Reg’s diet would have looked something like this:
Meal 1 – Eggs with 2 pint of Milk
Meal 2 – Steak with vegetable soup, baked potatoes, and salad 1 pint of Milk
Meal 3 – Chicken with baked potatoes and salad, 1 pint of Milk
Meal 4 – Steak with vegetable soup, baked potatoes, and salad, 1 pint of Milk
Meal 5 – Chicken with baked potatoes and salad, 1 pint of Milk
Meal 6 – Vegetable soup and salad and 2 pint of Milk
Idols and Influences
Reg was initially inspired by a bodybuilder in his home city, Dave Cohen. However, he names John Grimek and Steeve Reeves as his idols during his career.
However, he names John Grimek and Steeve Reeves as his idols during his career.
What we can learn from Reg Park
Reg has taught us to always chase our dreams. He entered the world of bodybuilding after reading a magazine and finished his career as a legend of the sport.
He always aimed to better himself, even successfully acting in numerous films. Reg is remembered as one of the greatest bodybuilders in the history of the sport.