Steve Reeves is considered by many people to have the most perfect physique of any man to ever walk planet earth. Take one look at a picture of Reeves in his prime and it’s easy to see how so many could make a claim as bold as this one.

Reeves’s best numbers as far as the tape measure was concerned make him impressive in any era. For example, at the peak of his career, he had a 52 inch chest with a 29 inch waist. There needs to be at least a 15 inch difference between one’s chest/back circumference and his waist measurement for a v taper to really show up.  Well, Steve Reeves literally demolished that mark with a 23 inch difference!

Okay, let’s get down to the good stuff.  Let’s take a look at a workout that Reeves did when he was 16 years old.  Over the course of  four months, a young Reeves put on over 30 pounds of lean muscular body weight.

NOTE: This excerpt was taken from the book titled: BUILDING THE CLASSIC PHYSIQUE: The Natural Way by Steve Reeves, John Little, and Bob Wolff Ph.D. 


exercises sets reps
Dumbbell Swings 3 15-20
Upright Rowing 3 8-12
Bench Press 3 8-12
One Arm Dumbbell Rows 3 8-12
Dumbbell Laterals 3 8-12
Incline Presses 3 8-12
Triceps Pushdown 3 8-12
Barbell Curls 3 8-12
Seated Dumbbell Curls 3 8-12
Full Squats 3 8-12
Supersetted with Pullovers 3 8-12
Breathing Squats 1 20
Supersetted with Breathing Pullovers 1 20
Deadlifts 2 8-12
Good Mornings 2 8-12


Now, keep in mind that Steve Reeves had an ecto-meso somatotype.  This means that he was given the gift of heavy musculature on top of a medium bone structure.  Reeves had narrow hips and broad shoulders which significantly enhanced his v shape.

Quite frankly, he could have lifted a 12 inch sub sandwich three times a week and would have some kind of muscle growth.

But he chose the program above.  He felt working the entire body each workout was the best way to stimulate growth naturally.  And with a physique like that who could discount it?

Steve Reeves book is an excellent read.  It gives great insight into the personal life of this legendary physique champion and movie star.  I found his take on bodybuilding, nutrition, and cardiovascular training to be logical and have employed many of the strategies since reading the book.

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