John Carroll Grimek (June 17, 1910[2] – November 20, 1998) was an American bodybuilder and weightlifter active in the 1930s and 1940s. Grimek was Mr. America in 1940 and 1941, and Mr. Universe in 1948.[3][4] In 1949, he won his last contest, the AAU Mr. USA,[4] against a field that included Steve Reeves, Clarence Ross, George Eiferman, and Armand Tanny. Grimek retired from bodybuilding undefeated.[5] Throughout his career he carried the nicknames "the Monarch of Muscledom" and "the Glow."[6][7]

John Grimek
Bodybuilder
John Grimek featured on the cover of Strength and Health magazine, 1945
Personal info
Nickname"The Monarch of Muscledom"
"The Glow"
Born(1910-06-17)June 17, 1910
Perth Amboy, New Jersey
DiedNovember 20, 1998(1998-11-20) (aged 88)[1]
York, Pennsylvania
Height5 ft 8.5 in (1.74 m)
Weight195 lb (88 kg)
Professional career
Pro-debut
SuccessorSteve Reeves

Life

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Grimek was born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey,[3] the son of Slovak immigrants George and Maria Grimek, peasants from the village Ústie nad Oravou in northern Slovakia.[8]

Grimek moved to York, Pennsylvania in 1935 to join Bob Hoffman, the founder of York Barbell.[3][4] Besides his bodybuilding exploits, Grimek also represented the United States in weightlifting at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, where he took 9th place in the men's heavyweight category.[9]

Grimek was Mr. America in 1940 and 1941, and Mr. Universe in 1948.[3][4] In 1949, he won his last contest, the AAU Mr. USA,[4] against a field that included Steve Reeves, Clarence Ross, George Eiferman, and Armand Tanny. Grimek retired from bodybuilding undefeated.[10]

Grimek featured in many bodybuilding articles and magazines. He was also the editor of Muscular Development.[3] Despite his retirement, he continued serious training for many years, and was still able to perform squats with over 400 pounds for repetitions in his late 60s.[11] Grimek died on November 20, 1998, in York, Pennsylvania, at the age of 88.[3][4]

Training method

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In the 1950s and 1960s, full body workouts, as opposed to split workouts, were the normal way to train, and bodybuilders such as Grimek and Steve Reeves (Mr. America of 1947, Mr. World of 1948, and Mr. Universe of 1950), normally trained the whole body during their workouts.[12]

Grimek trained three days a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday). His routine made use of the common 3×10 training protocol, of which Grimek was one of the first ever proponents. Grimek advised that lifters take between 45 seconds and 1 minute rest between sets and between 2 to 3 minutes rest between exercises. For good form, all reps were to be slow and controlled.[13]

Posthumous tributes

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Grimek was inducted into the IFBB Hall of Fame in 1999.[14]

He is depicted as part of a mural located at 37 West Philadelphia Street in York, Pennsylvania, which was finished in 2000.[15]

References

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  1. ^ Weider, Joe (December 1998). "John Grimek: 1910–1998" (PDF). Iron Game History. 5 (3). Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  2. ^ According to the Social Security Death Index, he was born on June 18, 1911.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "John C. Grimek. Bodybuilder who was Mr. America twice". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. November 29, 1998. p. E5. Retrieved July 2, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "John C. Grimek". Tampa Bay Times. November 29, 1998. p. 11. Retrieved July 2, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  5. ^ "John Grimek". Legendary Fitness. Retrieved June 5, 2015.
  6. ^ Whelan, Bob. "John Grimek Was The Man". Natural Strength. Archived from the original on August 8, 2007. Retrieved June 8, 2015.
  7. ^ Rosa, Ken (April 1999). "My Thoughts and Reflections on John C. Grimek". Iron Game History. 5 (4): 33. Retrieved December 30, 2023.
  8. ^ Karabinoš, Július (August 2004). "Prečo John Grimek nenavštívil Slovensko" [Why John Grimek did not visit Slovakia]. Muscle & Fitness (in Slovak). Archived from the original on June 8, 2012 – via karabinos.sk. 'Môj otec a matka prišli do Ameriky z malého mesta neďaleko Prahy' ... môže byť aj Ústie nad Oravou ... a my sme vypátrali, že jeho predkovia skutočne pochádzajú z tejto obce ['My father and mother came to America from a small town near Prague'... can also be Ústie nad Oravou... and we found out that his ancestors really came from this village]
  9. ^ "Berlin 1936 Weightlifting 82.5kg Heavyweight Men Results". Olympics.com. International Olympic Committee. Retrieved May 29, 2022.
  10. ^ "John Grimek". Legendary Fitness. Retrieved June 5, 2015.
  11. ^ "John Grimek: The Monarch Of Muscledom". Gym Talk. Retrieved June 5, 2015.
  12. ^ "Full Body Workouts". Old School Labs. Retrieved June 15, 2024.
  13. ^ "The John Grimek Full Body Workout". Protein Works. September 8, 2017. Retrieved June 15, 2024.
  14. ^ "IFBB Hall of Fame Inductees for 1999". IFBB. Interactive Federation of Bodybuilding & Fitness. Archived from the original on February 4, 2012. Retrieved June 8, 2015.
  15. ^ McClure, James, ed. (2002). "Murals of York". York Daily Record. York, Pennsylvania.
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